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August 09, 2023

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How Does Dubai's Online Fine Payment Service Impact Travel Ban Procedures?

The system allows defendants to pay court fines and is in line with efforts to streamline legal services for the public

A new online service launched by Dubai Public Prosecution will allow defendants to pay court fines and automatically lift travel bans.

The Smart Payment of Fines service falls under a policy adopted in the emirate to reduce visits to service centres, which promises to save more than 300,000 working hours annually in government departments.

Shamsa Al Marri, director of strategy and institutional excellence at Dubai Public Prosecution, said the new digital approach facilitates fine payments related to criminal judgments through online channels.

“It covers a broad spectrum, from judgments passed in person or in absentia across all stages of legal proceedings,” she said.

She said arrest warrants will be immediately revoked, because the service is connected to Dubai Police.

“This innovative move will enhance customer satisfaction, significantly reduce in-person visits to the prosecutors and streamline the overall payment protocol,” Ms Al Marri said.

How it works

When a verdict is issued by a Dubai court, offenders will receive an SMS from the prosecutors with details of the verdict, the fine issued and a payment link.

They click on the payment link which redirects them to a login page. After authenticating with a digital ID, they can complete the payment.

Alternatively, fines can be paid at one of the kiosks mentioned in the SMS or through the prosecutors's official website.

After payment, prosecutors will confirm the cancellation of any arrest warrants and lifting of the travel ban in a text message.

The text message will also include a link that directs users to a portal where they can download a copy of the cancellation notice.

What is a travel ban?

A travel ban under UAE law is an official order that either restricts an individual from entering or re-entering the country or bars them from departing until certain conditions are fulfilled.

The ban remains in place until the underlying reasons for its imposition are resolved.

“It's enforced by authorities across all points of entry and exit to ensure the individual in question cannot enter or leave the UAE,” legal consultant Dr. Hassan Elhais of Al Rowaad Advocates in Dubai said.

Travel bans can be imposed for a variety of reasons.

“While there is no specific law that comprehensively deals with all types of travel bans and the procedures for executing them, UAE courts enforce bans on several grounds,” said Dr Elhais.

“These grounds include violating immigration laws, debt or under personal status law matters. One of the most common reasons for a travel ban being issued is because of debts.”

He said before the new system, offenders had to first pay their fines and then use the payment receipts to request the removal of arrest and travel bans.

“This required the convicted person or their legal representative to liaise with both the prosecution and the police to cancel any travel bans, arrest orders or searches against them.

“Now with the smart fine payment service, paying fines electronically through the prosecution system will automatically revoke related arrest and travel bans,” Dr Elhais said.

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