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DIFC Courts signals surge in cases from SMEs

DIFC Courts signals surge in cases from SMEs

August 25, 2019




  • DIFC Courts hears 463 cases across all divisions in the first half of 2019
  • 2019 marked bysurge in cases referred to the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 25August 2019: The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts today released its figures for the first half of 2019, with the English-language, common law courts continuing to assist global businesses resolve their largest and most complex disputes, while becoming the increasingly prevalent forum for settling the smaller claims of corporations, SMEs and individuals.

Signaling strong public confidence, the total volume of cases across all divisions for the first six months of 2019 was 463, a 25% increase from the first half of 2018.  The main Court of First Instance (CFI), including arbitration-related cases and counter claims, continued to provide business certainty, with the total value of cases recorded as AED 2 billion.

The period was also notable for a significant increase in the number of enforcement cases, indicating the assurance businesses have in the DIFC Courts to collect on money judgments.  The total caseload of enforcement claims filed witnessed a 16% increase from the first half of 2018, with a total of 101, rising from 87 in the same period in 2018.



The dynamic delivery of the region’s first Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) in the first six months of 2019 was particularly striking, with its case load increasing by 34% to 321 claims (H1 2018: 240 cases).  This growth was partly driven by greater awareness campaigns through local strategic partnerships, including a cooperation agreement with Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA) and the launch of the Special Complaints Referral Centre (SCFC). Reinforcing the ‘Smart’ SCT’s increasing appeal to individuals and SMEs, the total value of claims increased by 23% in the first half of 2019, rising from AED 30.6 million to AED 37.5 million.

Amna Al Owais, Chief Registrar, DIFC Courts, said:“The first half of 2019 saw the DIFC Courts serve the biggest multinationals, the smallest start-ups, and individuals, seeking justice with equal consideration. When it comes to resolving disputes, businesses like choice and they need certainty – few rational companies would invest money, resources or intellectual property in a country with questions marks around legal protection. Likewise, effective commercial courts are essential enablers for local companies to thrive and have become major points of difference within the region in the race for global investment.

Businesses and individuals in Dubai are free to choose between litigation and arbitration; common or civil law; English or Arabic language – whichever system best suits their specific needs.Our performance so far this year speaks to the maturity of the DIFC Courts, our position as a valued public service,and cements our status as a regional leader in the field of commercial justice.”



The first six months of 2019 witnessed a total of 549 wills registered at the DIFC Courts, bringing the total since the inception of this ancillary service to over 5,160, with more than 85 lawyers representing more than 80 law firms, based in the UAE and overseas, registered as Wills Draftsmen.

In July 2019 the DIFC Courts announced changes to the rules of wills registrations, which will now accommodate all resident and investor assets across the Emirates, as well as assets held outside the UAE.

Effective from July 1, 2019, the Courts’ Wills Service Centre also confirmed that existing wills registered with the Courts can be amended free-of-charge until August 31, 2019, to include UAE-wide assets and assets outside the UAE.

In 2019 the DIFC Courts also signed a cooperation agreement with the Dubai Land Department (DLD) to ensure that its public service offering through the Wills Service Centre will complement and reinforce the overall service with the DLD to property purchasers.


Privacy Policy

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

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

  1. DIFC Courts 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 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.


Quality Policy

The DIFC Courts is committed to establishing, implementing, and maintaining a quality management system that is in line with the DIFC Courts’ Vision, Mission and Strategy. The DIFC Courts’ quality management system ensures the implementation of effective policies, procedures and other documented information to achieve efficient work processes and customer centricity.

The senior management of the DIFC Courts are committed to the continual improvement of the quality management system by: