Court judges

Chief Justice Michael Hwang, SC

Justice Michael Hwang was appointed as the Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts in June 2010. He is a graduate of Oxford University and a former law teacher in the University of Sydney and University of Singapore.

In 1997, he was appointed as one of the first 12 Senior Counsel (SC) of the Supreme Court of Singapore (a status equivalent to that of Queen’s Counsel in England). In 1999, he was elected a Member of the American Law Institute and served as a Visiting Professor to the National University of Singapore teaching advocacy and commercial arbitration. Between 2000 and 2003, he served as a Commissioner of the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) based in Geneva, a body set up under the Security Council to assess claims against Iraq arising from the first Gulf War.

Justice Judith Prakash

On 7 March 2017 the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) Courts announced the appointment of Justice Judith Prakash to the Courts’ judiciary. Justice Prakash will serve on a part-time basis to hear appeals cases, while continuing her role as a Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Singapore. She brings over two decades of experience as a judge, and in August 2016, was the first woman to be appointed as Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Singapore. Prior to that, she served as Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court from April 1992, and was appointed a High Court Judge in 1995. Justice Prakash is held in high esteem within the international legal community and specialises in complex commercial cases, arbitration, company, and trust law. She also chairs the Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee and Publications Committee, and is the Co-Chair of the Medical Litigation Review Committee, tasked to address the challenges in medical litigation

H.E. Justice Omar Al Muhairi

H.E. Justice Omar Al Muhairi was appointed as a Senior Judicial Officer at the DIFC Courts in August 2005. H.E. Justice Omar Al Muhairi brings to the DIFC Courts an in-depth knowledge of the workings of the Dubai judicial system.

In 1994, H.E. Justice Omar Al Muhairi was appointed as a Prosecutor for Dubai Public Prosecution and served as Prosecutor until 1998. In 1998, he was appointed by the Ruler of Dubai to serve as a Judge in the Dubai Courts. During his tenure as a Judge, H.E. Justice Omar Al Muhairi dealt with a large number of major criminal, commercial and civil cases.

H.E. Justice Ali Shamis Mohamed Shamis Al Madhani

In January 2008, H.E. Ali Shamis Al Madhani was sworn in as a Judge of the DIFC Courts, and in April 2008 he was appointed and sworn in as a Judge of the DIFC Courts Court of Appeal. He was later appointed as a member of the Joint Committee of the Dubai Courts.

He began his judicial career in 1994 until 1998 as a Public Prosecutor for Dubai Public Prosecution. In 1998, he was appointed by the Ruler of Dubai to serve as a Judge in the Dubai Courts. During his tenure as a Dubai Courts’ Judge, he was adjudicated over a large number of major commercial, criminal and civil cases.

H.E. Justice Ali Al Madhani is the Current Chairman of the Middle East Board for Courts Administration under the International Association for Court Administration (IACA).

H.E. Justice Shamlan Al Sawalehi

H.E Justice Shamlan Al Sawalehi has a breadth and depth of experience and knowledge on international financial service disputes in both Common and Civil law systems. He joined the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) ) Courts in 2010 as a Judicial Officer before becoming a Small Claims Tribunal Judge, then a Court of First Instance Judge and a judge of the Appeal Court of the DIFC Courts.

H.E Justice Shamlan holds a Master Degree with Merits in International Commercial Law from Westminster University in the UK, a Higher Diploma with Honors in Advanced Legal and Judicial Studies from the Dubai Judicial Institution, and a Bachelor with distinction in Shari’a and Law from the UAE University

Justice Sir David Steel

Justice Sir David Steel was appointed as a Judge of the DIFC Courts in 2011. In May 2016 after five years of service with the DIFC Courts, Justice Sir David Steel was named the new Deputy Chief Justice.

Prior to this, Justice David Steel served as a Judge of the High Courts on the Queen’s Bench Division from 1998 onwards. Justice David Steel was appointed as Judge of the Commercial Court and an Admiralty Judge from 1998 onwards. He also served as a Judge in charge of the Commercial Court in the High Court of London from 2006 to 2008 having been the presiding Judge of the Western Circuit from 2002 to 2006.

Justice Roger Giles, QC

Justice Roger David Giles was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1988, and sat in the Commercial Division becoming Chief Judge of that Division in 1994. In 1998, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal, from which he retired in December 2011.

Mr. Giles graduated in Arts (1961) and Law (1965, Hons 1) from Sydney University and BCL (1968, Hons 1) from Oxford University. He served articles of clerkship and was a solicitor at a Sydney firm before going to the New South Wales Bar in 1971. In earlier years he lectured and tutored at Sydney University.

Justice Tun Zaki Azmi

Justice Tun Zaki Azmi joined the DIFC Courts in December 2013. He retired as the Chief Justice of Malaysia in September 2011, upon reaching the retirement age of judges of the superior courts in Malaysia. His greatest achievement as the 12th Chief Justice was to clear the outstanding backlog of cases affecting the Malaysian Courts and to reduce the hearing time for newly filed cases, an achievement which was recognised by the World Bank.

He held the post of Chief Justice of Malaysia for three years, having previously served as the President of the Court of Appeal. He was elevated directly as a Federal Judge on September 5, 2007.

Justice The Hon Sir Jeremy Cooke

Sir Jeremy Cooke is a graduate of St Edmund Hall, Oxford from 1967-1970 and has an MA 1st Class Honours degree in Jurisprudence.

Sir Jeremy Cooke was an Articled Clerk with Speechly Mumford and Soames 1971-1973, admitted as a solicitor 1973. He was Called to the Bar 1976 (Lincoln’s Inn), Droop Scholar and practised at the Commercial Bar, specialising in Commercial Court and Arbitration work. He served as a High Court Judge, Queen’s Bench Division, 2001 and then was appointed to the Commercial Court in 2003. Justice Jeremy Cooke was appointed as a Judge of the DIFC Courts on 13 April 2016.

Sir Richard Alan Field

Justice Sir Richard Alan Field was appointed as a Judge of the DIFC Courts in January 2015. A British national, he most recently served as Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court in London, which deals with complex cases arising from business disputes, with a particular emphasis on international trade, banking, commodities, and arbitration disputes.

Justice Field was called to the Bar in 1977 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1987. He served as a Deputy Judge of the High Court of Justice from 1997 to 2002 and as Justice of the High Court of England & Wales from 2002 to 2014, including as Presiding Judge on the Western Circuit between 2008 and 2012.