Published: 2017-12-29 12:36
Last Updated: 2017-12-30 09:29
It has been a busy 2017 for Jordan’s legal system. Faced with various social, political, economic challenges, the kingdom’s lawmakers have been at work implementing and amending a series laws that will touch the lives of Jordanians in one way or another.
From the historical Article 308 amendment, to laws on smoking in public, we have compiled a list of the top legal and administrative changes in the Kingdom during 2017:
-- Scrapping of Article 308 --
One of the most historic and highly publicised legal reforms was the scrapping of Article 308 of the Penal Code, which allows a rapist to marry their victim to avoid punishment.
Human rights activists had been campaigning for years to remove Article 308 from the country's penal code, stressing the need for more protection for women in the country.
"This decision is one we have been fighting for and is a huge step towards a better future for women in Jordan," Asma Khader, a Jordanian lawyer and human rights activist and President of Sisterhood Is Global Institute in Jordan, told Roya at the time.
-- Amended law allows for underage marriage --
Another notable legal change was the newly amended law, to lower the legal age for early marriage to fifteen, has drawn criticism on social media and among civil society, with many describing it as a “step backwards”.
The amended law, published in July in the Official Gazette, allows the judge to grant permission for marriage between the ages of 15 and 18, if they are ‘in need of marriage’ in accordance with court instructions.
New traffic law clamps down on repeat driving offenders
In June, a new traffic points system was ratified by Legislation and Opinion Bureau to prevent repeat offenders from driving by taking away their driving licenses.
It will also see a limitation on financial and human resources that go into the rehabilitation of repeated driving offenders and the training courses they participate in.
New marking system for Tawjihi exams to begin next academic year
The Ministry of Education in July confirmed that the implementation of the new school marking system for Tawjihi (equivalent of A Levels or SAT), which will begin in the next academic year (2017/2018).
The previous system of taking the average mark of all subjects will be replaced with a system where student marks will be measured out of 1400. Unlike the previous marking system, students are not required to pass all subjects.
-- New penalty points system for Jordanian motorists --
While this law has yet to be implemented, Jordan is considering adopting a new points-based system to penalize drivers for motoring offences, with traffic police confiscating a driver’s licence if it accumulates a total of 16 penalty points.
A driver’s licence will be seized for 90 days if it has between 16 and 20 penalty points on it, and for 120 days if the number of points is between 20 and 24 points.
If the licence has between 24 and 28 points on it, it will be seized for 150 days, and if it has over 28 points, the licence will be cancelled and seized for 180 days.
Drivers with 16 points on their licence will be given the option to attend a rehabilitation course at the Jordan Traffic Institute, and six points will be taken off their licence once the course has been completed. All course costs must be covered by the driver.
-- Jordan simplifies entry visa procedures for Chinese and Indian nationals --
In an attempt to encourage financial investment in Jordan, the Cabinet decided to simplify the process of acquiring entry Visas to Jordan for Indian and Chinese nationals.
Meanwhile, the visa restrictions on Kenyans have been removed as an initiative towards opening Jordan to the African market.
-- Cafes and restaurants legally required to add a non-smoking section --
In the past, Jordan tried to impose a smoking ban in public areas, but it was rejected and ignored by smokers, and cafe and restaurant owners. In May of this year, the Public Health Law was amended to modify the definition of a “public area,” and to state that violators will be imprisoned for one to three months, or fined 1,000-3,000 JOD if they own the establishment, and 100-200 JOD if they were found smoking in it.