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Legal awareness for expatriates   

Kuwait Times - 25 April, 2012
Author: Labeed Abdal

Petitioners who file court cases in Kuwait are surely looking for fair, accountable ways in which family, business conflicts and disputes are resolved.

In Kuwait, the basic system to deliver justice is present, and awareness levels should be upgraded by disseminating information to the public through the media.

All legal work is undertaken in Arabic, the official language in the country. In case of a labor dispute with employers, an employee can register a complaint with the labor office, which is part of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. In practice, terminated employees have difficulty understanding their rights because the laws are in Arabic. When a complaint is lodged and it is transferred to the labor court, one has to confront the language barrier again.

Similar incidents take place at the police station, where traffic accidents, injuries or even manslaughter will need to be charge-sheeted before investigations into the case commences. Sometimes employers provide interpreters to employees. Otherwise, in many cases, individuals have to battle it out alone, without any external help or support.

There is an urgent need for administrative orders from the Ministry of Justice to raise awareness on this aspect among expatriates through modern media like websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Most importantly, the new Parliament must pass new laws by making English a co-official language, establish special courts to resolve family and labor matters, where judges that can speak English are appointed. The Kuwaiti gazette must be made available to expats in Kuwait.

By Labeed Abdal
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