June 29, 2021 Practice Directions
IN THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS
PRACTICAL GUIDANCE NOTE No. 1 of 2021
JUDICIAL REFERRAL TO MEDIATION
This Practical Guidance Note will come into effect from 29 June 2021. It may be cited as Practical Guidance Note 1 of 2021 – Judicial Referral to Mediation and may be abbreviated to PGN 1/2021.
Court’s general power to refer parties to mandatory mediation
1. Pursuant to the Rules of the DIFC Courts (“RDC”) rule 27.3, the Court shall have a general discretion to refer parties to mandatory mediation at any time.
2. Such a referral shall have the effect of staying the proceedings until the end of the mandatory mediation process.
3. The term “mediation” shall be taken to encompass mediation, conciliation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution provided for under RDC Part 27. Parties should read this Practical Guidance Note alongside Part 27.
Court’s exercise of the power
4. The Court may exercise its discretion upon the application of one or more of the parties, or of its own initiative.
5. The Court’s discretion may be exercised in one or more of the following circumstances:
(a) The referral would more likely than not assist in furthering the Overriding Objective and/or the objectives set out at RDC 27.2.
(b) The parties have an existing relationship that would more likely than not be permanently affected by the continuation of proceedings, for example where there is a familial relationship between the parties or a longstanding business relationship.
The mandatory mediation process
6. Such mediation may be carried out by the DIFC Courts through one of its Judges, Registrars or Judicial Officers who have had no prior involvement in the case. Alternatively, by consent between the parties, the parties may appoint an independent third-party mediator to conduct the mediation. Such a third party shall not be recommended by the Court.
7. The Court shall be entitled to charge for mediation services as provided under the relevant Rules and Schedule of Fees.
8. The Court may give case management directions or other directions in respect of the conduct of the mediation to assist the parties, as it sees fit. Such directions may include the preparation of documents and bundles by the parties to facilitate the mediation.
9. The Court may make an order for costs regarding the payment of the costs of the mediation, as it deems appropriate in the circumstances.
Dated this 28th day of June 2021
Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts