Skip to Content

The maturing of DIFC Courts

The maturing of DIFC Courts

August 22, 2017


Graham Lovett, Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

As a litigation lawyer who has been practising in Dubai since 2004, I have seen first-hand how the DIFC Courts have grown from a bespoke court system serving the city’s financial freezone to become a significant part of the global system for resolving commercial disputes.

Their latest set of performance figures, which were released this week, depict an organisation that is still growing almost a decade after starting operations, with businesses of all sizes increasingly turning to the DIFC Courts to help them resolve their disputes.

Looking behind the numbers, however, there were three statistics that were particularly interesting, and of some significance for the Courts.

First, it seems that the Courts’ work to connect with other courts around the world has reached critical mass. While the March signing of a cooperation agreement with the Federal Court of Malaysia was noteworthy, it was the mention of the DIFC Courts enforcing their first United States court judgment that served to underscore why such agreements are necessary in the first place, and how they are actually working in practice.

Secondly, news that the DIFC Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal has seen its workload almost double in the first half of the year reinforces the importance of judicial systems working to serve the needs of all parties, whether their claim is big or small. The Courts put the rise down to new innovations, like their Smart SCT, and new partnerships, like their one with the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, both of which have expanded access to the tribunal. The increase in workload figures show that there was a real gap in the market for this service from smaller businesses and private individuals.

Thirdly was confirmation that the DIFC Courts will be launching a specialised Technology and Construction Division (TCD) in October. This will not be news to Dubai’s legal community, since we were all invited to take part in a consultation exercise about its rules earlier this year, but confirmation that the TCD’s arrival is imminent is nonetheless significant. If implemented successfully, it should bring additional judicial specialism to two key areas of the local (and indeed regional) economy.

From a lawyer’s perspective, there are many attributes that go in to making a good commercial court, but having a global perspective, being adept at handling cases of all sizes, and offering specialist expertise perhaps rate higher than most.

The latest statistics from the DIFC Courts suggest that the Dubai-based judiciary is doing well on all three counts


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.