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22 July 2009 — DIFC Courts to Launch Pro Bono Programme Enhancing Access to Justice at DIFC

22 July 2009 — DIFC Courts to Launch Pro Bono Programme Enhancing Access to Justice at DIFC

July 22, 2009

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DIFC Courts are first in region to initiate such a scheme

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 22nd July 2009: As part of its aim to make justice accessible to all, the DIFC Courts, the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) independent, common law judicial system, today posted for consultation a set of guidelines for a pro bono programme. The programme will allow individuals who cannot afford a lawyer the ability to seek free advice from lawyers registered with the DIFC Courts.

The DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono programme is the first of its kind in the region, and was created to address a need in the community for access to justice, even where an individual cannot afford a lawyer. All of the services offered as part of the Pro Bono programme, ranging from basic advice to full case management and representation in proceedings, will be delivered to eligible individuals approved by the DIFC Courts’ Registry office. Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, the individual will then be assigned a legal representative, selected from a register of volunteer lawyers, and offered legal assistance for the duration of their case, free of charge.

To ensure consistency of representation, information and procedures for pro bono legal representation, the DIFC Courts today posted the guidelines for a one month consultation period. The guidelines, produced to provide clarity for participants of the programme, can be found at www.difccourts.ae and individuals are invited to comment on the guidelines before the 21st of August.

Amna Al Owais, Deputy Registrar of the DIFC Courts said: “The DIFC Courts’ pro-bono program and the supporting guidelines published for consultation today are integral to our mission of providing timely, fair, clear and accessible justice. This new initiative will ensure that all parties are on equal footing in proceedings before the Court.”

Alec Emmerson, Consultant for Clyde & Co and member of the DIFC Courts’ Court Users Committee said: “The Pro Bono programme is an excellent development to ensure that individuals who cannot afford a lawyer will have access to advice and representation in the DIFC Courts. I am sure that the Courts’ practitioners will welcome and support the programme and freely give their time and expertise when needed.”

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