What is Blood Money in the UAE Traffic Rules?

Posted by Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants on January 31st, 2023

In common parlance, blood money is payment made by the perpetuator to the victim or his family for death, or damage to the victim. Blood money, also called as “diya” is in accordance with the Islamic Sharia principles. 

What does the UAE Penal Code Say? 

The Federal Decree Law No 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of Crimes and Penalties Law, commonly called the UAE Penal Code is the law which deals with blood money. The principle penalties under Article 67 of the UAE Penal Code include fine, temporary imprisonment life imprisonment, death sentence, retaliation “qisas” and blood money “diya”. A crime which may result in payment of bloody money diya (amongst others such as imprisonment or payment of fine exceeding AED 10,000) would be a misdemeanour. 

According to Article 30 of the UAE Penal Code, a person shall be liable to pay blood money “diya” of AED 200,000 for involuntary manslaughter of an individual. 

In accordance with Article 383, if an individual commits any crime against human life and society (such as deliberately killing a human being, inflicting bodily harm, causing permanent disability, etc.), then in addition to the payment of blood money “diya”, if applicable, such person will also be liable for the penalties as set out in the Penal Code. That means, a person could be imprisoned in accordance with the UAE Penal Code for committing a crime which results in such penalties and in addition could be liable to pay blood money diya as well. 

Blood Money and Traffic Accidents 

Blood money is commonly used in traffic accidents that result in death of an individual. If there are mitigating factors, such as victim crossing the road illegally or not stopping at the red light, the amount of blood diya payable by the accused could be reduced. 

In the case before the Federal Supreme Court, having Case No UAE 42/2014, an individual was imprisoned and charged with paying blood money due to the death of a child in a road accident. The defendant argued that there was contributory negligence of the child’s father who let them run next to the vehicles. 

However, the Federal Supreme Court in its decision dated 5 Jan 2015, rejected the appeal of the defendant and noted thblood moneyat the trial court had the power to asses the link between fault and damage and the extent of the contribution of the victim or others to cause the damage. The charges had been proved against the accused and were enough to convict and therefore, the argument related to the contributory negligence of the victim in the damage, being an objective argument, could not be submitted before the Federal Supreme Court. 

Can Damages be Paid in Addition to Blood Money? 

It depends on the discretion of the court but there have been cases where compensation for moral damages was paid in addition to blood money. 

In Case No 111/2020, the Dubai Court of Cassation passed a judgement on 2 July 2020. In this case, the question arose whether an insurance company had to pay the parents of a girl accidentally killed in a road traffic accident compensation for moral damages when blood money had already been paid. 

It was argued by the appellants that it is not permissible to combine moral damages with blood money in accordance with Article 299 of Federal Law No 15 of 1985 (UAE Civil Code) especially in the absence of any evidence proving moral and psychological harm to the respondents. The Cassation Court referred to Article 299 of the Civil Code which states as: 

“Damages are compulsory due for prejudice to the person. Unless otherwise agreed between the parties, either blood money or compensation for defect of sold value, in cases they are due, may not be added to damages.”

The Cassation Court observed that the compensation for physical, material and moral damages fell outside the scope of compensation prohibited when combined with blood money. The Court noted that the compensation was a remedy for the harm of the injured and not a profit for them from the tragedy. Since the parents suffered sadness and grief as a result of the death, they were entitled to compensation for the moral harm caused to them, irrespective of the blood money already awarded to them as this does not prevent them from claiming other damages suffered by them. Thus, the Cassation Court rejected the appeal and confirmed the contested judgement. 

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