17 April 2007
Your Highness, the Honourable Doctor Oman Bin Sulaiman, Chief Justice, Sir Anthony Evans and the other judges of the Courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts; ladies and gentlemen:
I am extremely sorry that it is not possible for me to be present at this great occasion. I had hoped to attend the opening of these courts but events which were unavoidable meant the date of the opening had to be changed and as a result I could not attend.
However, I very much hope that these few modest words will be sufficient to convey the warmth of the greetings which I extend as President and on behalf the other judges of your sister Civil and Commercial Court of the Qatar Financial Centre.
Earlier this year I had the privilege of being able to visit these courts and I was immensely impressed by everything I saw. The courts are admirably designed and equipped to meet the standards to which today all commercial and civil courts should aspire.
However, courts are not to be judged only on the quality of their buildings. Even more important is the quality of the judiciary who preside in the courts. From my knowledge of the judiciary which will sit in these courts, I am confident that they will ensure these courts will have a reputation for independence, integrity and judgment which is impeccable.
During my visit to the courts, I had the opportunity of discussing the importance of courts to the reputation of a financial centre with Doctor Oman and the Chief Justice. We were in complete agreement that a financial centre can only be successful if it has the necessary legal infrastructure to ensure the confidence of investors. What has been established in Dubai will certainly ensure that this requirement is fulfilled. We were also agreed that it was highly desirable that these courts and their sister court in Qatar should have the closest relations and that the judges of both courts should co-operate together to enhance justice in the region. Both courts are international courts designed to meet the needs of the international community. That community demands high standards and I believe that this co-operation will help in achieving them. They will also give an important message to the public at large as to the significance of the rule of law. This will contribute to the wellbeing of all those who live in the region.
I am delighted that the Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples’ Republic of China is with you today. I am fortunate in being able to sit from time to time as a Member of Hong Kong’s Final Court of Appeal. The quality and independence of that court is universally recognised. It is my belief that the presence of international judges on that court contribute to its reputation for independence. I am sure the presence of international judges on your court will achieve the same result.
Everyone who has reason to use these courts should find within their walls justice.
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