– Chief Justice Hwang finalises order to increase Small Claims Tribunal’s jurisdiction
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2 August 2010: Chief Justice Michael Hwang, the newly appointed Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts, the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) independent and common law judicial system, today signed his first order formally increasing the limit on cases heard by the Small Claims Tribunal from AED 100,000. The order comes into effect following an extensive consultation period which began in April 2010.
The Small Claims Tribunal is the only operating tribunal of its kind in the region, offering users increased speed of resolution without the need to appoint lawyers. It has proven particularly efficient in resolving employment and debt-related disputes, with over 90% of the approximately 150 cases heard so far having been resolved within three weeks.
The increase in jurisdiction allows the Tribunal to hear employment cases of any amount, provided all parties agree to use the facility, in line with the Court’s vision of ensuring access to efficient, transparent and fair judicial services. It can also hear non-employment-related disputes of up to AED 500,000, being increased from the AED 100,000 limit previously in place provided the parties agree to using the Tribunal. These changes benefit the DIFC business community by providing efficient access to justice, and allowing companies and employees to be assured that their lawful rights will be upheld.
Chief Justice Michael Hwang said “After a successful consultation period I am pleased that the expansion of the Small Claim Tribunal’s jurisdiction is my first order. The Small Claims Tribunal has proven to be highly successful in resolving disputes in a straightforward and cost efficient manner, and now more people will have access to swift justice. The Small Claims Tribunal was originally created to make the DIFC Courts more accessible through lower costs and the speedy, private nature of the legal proceedings. The new order increases the possibility of delivering such justice to court users.”
Amna Al Owais, Small Claims Tribunal Registrar and Deputy Registrar at the DIFC Courts, said: “I am pleased that Chief Justice Hwang has now issued the order following feedback from many Courts users based on a successful track record of dispute resolution. The Order reinforces that the DIFC Courts are dedicated to continuously adapting to the changing needs of the Courts users and DIFC community. The increased limits make the Small Claims Tribunal one of the most accessible in the world. This is something we are proud of and we will strive to maintain.”
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