The Dubai International Financial Centre Judicial Authority
The DIFC Court
DIFC Court Practice Direction No. 1 of 2008
Citation and commencement
1. This Practice Direction will come into effect on the date of signature. It may be cited as Practice Direction 1 of 2008 — Introduction of the Rules of the DIFC Court and may be abbreviated to PD 1/2008.
2. This Practice Direction:
1. Notes the introduction of the Rules of the DIFC Court (“RDC”); and
2. Deals with the application of the RDC to proceedings issued before 8 February 2008 (‘existing proceedings’).
3. In this Practice Direction “the previous rules” means, as appropriate the English Admiralty and Commercial Courts Guide 2002 and the English Civil Procedure Rules as applied to DIFC Court proceedings before 8 February 2008 by the Rules of DIFC Court (Interim Arrangements) Order No. 1 of 2005.
The Rules of the DIFC Court
4. The Registrar of the DIFC Court has published the text of the RDC as enacted by the President of the Dubai International Financial Centre pursuant to the Rules of DIFC Court Order No. 1 of 2007. A copy of the RDC can be found at https://www.difccourts.ae/rules-2/.
5. From 8 February 2008:
1. Proceedings before the DIFC Courts which are issued on or after 8 February 2008 shall be conducted in accordance with the RDC;
2. The RDC shall apply to proceedings which were issued before 8 February 2008 in accordance with the scheme of transitional arrangements set out below.
General scheme of transitional arrangements
6. The general scheme is:
1. To apply the previous rules to undefended cases, allowing them to progress to their disposal, but
2. To apply the RDC to defended cases so far as is practicable.
7. Where a document is to be served by a party on or after 8 February 2008, service should be carried out in accordance with RDC Part 9
Where the previous rules will ordinarily apply
8. Where an initiating step has been taken in a case before 8 February 2008, in particular one that uses forms or other documentation required by the previous rules, then, subject to paragraph 7 above (service), the case will proceed in the first instance under the previous rules. Subject to paragraph 7 above (service), any step which a party must take in response to something done by another party in accordance with the previous rules must also be in accordance with those rules.
Responding to old process
9. Subject to paragraph 7 above (service), a party who is served with existing proceedings after 8 February 2008 is required to respond in accordance with the previous rules and the instructions on any forms received with the originating process when served.
Preparation of and time for filing and service of statements of case where existing proceedings served
10. In respect of existing proceedings (whether served before or after 8 February 2008), the preparation of and time for filing and service of statements of case will continue according to the previous rules.
11. If a party wishes default judgment to be entered in existing proceedings, he must do so in accordance with the previous rules.
12. If, in relation to existing proceedings, pursuant to the previous rules, a party needs to apply for permission to enter default judgment, he must make that application under RDC Part 23
(general rules about applications for court orders) and the substance of the application will be decided in accordance with the previous rules.
13. Where default judgment has been entered and there are outstanding issues to be resolved (e.g. damages to be assessed), the court officer may refer the proceedings to the Judge, so that case management decisions about the proceedings and the conduct of the hearing can be made in accordance with the practice set out in paragraph 27 below.
14. An application to set aside judgment entered in default must be made under RDC Part 23
(general rules about applications for court orders) and RDC Part 14
(setting aside or varying default judgment) will apply to the proceedings as it would apply to default judgment entered under the CPR.
15. RDC Rule 16.25
(claim stayed if it is not defended or admitted) applies to these proceedings.
Order inconsistent with RDC
16. Where a court order has been made before 8 February 2008, that order must still be complied with on or after 8 February 2008.
Steps taken before 8 February 2008
17. Where a party has taken any step in the proceedings in accordance with the previous rules that step will remain valid on or after 8 February 2008.
18. A party will not normally be required to take any action that would amount to taking that step again under the RDC.
Where the RDC will normally apply
19. Where a new step is to be taken in any existing proceedings on or after 8 February 2008, it is to be taken under the RDC.
Part 1 (overriding objective) to apply
20. Part 1
(overriding objective) will apply to all existing proceedings from 8 February 2008 onwards.
21. Only claim forms under the RDC will be issued by the Court on or after 8 February 2008.
22. If a request to issue an old type of originating process is received at the Court on or after 8 February 2008 it will be returned unissued.
23. An application made on or after 8 February 2008 to extend the validity of originating process issued before 8 February 2008 must be made in accordance with RDC Part 23
(general rules about applications for court orders), and the Court will decide whether to allow the application in accordance with the RDC.
Application to the Court
24. Any application to the Court made on or after 8 February 2008 must be made in accordance with RDC Part 23
(general rules about applications for court orders).
25. Any other relevant RDC will apply to the substance of the application, unless this Practice Direction provides otherwise. (See paragraphs 11 and 12 above (default judgment)).
26. Any other RDC will apply as necessary. For example, RDC Part 5
will apply as to forms and RDC Part 9
will apply to service of documents.
First time before a Judge on or after 8 February 2008
27. When existing proceedings come before a Judge (whether at a hearing or on paper) for the first time on or after 8 February 2008, he may direct how the RDC are to apply to the proceedings and may disapply certain provisions of the RDC. He may also give case management directions.
28. The general presumption will be that the RDC will apply to the proceedings from then on unless the Judge directs or this Practice Direction provides otherwise. (See paragraphs 11 and 12 above (default judgment)).
29. If an application has been issued before 8 February 2008 and the hearing of the application has been set for a date on or after 8 February 2008, the general presumption is that the application will be decided having regard to the RDC.
30. When the first occasion on which existing proceedings are before a Judge on or after 8 February 2008 is a trial or hearing of a substantive issue, the general presumption is that the trial or hearing will be conducted having regard to the RDC.
Case management in existing proceedings after 8 February 2008
31. RDC Part 26
(case management) shall apply generally to existing proceedings after 8 February 2008.
Agreement to apply the RDC
32. The parties may agree in writing that the RDC will apply in their entirety to any proceedings from the date of the agreement. When they do so:
1. All those who are parties at that time must agree,
2. The RDC must apply in their entirety,
3. The agreement is irrevocable,
4. The claimant must file a copy of the agreement at Court.
33. Any assessment of costs that takes place on or after 8 February 2008 will be in accordance with RDC Parts 38 to 40.
Existing proceedings after one year
34. If any existing proceedings have not come before a Judge, at a hearing or on paper, between 8 February 2008 and 7 February 2009, those proceedings shall be stayed.
35. Any party to those proceedings may apply for the stay to be lifted.
36. Proceedings of the following types will not be stayed as a result of paragraph 34 above:
1. Where the case has been given a fixed trial date which is after 7 February 2009,
2. Where the Court is dealing with the continuing administration of an estate or a trust or a receivership,
3. Applications relating to funds in Court.
37. For the purposes of paragraph 34 above, proceedings will not be ‘existing proceedings’ once final judgment has been given.
Chief Justice of the DIFC Court
Dated: 8th of February 2008