17 April 2007
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre; the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) today held the official inauguration of the DIFC Courts, an independent judicial system which will deal with matters arising from and within the DIFC.
The DIFC Courts was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group and Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.. The event was attended by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group and Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, His Excellency Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC, the Honourable Andrew Kwok Nang Li, Chief Justice of Hong Kong, Dr. Ahmed Bin Hazeem Al Suwaidi, Director General , Dubai Courts, Sir Anthony Evans, Chief Justice of DIFC Courts, and Judge Michael Hwang SC, Deputy Chief Justice of DIFC Courts and other distinguished members of the legal and business community were also in attendance.
The DIFC Courts were established under the laws enacted by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in September 2004. The laws establishing the DIFC Courts meets the highest international standards of legal procedure, thus ensuring that the DIFC Courts provide the certainty, flexibility and efficiency expected by global institutions operating within the DIFC.
The DIFC Courts is fully equipped to conduct proceedings, with its own court room, rules of court and court facilities. The Courts will also include a small claims tribunal in order to hear lower value cases arising within the DIFC. The DIFC Courts has been operational since October 2005 and had over 10 sittings since then.
The Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), His Excellency Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, said: “The provision of this fundamental judiciary authority will be a significant step in the development of the region’s legal system. The courts are operating to international standards, thus encouraging further investment into the region from the international business community, which is beneficial to the development of the economy as a whole. With the visionary leadership of the government of Dubai and the UAE, the ambition of the DIFC judicial authority, the strength of the legal professionals operating within the DIFC courts and the international standards set within the centre, the DIFC expands the horizons of development for the region’s economy.
Sir Anthony Evans, Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts, commented: “We are delighted to welcome the formal launch of this innovative and impressive Court that will help to emphasise the advantages of a modern and innovative Financial Centre in this fast developing area which is so important to the peace and prosperity of the world.”
Mr. Michael Hwang SC, Deputy Chief Justice of DIFC Courts, added: “The internationality of this court cannot be over-emphasized, yet in this diversity there will always be the uniformity of the common law. We will look to the experience of the other common law countries, with the benefit of our multinational bench of judges, and will arrive at solutions which we believe are best for DIFC. We hope that, in our own small way, we will eventually also be able to contribute to the jurisprudence of the international common law world.”
Sir Anthony Evans was appointed Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts in April 2005. He was a High Court Judge in England and Wales from 1984 until 1992 and a Lord Justice of Appeal (a member of the Court of Appeal) from 1992 until his retirement in 2000. Before being appointed as judge, Sir Anthony practiced as a barrister, specializing in commercial cases. He became Queen’s Counsel in 1971 and a Recorder of the Crown Court in 1972. As a High Court Judge, he sat regularly in the Commercial Court, and from 1990 until 1992 he was judge in charge of the Commercial list.
Since 2000, he has continued to sit from time to time in the Court of Appeal and as a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He is also a member of the Court of Appeal in Bermuda. Sir Anthony has extensive recent experience as an arbitrator, with particular emphasis on international commercial arbitration.
Mr. Michael Hwang SC, Deputy Chief Justice of DIFC Courts, also appointed in April 2005, has previously worked as a Judicial Commissioner and as one of the first twelve Senior Counsel of the Supreme Court of Singapore. Between 2000 and 2003, he also served as a Commissioner of the United Nations Compensation Commission and currently acts as Vice Chairman of the International Court of Arbitration and the International Chamber of Commerce.
For further information on the DIFC Courts, please visit: www.difccourts.ae