The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is designed to be a financial free zone offering a unique, independent legal and regulatory framework in order to create an environment for growth, progress and economic development in the UAE and the wider region.
The DIFC Courts deal exclusively with all cases and claims arising out of the DIFC and its operations and any civil or commercial claims or actions where the parties agree in writing to file such claim or action with it whether before or after the dispute arises, provided that such agreement is made pursuant to specific, clear and express provisions.
The DIFC Courts carry out their functions in an independent manner, in accordance with the provisions of the DIFC laws and regulations.
The DIFC laws allow for any institution operating within the DIFC to select a legal jurisdiction of its choice, other than the DIFC, when entering into contracts. However, in the event that parties do not do so, the DIFC laws will be applicable by default and they can file a case in the DIFC Courts.
The DIFC Courts have jurisdiction over civil and commercial matters only. The DIFC Courts do not have jurisdiction over criminal matters. All criminal matters are referred to the appropriate external authority.
The DIFC Courts Small Claims Tribunal is for any claim up to 500,000 AED ($136,000) and can be used in all commercial contracts, even for entities that operate outside of the DIFC and the UAE. Both parties must have the DIFC Courts jurisdiction contract clause in their contract, or can agree in writing to use the SCT at the time of a dispute. For more information visit: http://sct.difccourts.ae