DIFC Courts

DIFC Courts and Ministry of Justice host first collaboration meeting in Dubai

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 08 June 2011: The DIFC Courts, the Dubai International Financial Centre's (DIFC) independent, common law judicial system and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) held an inaugural joint committee meeting last week following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2010. The MOU highlights the importance of joint coordination and knowledge sharing between the MoJ and the DIFC Courts to further the development of the UAE judicial system for the benefit of UAE court users.

The meeting between the DIFC Courts and MoJ further solidifies the ongoing cooperation between the two judicial bodies to ensure the rule of law and justice is delivered in a swift, transparent and efficient manner. The partnership is focused on achieving key strategic objectives, such as judicial enforcement and multi-disciplinary procedures, while adhering to standards of international legal best practice.

The meeting was attended by MoJ officials Justice Sultan Rashed Al Matroshi, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Advisory, Legislation and State Affairs, Justice Humaid Ali Mossbih Al Mehairi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Technical Affairs and International Cooperation, Justice Mohamed Abdel Rahman Al Jarrah, Director of Inspection Department and Dr. Ahcene Boulesbaa, Advisor at the Minister's Office. DIFC Courts officials included HE Justice Ali Shamis Al Madhani, Judicial Officer Shamlan Abdulrahman Al-Sawalehi and Registrar, Mark Beer.

During the session, Court officials discussed the DIFC bodies' mandate and functions, including the DIFC Courts' legal and legislative framework. In addition, an overview of the DIFC Courts' Registry practice was discussed along with practices such as registration of practitioners and electronic case management.

Prior to the signing of the MoU, the DIFC Courts have successfully implemented initiatives such as the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT), an electronic case management system, a Pro Bono programmme and a Lawyer's Code of Conduct, as well as various training and educational programmes. Each initiative is an example of the DIFC Courts adopting and implementing international best practice in the administration of justice.

The Small Claims Tribunal (SCT), for example, is the only operating tribunal of its kind in the region, and it plays an important role in promoting a SME friendly culture. The SCT offers fast and efficient dispute resolution services without the need to appoint lawyers. It has proven particularly efficient in resolving employment and debt-related disputes, with over 90% of the approximately 150 cases heard so far having been resolved within three weeks. The SCT hears cases with a value of up to 100,000 AED or where the parties agree in writing, the SCT can hear employment cases of any amount and other disputes up to AED 500,000.

His Excellency Dr. Hadif bin Jouan Al Dhahiri, Minister of Justice, said: "Ministry of Justice officials are very pleased to have met with the officials of the DIFC Courts, as we continue to support the initiatives outlined in the MoU signed last year. Fortunately, there is a significant level of expertise on both sides and everyone has benefitted from sharing judicial insight, ideas and experience. Such exchanges can be useful, if and when required, to implement new programmes."

Chief Justice Michael Hwang, DIFC Courts said, "The first joint committee meeting with the Ministry of Justice to further the MOU is a testament to the commitment to ongoing cooperation between our two judicial institutions. We are delighted to share and exchange best practices with our colleagues in the UAE judicial system for the benefit of UAE courts' users."



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About the DIFC Courts

The DIFC Courts is an independent court system set up to uphold the provisions of DIFC laws and regulations. They provide the protection of an English language, common law court system, with an internationally renowned bench of judges versed in commercial disputes, to ensure transparent and efficient justice in civil and commercial matters in or relating to the Centre. The overriding objective of the DIFC Courts is to deal with cases justly and swiftly and to help parties settle cases. Designed to deal specifically with the sophisticated transactions conducted within the DIFC, the DIFC Courts provide comprehensive legal redress in civil and commercial matters. Along with offering the highest standards in legal dispute resolution and a judicial system based on international best practices, DIFC Courts provide a small claims tribunal which is unique in the region. In January 2008, DIFC Courts appointed the first female judge in the UAE and announced that two Emirati judges had become common law International Judges. The DIFC Courts were established under laws enacted by The Late His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in September 2004. The DIFC Courts are an independent judicial system which has jurisdiction over matters arising from and within the DIFC. The DIFC Courts were established under two new laws enacted by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Law No. 12 of 2004 established the Judicial Authority at the DIFC and sets out the jurisdiction of the court and allows for the independent administration of justice in the DIFC. The laws establishing the DIFC Courts are designed to ensure the highest international standards of legal procedure thus ensuring that the DIFC Courts provide the certainty, flexibility and efficiency expected by the global institutions operating within the DIFC.

About the DIFC

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is an onshore hub for global finance. It bridges the time gap between the financial centres of Hong Kong and London and services a region with the largest untapped emerging market for financial services. In just three years, over 600 firms have registered at the DIFC. They operate in an open environment complemented with world-class regulations and standards. The DIFC offers its member institutions incentives such as 100 per cent foreign ownership, zero tax on income and profits and no restrictions on foreign exchange. In addition their business benefits from modern infrastructure, operational support and business continuity facilities of uncompromisingly high standards.