DIFC Courts

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 4 May 2015: The DIFC Courts have agreed a new streamlined process for the international enforcement of its judgments via the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Justice, providing additional certainty to businesses using Dubai’s English-language, common law court system.

In the presence of HE Sultan Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Justice, the two organisations signed a memorandum setting out clear procedures and timelines in instances when DIFC Courts judgments involving assets held outside of the country need to be enforced through the Ministry of Justice, as is required under certain treaties between the UAE and other countries. It also clarifies the procedures for the service of DIFC Courts documents through official channels, which is another requirement of some treaties.

The changes have been made in response to the increasingly international workload of the DIFC Courts, which saw the total value of claims and counterclaims filed in 2014 increase by 81% to cross one billion dirhams for the first time. The memorandum also builds on a 2010 agreement between the DIFC Courts and Ministry of Justice covering broader issues such as shared strategic objectives, strengthening judicial cooperation, and reinforcing confidence in the judicial system among local and international businesses.

Michael Hwang, Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts, said: “The DIFC Courts and Ministry of Justice are working together to make the UAE one of the best places in the world to business. This memorandum is significant as it fine-tunes the process for enforcement via our colleagues at the Ministry, which is required in certain instances, and will become increasingly common as the DIFC Courts’ workload becomes increasingly transnational.”

Since their jurisdiction was opened to businesses worldwide in October 2011, the DIFC Courts have established one of the world’s strongest enforcement regimes. Their judgments can be enforced internationally through treaties such as the GCC Protocol and Riyadh Convention; treaties with China and France; and arrangements with many common law courts overseas, including London, New York and Singapore. The DIFC Courts also operate a dedicated Enforcement Department with responsibility for efficiently handling the enforcement of decisions locally and internationally.