DIFC Courts

Expands efforts to increase community accessibility

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 12 September 2011: The DIFC Courts, the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) independent, common law judicial system, have established a pro bono fund to increase access to justice for disadvantaged litigants. Funding would come from the legal costs that can now be claimed by successful pro bono litigants.

The fund builds on the Courts’ well established pro bono programme which is supported by numerous international and local law firms, and has already helped several litigants in the community to pursue cases.

Chief Justice Michael Hwang, DIFC Courts said, “The DIFC Courts were founded with the vision of being as accessible as possible to the community, and today’s announcement of the establishment of a fund to help improve access to justice for people that may not have had the resources to pursue a case otherwise is a great step forward in our vision and mission. We will continue to seek out strong and positive initiatives such as this one to further benefit the community.

“Our pro bono programme has received enthusiastic support both from individual legal practitioners as well as law firms. We are gratified by the response to our initiative and proud of the social responsibility of our DIFC practitioners. We continue to lead the field in terms of innovation in providing a trusted, reliable, safe platform for dispute resolution.”

The establishment of the fund was announced alongside the issuance of amendments to the Rules of the DIFC Courts (the “RDC”) to further enhance the efficiency of proceedings. The RDC are based on the highest standards of commercial court procedures from around the world, and are widely acknowledged for efficiency and promoting parties to settle disputes before trial. Proposed amendments were put forth by the DIFC Courts’ Rules-Sub Committee, chaired by DIFC Courts’ Justice Sir Anthony Colman and composed of eight members, including six Dubai-based law firm representatives. The proposals also underwent a one-month public consultation and this feedback was adopted into the newly issued RDC.Law firms participating in the DIFC Courts pro bono programme include Al Tamimi, Clyde & Co, Clifford Chance, Norton Rose, DLA Piper, Chadbourne & Parke LLC, Herbert Smith LLP, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Lovells (Middle East) LLP, Hadef & Partners, Freshfields Bruckhaus & Deringer LLP, Al Roken and Bin Eid, Afridi & Angell, Dewey & LeBouef, Latham & Watkins LLP, KBH Kanuun, Kennedys, Busit Advocates & Legal Consultants, Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, Holman Fenwick Willan Middle East LLP.