DIFC Courts

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 14 December 2021: The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts today announced the launch of a ‘Specialised Court for the Digital Economy’ aimed at simplifying the settlement process of complex civil and commercial disputes related to the digital economy.

The new specialised Court will deal with national and international disputes related to current and emerging technologies. It will cover a wide variety of fields including big data, blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence, cloud services, unmanned aerial vehicles, 3D printing technologies, and robotics.

With the continuous growth of digital transformation across the world, trade and services inevitably integrate digital technology in their fundamental operations. Now, more than ever an innovative judicial system is key to promoting growth as well as providing security, reliability, and protection for companies and businesses.

The new Court is a pivotal step in achieving the UAE’s vision and strategy for the next 50 years. The DIFC Courts is in the process of appointing eminent judicial experts to operate and supervise the digital infrastructure and advanced service capabilities of the Specialised Court. The new court will start providing services in the first quarter of 2022.

The ‘Specialised Court for the Digital Economy’ will complement specialised divisions in existing courts including the Technology and Construction Division and the Arbitration Division. These were launched by the DIFC Courts to meet the increasing demand for judicial expertise in cases related to specific sectors.

In early 2022, the new court will assign a group of international lawyers and industry experts to draft and approve new rules for the Digital Economy Court, which will then be issued after a 30-day public consultation campaign.

H.E. Justice Omar Al Mheiri, Director, DIFC Courts, said, “The potential of the UAE’s judicial systems to support and protect the continuity of business projects will prove to be extremely vital to the country’s long-term goals of attracting and retaining foreign investment. Dubai’s well-grounded commitment to strengthen a highly competitive business environment is key to its vision of deep-rooted economic diversification.”

"The launch of the new specialised Court shows Dubai's determination to play a leading and pioneering role in developing judicial systems that simplify dispute settlement related to the digital economy,” Al Mheiri added. “We will utilise the most advanced technologies to increase the efficiency of the system and ensure that the public will benefit from its services. This court is the first of its kind in the world offering new and exciting innovations that will provide the best avenues to access justice, not only for companies operating in the UAE but for international companies seeking a fair jurisdiction,” he furthered.

In preparation for the fast-growing digital economy, the UAE government announced several initiatives to create a strategic roadmap for the country’s future. This includes the formation of a working group of government and business leaders tasked with developing a post-pandemic action plan for accelerating digital economy growth, driven by innovation and creativity.

Established in 2004, the DIFC Courts is Dubai’s international English language common law judicial system and forms a key part of the legal system of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was established with the specific objective to enable the international community in the UAE to have greater confidence in the Emirate’s legal framework and to further strengthen investment and trade relations with Dubai and the UAE.

In 2011, the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts was extended beyond the financial centre for international businesses, thereby enabling any two parties from any global location to use the DIFC Courts by ‘opting-in’ to this neutral global jurisdiction.

In 2017, the think tank Courts of the Future was launched by the DIFC Courts and the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) with a mandate to explore diverse legal technology topic areas and to provide research and thought leadership on promoting and encouraging contemporary methods of greater accessibility and efficiency to court users across the globe.

This think tank has enabled the DIFC Courts to streamline its major Court tech projects under the ‘Courts of the Future’, pooling talent and resources from global partners and experts across the fields of law, technology, and business, assembled to help courts systems accommodate and leverage emerging technologies.

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