DIFC Courts
  • Guidelines for Registration of Legal Practitioners
  • Part I. Law Firms Only
  • Part II. Individuals With Rights Of Audience Before The DIFC Courts
  • Important Note
  • Renewals
  • Addition or Removal of Lawyer(s) under part I

Guidelines for Registration of Legal Practitioners

The DIFC Courts' Register of Legal Practitioners is made up of two Parts: Part I - for Law firms to issue and conduct proceedings before the DIFC Courts, and Part II - for individual legal practitioners to obtain Rights of Audience before the DIFC Courts.

Once an application is submitted online, it is reviewed by the DIFC Courts, and if successful after the interview that we conduct with the applicants (Part II), the registration is then approved. Registrations are valid for one year, and are renewed upon proving the required documents and payment of the associated renewal fees. Once

Part I. Law firms only

Entry in Part I shall be in the name of a firm. The firm shall provide a list of practitioners employed by the firm (the branch which is registered) and who are authorised to issue and conduct proceedings on behalf of the firm. Issuing and conducting proceedings involve practical steps which progress a case. Thus, only practitioners who are authorised by their firm (and listed as such under Part I) can issue and conduct proceedings by inter alia

  • signing Statements of Truth;
  • corresponding with the Registry regarding a case or the progression of a case; and
  • corresponding with opposing lawyers.

Registered law firms are reminded that ONLY lawyers registered and listed under part I are permitted to sign off and file documents and/or communicate with the DIFC Courts’ Registry in regard to case related matters.

Supporting documents required for Part I registration:

  • Copy of firm’s Professional License (and copy of the Dubai Legal Affairs Department license (if the firm is Located in Dubai)
  • For each lawyer authorised to issue and conduct proceedings on behalf of the firm, please provide the following documents:
    • Copy of their current Practising Certificate, or letter of Good Standing from their bar association or law society to at least three (3) months from the date of application
    • Copy of the Legal Affairs Department Card (if practicing in Dubai)
    • Copy of Passport
    • Passport size photo
    • Copy of visa page (for UAE Residents)
  • If the applicant firm is located (in an Emirate) outside of Dubai, an undertaking letter is required from the firm confirming that:
    the firm does not carry out any legal consulting or activity or other work in Dubai, as the Company is not permitted to do so under its current license; and The undertaking is being given on the basis that the activity of being registered under “Part 1” and filing cases for the firm’s clients in DIFC Courts does not constitute “carrying on a business in Dubai”.

A firm can add up to seven (7) Lawyers under part I for no additional fees. Any extra addition is USD 100. There are no fees for removal of practitioners in Part I.

Part II. Individuals with rights of audience before the DIFC Courts

Entry in Part II can only be in the name of an individual.  The applicant must provide a declaration as to whether (as stated on the online application form):

  • they have at least five (5) years post-qualification experience immediately preceding the date of application as an Advocate in Courts, Arbitrations or Tribunals; OR
  • they have at least two (2) years post-qualification experience immediately preceding the date of application as an Advocate in Courts, Arbitrations or Tribunals
  • they have sufficient command of the English language and sufficient knowledge of the DIFC Courts laws and procedures in order to conduct proceedings before the Courts.

Supporting documents required for Part II registration:

  • Copy of current Practising Certificate or letter of Good Standing from their bar association or law society to at least three (3) months from the date of application
  • Copy of Passport
  • Passport size photo
  • Copy of visa page (for UAE Residents)
  • Copy of the Legal Affairs Department Card (if practicing in Dubai)
  • Copy of a valid indemnity insurance policy (practitioners outside Dubai)
  • Schedule of oral advocacy experience in either Courts, Arbitration or Tribunals. The schedule should highlight the lawyer’s experiences in oral advocacy and outline the current practice of the practitioners and a list of (representative) cases and interlocutory motions and descriptions of the of the practitioner’s involvement in each. The schedule will serve as a basis for the interview which is conducted prior to the acceptance of the application.

Important Note:

  • Lawyers from the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada who are appointed as Queen’s Counsel or Senior Counsel are exempted from the Part II interview
  • lawyers with a civil law background who apply for Part II, and who have more than 5 years’ of advocacy experience but minimum knowledge of the Common Law system, will be granted only limited Rights of Audience
  • An upgrade from limited to full Rights of Audience will be granted once the following two criteria has been met:
    • The lawyer has been registered with the DIFC Courts in Part II for a minimum of 3 years at the time of the application of the upgrade; and
    • The lawyer has conducted advocacy in the DIFC Courts in a minimum of 10 applications at the time of the application of the upgrade.

Part II practitioners with limited Rights of Audience may conduct the following advocacy in the DIFC Courts:

  • All CFI applications
  • Any application before a Registrar, Deputy Registrar or Assistant Registrar
  • Case Management Conferences
  • Hearings for progress monitoring
  • SCT Cases

Part II lawyers with Full Rights of Audience may conduct, in addition to the above, the following advocacy in the DIFC Courts:

  • CFI Trials
  • Appeal to the Court of Appeal
  • An application for injunction
  • Application to strike out a claim or a defence (including want of jurisdiction)

Individuals applying for registration in Part II – the procedure will be as follows:

  • Registration in Part II of the Register will be provisional until the individual concerned appears before a judge.
  • the Registrar shall attend the first hearing and either: (i) confirm the applicant’s registration as permanent; or (ii) refuse the registration.
  • should the Registrar be minded to refuse registration, they must provide reasons for the refusal in writing.
  • in the event of refusal of registration following the first hearing, the individual concerned may lodge a written and reasoned appeal with the Chief Justice if they are not satisfied with the decision of the Registrar.

An individual applying for registration in Part II of the Register should give the DIFC Courts not less than 7 days’ notice of their intention to appear before a judge, so that the necessary arrangements can be made to ensure the presence of the Registrar. If it is not possible to give sufficient notice, or if no Registrar is available to attend the first hearing, the individual will need to seek permission of the hearing judge to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrar and the individual’s registration in the Register shall remain provisional until the next hearing, at which the Registrar shall attend and either: (i) confirm the applicant’s registration as permanent; or (ii) refuse the registration.

Renewals

Registrations are valid for one year, and are renewed upon proving the required documents and payment of the associated renewal fees.

Reminder emails are sent to registered practitioners before the date of expiry.

If a part I or Part II practitioner does not renew their registration (including the payment) before the expiry date, their registration will be suspended. The firm or practitioner will need to pay the full registration fee in order to re-register.

Supporting documents required for Part I renewal application:

  • Copy of firm’s Professional License (and copy of the Dubai Legal Affairs Department license if the firm is Located in Dubai)
  • For each lawyer authorised to issue and conduct proceedings on behalf of the firm, please provide the following documents:
  • Copy of the current Practising Certificate, or letter of Good Standing from the bar association or law society to at least three (3) months from the date of application
  • Copy of the Legal Affairs Department Card (if practicing in Dubai)

Supporting documents required for Part II renewal application:

  • Copy of current Practising Certificate or letter of Good Standing from the bar association or law society to at least three (3) months from the date of application
  • Copy of the Legal Affairs Department Card (if practicing in Dubai)

NOTE : These guidelines apply to all existing and new registrations/renewals.

Addition or Removal of Lawyer(s) under part I

In order for a practitioner to be added under the firm’s Part I registration, the admin of the firm may request for this through the online portal, attaching the below documents. Once the request is received, this will be reviewed prior to acceptance.

For additions of Practitioners, the following documents must be provided:

  • Copy of their Practising Certificate or a letter of Good Standing from their bar association or law society to at least three (3) months from the date of application
  • Copy of the Legal Affairs Department Card (if practicing in Dubai)
  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of visa page (for UAE Residents)
  • Passport size photo

In order for a practitioner to be removed under the firm’s Part I registration, kindly send a letter signed by the managing partner addressed to the DIFC Courts by e-mail to registration@difccourts.ae requesting same.

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