UAE and USA laws

A comparative analysis on UAE and USA laws

Introduction: Laws and its issue

The significance of laws in the modern society today is very paramount. Understanding the meaning of laws also becomes apparent. In general terms of the meaning, law can be understood as the system of rules that governs the society by certain degrees as a measure to regulate the behavioral aspect of individuals in the society.

Hence, it is important to understand the many fabrics of laws. And in this essay, USA and UAE laws are elaborated in degrees of their difference, and more precisely, the example of media laws in both countries, especially law of equality and all in between. However, before we go into the intricate details on the discussion, it is crucial to trace the sources of laws in USA and UAE for comparative analysis, which is as follows.
Sources of laws in USA

The United States of America and its laws composed one of the complex laws. What is specific to US laws is the facts in which “it exists in different forms at every level of the government. To start with laws in US exist not only in the statutory form, but also the common laws that are formed through the judiciary.” (Jennings, 2005, p. 20)

Hence what defines the sources of laws in USA in simple terms can be looked within the following.

1. Statues

2. Constitution

3. Executive action

4. Common laws

5. Administrative regulation

6. Law of equity

Thus, these six sources of US laws define the fabric of its governance in the society,

Constitution and statues: “A constitutional law in USA constitutes unique forms of various states. Constitution as it can be understood are the laws of the people, which is different from ‘statues', constitution cannot be changed or amended, however, changes to statues can be amended in accordance to change in the society. Moreover, statutory is held responsible by the US congress at the federal level,” (Jennings, 2005, p. 20) but when it comes to constitution, it's altogether different.

Administrative and Executive laws: Administrative' and ‘executive' laws in US are also of two different sources. “Administrative laws are referred to as Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) however; ‘executive orders' are laws of the executive branch of the federal US government.” (Jennings, 2005, p. 21)

Common Law and equity laws: Common law is looked upon as a great compromiser, and it comes as a means to reach on a compromise within the common platforms of views that should leave all parties satisfied when a dispute arises. Take for instance, businesses situation and its legalities, media norms, its regulation etc, and how the society should be run. Thus, when it matter to equity laws, it is one form of common laws where a legal term is attached as a means to facilitate common laws.” (Jennings, 2005, p. 7).

Sources of laws in UAE

The major parts of the constitution in general terms applicable to UAE laws and it sources can be derived from the following classification.

1. Shari'a laws

2. Constitutional laws

3. Statutory laws

4. Executive laws

5. Administrative laws

Scholars have held that “the UAE and its seven Emirati federations, which include, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ulmm Al Quwain, and Ras Al Khaimah, on 2nd, December, 1971 enacted the constitution which is the main source of laws.” (Price, 1996, p. 303)

Shari'a law: The Islamic Shari'a is declared as the principal source of laws in UAE when it matter to its judicial and legal system in the society” (Price, 1996, p. 303)Moreover, Islamic Shari'a also extends its arms to “family laws accorded as supreme embodiments above all other aspects,” (Price, 1996, p. 303), which is why is almost all forms of laws that are enacted in UAE, Shari'a trace its belonging.

Constitution, Administrative, statutory and executive laws: As we can comprehend the UAE constitution, it come to terms that “the Federal supreme council (FSC) is the highest constitutional authority in UAE, which means that most of the executive and legislative functioning are vested in FSC, wherein federal laws and decrees, general policy etc are administered by it.” (Linden, 2006, p. 78)

Add to it, “UAE legislative branch is unicameral, which means it is composed of one legislative body headed by the president through the Federal National Council (FNC) that constitutes the seven member states, which also proposes amendments to new laws. Moreover, administration in UAE is also separated among the seven emirates, each with its own local government, judicial and legal system.” (Linden, 2006, p. 78)
Comparative analysis of UAE and US laws in general

From comprehending on UAE and USA laws, we can comment that it is largely different from one another. Laws that are applicable in UAE may not be so in US we assume. Take for instance administrative laws in both nations. When it comes to USA, its administrative laws is referred to as code of federal regulation, however in UAE, civil code defines it separated forms within each states. Nonetheless, the Islamic Shari'a has it relevance when it matter to UAE administrative laws or what we can refer to here as the civil code. Thus, we see large difference in both nations and their administrative laws.

Secondly, the constitution and the statues in US is held responsible by the US congress at the federal level, and when it concern to UAE in that regard, the FSC is supreme. But what is more interesting can be laid emphasis to UAE and USA common laws, which are in parts and forms similar to one another. Take for instance legislation of UAE common law, where the influence of English common laws cannot just be brushed aside.” (Price, 1996, p. 303) Concerning USA common laws, the definition of liberty is also paramount. Thus in both cases and the laws when it matter to common laws are in parts and form similar to one another.

Hence, to have a close insight on any of the laws in both nations, laws governing media and women comes as the best example, which is elaborated below.

1. The difference and similarity between media law in USA and UAE

Relating to examples of common laws, equity laws etc, as detailed in the constitution applicable to UAE and USA media, we come to the conclusion that media laws in UAE is rather harsh, however that does not mean “it discourage the notion of free press in the society. Moreover, in recent times, the Emirate Media Incorporated (EMI) also have come up, which means that EMI and its objective defines the constitution related to UAE media laws, which is endorsed by the Federal Supreme Council in UAE.” (UAEGovernment) In comparison to USA media laws, the same norm also draws its similarity at the federal level, and “the Federal Communication Commission, an independent agency of US government enacted under the communication Acts of 1934 dispatch most of the administrative functioning related to media and its regulation.” (FCC)

Thus, it can be commented from the above that in USA freedom of expression is above all means and “US media is mostly at par with any other federal branches of the government that defines the law. That is to say, US media shares an equal stature in the society, created under the federal laws and principles of its constitution,” (Anomymous, 2009). However, when compared in that sense with UAE media laws, there are reports detailing “UAE media laws at the federal level undermines the notion of freedom of expression, limiting the role media plays in the society and its development.” (HumanRightWatch, 2009) But that does not means civil law in UAE is compromised upon the issue relating to media in specific, where the judiciary plays a significant part to provide a solution relating to disputes or any in a civil manner that trace its belonging to UAE common code of conduct. And most importantly, such civil laws also traces its relevance and similarity in USA, when it accounts to media laws, as one form of civil laws under the common head of ‘common' and ‘equity' laws in the society that is specific to media regulation.

2. Comparison on ‘common laws' applicable to Women in UAE and USA

Secondly, it is being observed that “women in UAE are held under many restrictions, and also enjoy only half of the rights in almost all aspects of life in comparison to their male counterpart. Again, racial discrimination is one major women issue in UAE and common laws in that front are very weak. In addition, civil laws in UAE also compromise on share of inheritance, which is half of what males are entitled.” (Monshipouri, 2009, p. 133) And both civil and common laws applicable to women can be looked within the principle of Shari'a, which is rather hard to comment upon. But when it comes to “common laws applicable to married women in US, there is some sense of relieve, given the exclusive rights enjoyed by women in USA when contrasted to UAE women. And one good example of its common laws related to gender is that USA women can retain or change the domicile of her choice even after marriage.” (Weisberg, 2008, p. 68)However the case in that specific domain is different to UAE common laws applicable to women. But surprisingly, there have been some development in that front at the federal level in UAE, which have brought about new norm on women laws, in order to give women in UAE a higher hand in the society, be it when it matter to deciding on careers or any other aspects.


As we can understand and conclude upon, USA is most liberal nation, and most of its laws also define the same fabric. In the societal sphere and cultural domain between USA and UAE there is large disparity and most of the laws applicable in USA may not be applicable in UAE. But one fact is clear that in UAE, Islamic Shari'a and its influence is paramount in all aspect of common laws. However when it matter to USA common laws, it is universal in character, but that don't underpins UAE laws in general, which we feel when it matter to women laws, media laws or all in between defines its substance of the societal cultural and traditional fabric.


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2. FCC. (n.d.). About the FCC. Retrieved March 16, 2010, from

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