Skip to Content

A Day in the Life of SCT Judge Mariam Deen

A Day in the Life of SCT Judge Mariam Deen

December 24, 2017


We speak to Mariam Deen, Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) Judge, about a typical day at DIFC Courts.

Can you describe a day in the life as a SCT Judge?
My priority is always to read the case file and consider all written submissions and supporting evidence well in advance of all hearings scheduled before me. I also ensure that I have the applicable laws to hand and consider any relevant DIFC cases that may have set a precedent in the type of dispute I am to determine. I prepare questions for the parties as required, particularly if there are gaps in the information already provided.
Unless I’ve granted the parties additional time to submit further evidence, I usually feel able to make a well-reasoned decision immediately. I prefer to draft the first version of my judgment as soon as possible following the hearing, while submissions are fresh in my mind, so that it can be issued within five days of the hearing. I choose to pass oral judgments in very simple cases, which avoids unnecessary delay for the parties; a written version of the decision and reasons follow this thereafter.

What is the best thing about being a judge?
Being able to resolve a dispute and see that justice is served. The beauty of the SCT is that it allows parties an opportunity to mediate before proceeding to the hearing stage. It is incredibly satisfying when the Claimant and Defendant can find some middle ground and leave the SCT having reached an amicable solution. Even when a hearing is necessary and a judgment is issued, I feel fortunate to be a part of the process that has helped people put their dispute behind them in a fair and just way.

What are the biggest challenges you face?
Litigants are usually not legally represented in the SCT, which results in time and cost savings for them. However, problems sometimes arise when parties represent themselves as they are heavily invested in the process and emotions can run high. When parties bring up irrelevant or personal matters I am quick to direct them against doing so and ensure that the hearing proceeds in the most helpful and respectful manner possible.

What are the qualities that make a good judge?
Impartiality; it is important to remain objective throughout the process and to filter through the submissions in a way that reaches the salient facts. Compassion is also required; I keep in mind that the parties may be frustrated by the fact that their dispute arose at all, even more so by the fact that it needed to be referred to mediation and/or adjudication. I understand that for many litigants the hearing stage is their last resort for a solution and so I aim to deal with the case in a way that I would like my own to be handled.

What is the process to qualify as a SCT judge?
All SCT Judges must be legally qualified and have the appropriate experience. My Barrister training, particularly the advocacy, negotiation and mediation elements assist me a great deal in my hearings. In addition, my experience as In-House Legal Counsel allows me helpful insight into the needs and nuances of company practices, which leads to a greater understanding of how and why disputes arise.
My additional role as Judicial Clerk has helped me tremendously in terms of my knowledge of the DIFC Laws and how they apply; having expertise in drafting judgments for the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal support my role as SCT Judge and I employ the same methods in drafting judgments for each of the Courts.


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.