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Wed 27 Feb 2019 02:03 PM

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New UAE law set to save lives, says legal boss

Rescuer Protection Law will encourage bystanders to rush to the aid of medical emergency victims by removing the threat of prosecution

New UAE law set to save lives, says legal boss
Sunil Thacker said the new law is another sign of the UAE building a legal system for the 21st century.

The UAE’s new "Good Samaritan" law, which is expected to be approved by the Cabinet soon, can help save lives and turn members of the public into heroes, according to legal experts.

Law firm STA said the Rescuer Protection Law will actively encourage bystanders to rush to the aid of accident or medical emergency victims by removing the threat of prosecution when things go wrong.

“The fact that it is currently an offence to intervene without being trained in first aid has made the public generally reluctant to act for fear of legal ramifications,” said Sunil Thacker, senior partner at STA.

“The new law will change all that, encouraging people to provide assistance in life-threatening situations, and hopefully reduce the number of deaths.

“The likelihood is that we will see more citizens taking heroic action, rather than hold back for fear of prosecution should they unwittingly end up causing damage to someone in need of assistance.”

Recently approved by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, he said the Rescuer Protection Law is expected to be rubber stamped by the Cabinet soon, although it may be subject to changes when it comes into force later this year.

“One possibility is that the law may include exemptions to the protection given under specific situations where true negligence or completely inappropriate actions are performed,” said Thacker.

“But there is no question of the law making it anyone’s responsibility to act if they do not wish to. Acting as a Good Samaritan is a voluntary deed and the law will not change that.”

Thacker said the new law is another sign of the UAE building a legal system for the 21st century.

“While the UK, US, and other European countries actively advise people to provide assistance during emergencies, especially if they have some form of experience or qualification, the UAE has until now advised people to avoid doing so due to the lack of legal protection.

“Having a specific law in place which sets out and provides appropriate protection to Good Samaritans is necessary today. There’s a need for continuous growth and expansion of the legal system along with the society and economy."