Skip to Content

The ‘three R’s’ of better court administration

The ‘three R’s’ of better court administration

August 6, 2017


Ask a group of people to name the basic skills required for a good education and chances are at least a few will mention the “three R’s.” The origins of this nifty phrase to illustrate the importance of reading, ’riting and ‘rithmetic apparently date back two centuries and it is still widely used today.

A different meaning for this phrase came to mind recently when I attended the annual International Association of Court Administration (IACA) conference in Washington. DC. In 2018, I will have the privilege of beginning a two-year tenure as President of this exceptional organisation that works to raise the governance, management and operational standards of courts worldwide.

As I spoke with IACA members and conference delegates about where the focus for delivering better court administration over the coming years should rest, “three R’s” also emerged: relevance, responsiveness and relationships.

The first “R” urges courts to stay relevant by realising that they are a public service. As such, they need to deliver against the needs of the communities they serve, and not the other way around: The tail should not be wagging the dog! For example, if people want to attend civil or commercial Court hearings from the comfort of their office or home then the Courts should provide that facility, as we do in the DIFC Courts. There is an assumption by many Courts around the world that they are places people are compelled to attend. But in the world of commercial disputes, businesses have a choice about which systems they want to use, so factors like speed, efficiency and service matter if a court wants to stay relevant. To stay relevant, Courts need to understand the needs of their communities and find ways to deliver against those needs.

The second “R” highlights the importance of courts being responsive to change. Worldwide, countries are grappling with enormous challenges, from humanitarian crises and mass migration to the digitisation of economies and the automation of workforces. Courts are an integral part of the response, so must ensure their capabilities are equal to their changing case load. New technologies like 3D printing and driverless cars, for instance, could require the appointment of specialist judges with the knowledge and experience to hear new types of cases, in the same way that construction or shipping experts often sit on the benches of today’s top judiciaries.

And the third “R” calls on courts to deepen their relationships with peers across the world. This year’s IACA conference brought together some 8,500 people from 42 countries, all with a shared interest in driving up judicial standards. They understand that the ability to stay relevant and be responsive is greatly enhanced if we work together to share best practice and enhance the rule of law worldwide.

While relevance, relationships and responsiveness may not be as memorable or enduring as the original “three R’s,” for those interested in driving up courts standards across the world, they will be front of mind as we look to build on IACA’s many achievements over the coming years.


Privacy Policy

The Dubai International Financial Centre and all its affiliates are committed to preserve the confidentiality, integrity and availability of client data and personal information.

Dubai International Financial Centre and all its affiliates employees, vendors, contract workers, shall follow Information Security Management System in all the processes and technology.

  1. DIFC Courts's Top Management is committed to secure information of all our interested parties.
  2. Information security controls the policies, processes, and measures that are implemented by DIFC Courts in order to mitigate risks to an acceptable level, and to maximize opportunities in order to achieve its information security objectives.
  3. DIFC Courts and all its affiliates shall adopt a systematic approach to risk assessment and risk treatment.
  4. DIFC Courts is committed to provide information security awareness among team members and evaluate the competency of all its employees.
  5. DIFC Courts and all its affiliates shall protect personal information held by them in all its form.
  6. DIFC Courts and all its affiliates shall comply with all regulatory, legal and contractual requirements.
  7. DIFC Courts and all its affiliates shall provide a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan encompassing the locations within the scope of the ISMS.
  8. Information shall be made available to authorised persons as and when required.
  9. DIFC Courts’s Top Management is committed towards continual improvement in information security in all our processes through regular review of our information security management system.


The content of the DIFC Courts website is provided for information purposes only and should be disregarded when making decisions on inheritance and any other matters. Whilst every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, the DIFC Courts makes no warranties or representations to you as to the accuracy, authenticity or completeness of the content on this website, which is subject to change at any time without notice. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice by the DIFC Courts or any person employed or connected with it or formerly so employed or connected, to any person on any matter, be it in relation to inheritance, succession planning or otherwise. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a suitably qualified lawyer in relation to your personal circumstances and your objectives. The DIFC Courts does not assume any liability and shall not be liable to you for any damages, including but not limited to, direct or indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising in connection with this website, its administration and any content or lack thereof found on it. The information on this web site is not to be displayed except in full screen format. Although care has been taken to provide links to suitable material from this site, no guarantee can be given about the suitability, completeness or accuracy of any of the material that this site may be linked to or other material on the internet. The DIFC Courts cannot accept any responsibility for the content of material that may be encountered therein.