THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS
In the name of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai
IN THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
JUDGMENT OF H.E. JUSTICE SHAMLAN AL SAWALEHI
1. The Claimant, Eoin filed a Small Claims Tribunal (“SCT”) Claim against the Defendant Efua on 13 January 2014.
2. The Claimant asserts that the Defendant overstayed his rental lease and requests the payment of rent for the unpaid period from 1 June 2013 until the present day and also requests that the Defendant vacate the rental unit.
3. On 29 January 2014, the Defendant contested the jurisdiction of the SCT and claimed the DIFC Courts were not competent to hear the dispute based on Article 9 of the Tenancy Contract.
4. The Jurisdiction hearing was held on 17 February 2014. The Defendant continued to contest jurisdiction and the Claimant asserted that the Defendant must vacate the premises and pay the rent due.
5. On 4 March 2014, Judge Omar Al Muhairi denied the Defendant’s application to contest jurisdiction and further ruled that the DIFC Court had jurisdiction to hear and determine the claim and that all parties were to pay their own costs.
6. On 10 March 2014, the Defendant filed an application for permission to appeal the SCT Judgment without a hearing on the grounds that both parties had mutually agreed on the jurisdiction of the Local Shariah Courts in accordance with Article 9 of the Tenancy Contract. No new evidence or facts were asserted by the Defendant.
7. The applicant made an application for permission to appeal the SCT Judgment to the Court of First Instance (“CFI”) which is the appeal Court for SCT Judgments, therefore I have reviewed this application as a Judge of the CFI appeal Court.
8. I strongly support the opinion of Judge Omar Al Muhairi and point out that the Defendant asserted no new facts or evidence to take into account when considering application for permission to appeal the judgment of Judge Omar Al Muhairi, and I am of the view that the appeal would not have a real prospect of success.
9. Additionally, it should be noted that in order to opt-out of the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts, an explicit clause must be present in the Tenancy Agreement clearly indicating that both parties agree not to utilise the DIFC Courts and to rather submit to the jurisdiction of another court. This was not present in this case and Article 9 of the Tenancy Contract certainly does not suffice as an opt-out clause.
10. In the light of the reasons and circumstances set out above, I am of the view that the application for permission to appeal the SCT judgment of Judge Omar Al Muhairi should be refused.
Maha Al Mehairi
Date: 18 March 2014
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