Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 19 May 2009: The DIFC Courts, the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) independent, common law judicial system, is today publishing for consultation a Code of Conduct for its professional users. This is one of the first codes of its kind in the region, which stipulates a standard of conduct with which all legal practitioners must comply. All lawyers registered with the English-language, DIFC Courts will be required to act with the upmost integrity and independence, in support of the Court and the communities it serves, or be sanctioned, per the guidelines.
The Code is another step towards ensuring the highest standards of integrity, efficiency and justice and to ensure all parties to a dispute have access to lawyers committed to professional standards of advocacy. Compliance with the code will ensure that cases heard in the Courts are conducted in a timely and proficient manor and that all parties can be sure of receiving fair and consistent representation. The rules focus on six areas: the Courts’ Governing Principles, duties owed to the Courts, duties owed to clients, duties owed to other Practitioners, general duties and sanctions for breach of the Code.
Sir Anthony Evans, Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts said: “As part of the DIFC Courts’ ongoing commitment to providing swift and transparent justice for the DIFC community, the implementation of the code of conduct will ensure that all cases heard at the DIFC Courts are done so to the highest international standards of professionalism, fairness and integrity.”
“The introduction of this Code is yet another example of the development of justice systems in the region and reaffirms the DIFC Courts’ dedication to international best practice.”
Mark Beer, Registrar said: “Lawyers with varying qualifications and professional backgrounds, from a mix of up to 94 different nationalities are representing clients in UAE courts. The DIFC Courts’ Code for Professional Conduct will guarantee that all practitioners dealing with the DIFC Courts operate to the highest standards to ensure transparent, swift and accessible justice.”
Philip Punwar, a lawyer with at Al Tamimi & Company, who spearheaded the sub-committee of the DIFC Courts Users Committee that helped draft the code, said: “The Code was drafted to reflect professional conduct rules that are recognised across the Civil and Common Law world. They particularly emphasise the duties advocates and attorneys owe to the Court and to the administration of justice generally. The Code also sets out a range of duties that are owed to clients and to other DIFC Courts Practitioners, as well as a range of sanctions for their breach. Although the drafters had access to a range of previously published Codes of Legal Conduct, the present draft is wholly original and specific to practice before the DIFC Courts”
The Code has been posted on the DIFC Courts website, www.difccourts.ae, for a consultation period, running until June 30 2009. The public are invited to comment on the additions to the Rules during this period and all comments can be sent to email@example.com.
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