ANOTHER INNOVATIVE WORLD FIRST FOR DIFC COURTS
New innovation underlines Dubai’s position as a global centre of legal excellence
Dubai, United Arab Emirates;25 February 2015: The Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (DIFC Courts), Dubai’s established English-language, commercial common law judicial system, has introduced a new innovative Practice Direction (procedural guideline) that will facilitate greater international enforcement of judgments and increase the speed of settling commercial disputes. The Practice Direction is the first of its kind globally and will greatly enhance the attractiveness of the DIFC and Dubai as a trusted hub for global business.
Commenting on the new development, Tim Taylor QC said: “This is another example of how DIFC Courts are breaking new ground when it comes to legal innovation. Dubai is now recognised as a global centre of excellence for commercial dispute resolution and arbitration. These enhancements will further promote the region to international business and underline the message that the DIFC has one of the world’s leading commercial courts.”
The new Practice Direction will mean that in cases of commercial disputes, a DIFC Courts judgment could result in the judgment creditor obtaining an arbitral award which could be enforced in over 150 countries providing greater enforcement internationally. This innovation will give participants in international commerce the confidence that a transaction will be honoured and a dispute resolved. In addition, if parties know that a court order can be enforced almost anywhere in the world, they may be incentivised to reach a settlement earlier in the dispute resolution process. DIFC Courts’ robust legal infrastructure is one of the main attractions of DIFC to international business and finance.
The new Practice Direction is the latest in a line of ‘firsts’ for the DIFC Courts. The DIFC Courts were the first in the world accredited to The International Standards for Service Excellence; had the first woman appointed as judge in the UAE; was the first to establish a Small Claims Tribunal in the Middle East; the first to launch a Pro-Bono Programme in the Middle East and the first Dubai Government entity to receive the 5 star Award under the country’s new rating system for government services.
DIFC Courts Chief Justice Michael Hwang said: “This is the first time this kind of Practice Direction has been introduced anywhere in the world and is another example of the UAE taking a lead in the resolution of commercial disputes. It also represents a major step in the partnership between the DIFC Courts and the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre. If successful, in time this mechanism may serve as a model for other courts around the world to follow.”
The Practice Direction also comes as part of the next phase of collaboration between the DIFC and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), one of the longest-established international institutions for commercial dispute resolution.
Since their jurisdiction was opened to businesses worldwide in October 2011, DIFC Courts judgments can be enforced internationally through treaties such as the GCC Protocol and Riyadh Convention; treaties with China, France; and reciprocal arrangements with many common law courts overseas, including the Commercial Court of England and Wales, Federal Court of Australia, the New South Wales Supreme Court, the High Court of Kenya (Commercial and Admiralty Division) and the Supreme Court of Singapore.
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