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20 June 2012 — New enforcement guide reaffirms DIFC Courts’ position as global dispute resolution hub

20 June 2012 — New enforcement guide reaffirms DIFC Courts’ position as global dispute resolution hub

September 20, 2012


Document clarifies procedures for lawyers, businesses and individuals using the DIFC Courts

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 20 June 2012: The DIFC Courts, the English language common-law judicial system based in Dubai, have issued a guide to enforcement. The white paper provides details on enforcing DIFC Courts’ judgments outside the DIFC in Dubai, the UAE and across the world. The paper has been finalised after circulation for public consultation in March this year: it provides further evidence of Dubai’s growing role as an international business hub.

The new guide is essential reading for DIFC Courts’ registered lawyers, and all other interested parties, to know where they stand in relation to enforcement in the GCC, the Arab World and beyond, including key growth markets in Asia.

In addition to this, the document clarifies where and how DIFC Courts’ judgments are enforceable, and shows the results of extensive consultation with leading international and regional legal firms registered with the Courts.

HE Justice Omar Juma Al Muhairi, Judge at the DIFC Courts, said: “We are delighted that these guidelines have been approved by legal practitioners with experience of cross jurisdictional enforcement.”

Mark Beer, DIFC Courts Registrar, added: “We have had an effective and efficient system in place since inception, — this guide makes the procedure for enforcement even clearer for lawyers, individuals and businesses using our Courts. Enforcement is crucial for the security of businesses around the world and the DIFC Courts are fully equipped to deal with cross border disputes as and when they arise.”

Cynthia Trench of international law firm Trench & Associates commented: “This guide produced by the DIFC Courts has pulled together the expertise and insight of leading local and international lawyers based in the region. Such clarification is key for clients using any court: the transparency and clarity offered to international and regional businesses is extremely positive.”

DIFC Courts’ judgments, decisions or orders can be enforced through the Dubai Courts if three conditions are satisfied. They must be final, they must be legally translated into Arabic and they must be certified by the DIFC Courts for execution. Importantly, the execution judge may not re-open the merits of the case.

Adrian Chadwick, Partner at Hadef & Partners said: “This extremely significant development is a notable step for the UAE judicial system. Recognition of DIFC judgments outside the country brings a large level of certainty to the legal community. It enables us, as lawyers, to reassure our clients that the pursuit of justice need not end at the UAE’s borders.”

DIFC Courts’ judgments will be enforced in the Dubai Courts in the same way, and using the same procedures, as judgments delivered by the Dubai Courts themselves. There are a number of cases where DIFC Courts’ orders, decisions and judgments have been enforced by the Dubai Courts.

The recent Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between the DIFC Courts, the UAE Federal Ministry of Justice, as well as the Courts of the Ras Al Khaimah Emirate are expected to assist in the enforcement of DIFC judgments, decisions and orders within the UAE.

In recent years, the UAE has entered into a number of treaties with other countries which govern the reciprocal enforcement of court judgments, such as The GCC Convention (1996); the Riyadh Convention” 1983) in the region and internationally, the Paris Convention (1992) and agreements with India (2000) and the Republic of China (2004).



For more information please contact:

Stefan Kemball
DIFC Courts
Tel: +971 4 427 3302

Maram Alkadhi
Capital MSL
Tel: +971 4 367 6160

About the DIFC Courts

The UAE’s DIFC Courts administer a unique English-language common law system – offering swift, independent justice to settle local and international commercial or civil disputes. The Courts, based in Dubai, provide certainty through transparent, enforceable judgments from internationally-recognised judges, who adhere to the highest global legal standards. The DIFC Courts are independent from, but complementary to, the UAE’s Arabic-language civil law system — offering a choice that strengthens both processes while ensuring public access to world-class justice.

In October 2011, a decree of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, opened the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction to businesses from all across the GCC region and beyond to provide the international business community with access to one of the most advanced commercial courts in the world.

The DIFC Courts were established under laws enacted by the late HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in September 2004. The laws establishing the DIFC Courts are designed to ensure that the DIFC Courts provide the certainty, flexibility and efficiency expected by Court users. Nearly 500 cases have been resolved through the DIFC Courts since 2008, while over 90% of Small Claims Tribunal cases are concluded within three weeks. The Courts’ community-focused approach encourages early settlement, while their successful track record supports Dubai’s growing status as an international business hub.

In line with HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, the DIFC Courts serve to develop the UAE national workforce and enhance the competitiveness of Emirati advocates. The DIFC Courts are spearheading training programmes predominantly aimed at local Emirati lawyers, which offer knowledge of, and qualifications in, the English-language common law system.

About the DIFC

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is the financial and business hub connecting the region’s emerging markets with the developed markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Since its launch in 2004, DIFC, a purposely built financial free zone, has been committed to encouraging economic growth and development in the region through its strong financial and business infrastructure. Currently, DIFC’s client base comprises over 800 active registered firms, including 18 of the top 25 global banks, 8 of the largest global asset managers, 6 of the 10 largest insurers and 6 of the top 10 law firms in the world. More than 11 thousand employees operate in an open environment complemented by international legal and regulatory standards. DIFC offers its member companies benefits such as 100 per cent foreign ownership, zero per cent tax rate, with no restriction on capital convertibility or profit repatriation. DIFC has its own independent financial and ancillary services regulatory body, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). It also has the DIFC Courts, which is an independent common law judiciary based in DIFC with jurisdiction over civil and commercial disputes in the UAE and internationally.

DIFC is built upon a modern legal, regulatory and physical infrastructure which makes it the destination of choice for Financial Services firms establishing a presence in the region.


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