The Constitution explains the main rules of the political and constitutional organisation of the country. It demonstrates the main purpose of the establishment of the federation and its objectives at the local and regional levels. It also elaborates on the major social and economic pillars of the federation and stresses the public rights, responsibilities and freedoms.
It explains federal authorities and federal legislation as well as details about other areas such as financial affairs of the federation, provisions for armed and security forces, and legislative, executive and international jurisdictions of the federation and member emirates.
On this page, read about:
- Adoption of the Constitution
- Some provisions of the Constitution regarding
- the federation
- the fundamental social and economic basis of the federation
- public freedom, rights and duties
- the federal authorities
- the emirates
- the allocation of legislative, executive and international jurisdiction between the federation and the emirates
- Amendments to the Constitution.
Adoption of the Constitution
Since its establishment on the 2nd of December 1971, the UAE had set a temporary constitution. In 1996, the Federal Supreme Council made the provisional Constitution permanent.
Provisions of the Constitution
The Constitution has 152 articles establishing the basis of the UAE and the rights of citizens in ten areas that are:
- The federation, its constituencies and principal aims
- The fundamental social and economic basis of the federation
- Public freedom, rights and duties
- The federal authorities
- Federal legislations, decrees and authorities in charge
- The emirates
- Allocation of legislative, executive and international jurisdiction between the federation and the emirates
- Financial affairs of the federation
- Armed forces and security forces
- Final and transitional provisions.
Some provisions regarding the federation
Article 1 of the Constitution provides that the United Arab Emirates is a federal, independent and sovereign state consisting of the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.
Some provisions regarding the fundamental social and economic basis of the federation
Article 14 provides that equality, social justice, safety, security and equal opportunities for all citizens shall be the pillars of the society.
Article 21 states that private property shall be protected.
Article 24 provides that the basis of the national economy is social justice.
Some provisions regarding public freedom, rights and duties
Article 25 provides that all persons are equal before the law without discrimination between the citizens in regard to race, nationality, religious belief or social status.
Article 26 provides that personal liberty is guaranteed to all citizens.
Article 28 provides that an accused shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a legal and fair trial.
Some provisions regarding the federal authorities
Article 45 of the Constitution provides for:
The federal authority consists of the following:
- The Federal Supreme Council
- The President and the Vice President of the UAE
- The Cabinet or the Council of Ministers
- The Federal National Council
- The Federal Judiciary.
Articles 46 to 109 of the Constitution state further provisions relating to the roles, responsibilities and powers of the federal authorities.
Some provisions regarding the emirates
The Constitution is flexible and allows the emirates to exercise authority in certain matters. Article 116 provides that the emirates shall exercise all powers not assigned to the federation by this Constitution. They shall all participate in the establishment of the federation and shall benefit from its existence, services and protection.
Article 117 provides that the governance in each emirate shall aim in particular at the maintenance of security and order within its territories, the provision of public utilities for its inhabitants and the raising of social and economic standards.
Some provisions regarding the allocation of legislative, executive and international jurisdiction between the federation and the emirates
The Constitution has laid down the relationship between the federal and local governments. Article 122 provides that the emirates shall have jurisdiction in all matters not assigned to the exclusive jurisdiction of the federation.
Article 123 provides that the member emirates of the federation may conclude limited agreements of a local and administrative nature with the neighbouring states or regions, provided that such agreements are not inconsistent with the interests of the federation or with federal laws.
Article 124 provides that the federal authorities, before concluding any international treaty or agreement that may affect the position of any emirate, shall seek the opinion of the said emirate in advance and in case of difference of opinion, the matter shall be referred for decision to the Federal Supreme Court.
Amendments to the Constitution
The Constitution provides for amendments in its tenth part - final and transitional provisions. Article 144 provides that if the Supreme Council considers that the topmost interests of the federation require the amendment of this Constitution, it shall submit a draft constitutional amendment to the Federal National Council.
The procedure for approving the constitutional amendment shall be the same as the procedure for approving laws.
The approval of the Federal National Council, for a draft constitutional amendment, shall require the agreement of two-thirds of the votes of attending members.
The President of the Union shall sign the constitutional amendment in the name of the Supreme Council and in his stead and shall promulgate the amendment.