IN THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY OF THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL
DIFC COURTS PRACTICE DIRECTION NO 3 OF 2009
DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme
This Practice Direction brings into immediate effect the DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme, which shall operate pursuant to the attached Guidelines. The administration of the Programme shall be the responsibility of the Pro Bono Programme Leader, who shall be appointed by the Chief Justice from time to time. My first appointment is Amna Sultan Al Owais, the Deputy Registrar to the DIFC Courts and Registrar to the Small Claims Tribunal
This Practice Direction may be cited as Practice Direction 3 of 2009 — DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme and may be abbreviated to PD 3/2009.
Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts
DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme
The adoption of the DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme (the “Programme”) derived from a need in the community for pro bono legal representation. The DIFC Courts’ aim is to facilitate representation of individuals that are in need of legal representation and assistance, but who cannot afford to retain lawyers. The DIFC Courts have a mission to provide accessibility to justice and to ensure that both parties are on equal footing in proceedings before the Courts. The services offered in the Programme will be delivered to eligible individuals that approach the DIFC Courts’ Registry requesting assistance. To ensure consistency of representation, information and procedures for pro bono legal representation, the DIFC Courts provide the following guidelines in relation to the Programme.
[Note: This is a sample form only. Use of this letter will help to establish clear expectations and avoid misunderstandings between you and the pro bono litigant.]
DIFC COURTS’ PRO BONO PROGRAMME
[SAMPLE] LETTER OF ENGAGEMENT
[Pro Bono Litigant Name & Address]
Re: Scope of representation
Dear [Pro Bono Litigant]:
This letter will confirm the terms of our representation. Our work will begin upon receipt of a signed copy of this letter.
[Name of volunteer practitioner] will provide legal services to [Pro bono litigant name], and the scope of services we will render and other aspects of the proposed representation are mutually agreed to be as follows:
Services to be Provided:
The volunteer practitioner has been engaged to provide the following services: [list services to be provided].
The volunteer practitioner has not been engaged to provide the following services: [list services that are outside the scope of the representation].
We may incur various expenses in providing services. We will inform you before incurring expenses for your approval. You agree to pay all such expenses and to reimburse us for all out-of-pocket expenses that we pay on your behalf provided you had prior notification and gave your approval to the disbursement. Whenever possible, we will forward bills for any expenses incurred on your behalf directly to you and you agree to make prompt payment directly to the originator of these bills. Expenses that may be incurred include, but are not limited to, photocopying, faxing, courier fees, court fees, expert’s fees and mailing disbursements.
Our expectations of you are [list any expectations concerning maintaining accurate address and contact information, responses to requests for information, communication, etc.].
The DIFC Courts will keep copies of all of your case related documents and correspondence once a claim is filed with the Court. We will keep copies of this information as well. If you wish to have your own copies of these documents you may request copies from the DIFC Courts’ Registry and pay the appropriate copying charges. Once we have completed the legal work necessary to conclude this matter, we will close our file and return any original documents to you.
Your Right to Terminate Representation
You may terminate this representation at any time with or without cause by notifying us and the DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme Leader in writing of your desire to do so. Upon receipt of the notice to terminate representation, we will stop all legal work on your behalf immediately. You will be responsible for paying all expenses incurred on your behalf in this matter before the date of written notice of termination was received.
Our Right to Terminate Representation
We may terminate our representation (to the extent permitted by the DIFC Courts’ Code of Conduct and the Rules of the DIFC Courts) at any time if you breach any material term of this agreement or fail to cooperate or follow our advice on a material matter, if a conflict of interest develops or is discovered, or if there exists at any time any fact or circumstance that would, in our opinion, render our continuing representation unlawful, unethical, or otherwise inappropriate. If we elect to terminate our representation, you will take all steps reasonably necessary and will cooperate as reasonably required to free us of any further obligation to perform legal services, including the execution of any documents necessary to complete our withdrawal from representation. In such case, you agree to pay for all expenses incurred before the termination of our representation in accordance with the provision of this agreement.
In order to be eligible for the DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme and to continue to retain our legal services, you have certified to the DIFC Courts that you cannot afford a lawyer, along with providing relevant evidence. You must notify us and the Pro Bono Programme Leader if at any time during this representation your financial position changes such that you would be able to retain a lawyer to represent you.
If any of the terms stated in this letter are not consistent with your understanding of our agreement, please contact us before signing the agreement. Otherwise, please sign the agreement in the space provided below and return it to [email address and/or postal address information]. Also, please provide a signed copy to the DIFC Courts’ Pro Bono Programme Leader.
If you have questions, please feel free to call me at [telephone number].
I have read and consent to the terms contained in this letter.