Guidance Notes for Small Claims Tribunal Claimants
Please read these notes carefully – they will help you with the SCT process. These notes are only provided for your guidance and do not constitute legal advice. Please refer to the Rules of the DIFC Courts (‘RDC’) Part 53 for the complete set of rules for the SCT process.
Jurisdiction of the Small Claims Tribunal
- The SCT will hear and determine claims within the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts where:
- The amount or value of the claim does not exceed AED 500,000; or
- The claim relates to the employment or former employment of a party and the amount or value of the claim exceeds AED 500,000 and all parties to the claim elect in writing that it be heard by the SCT. There is no value limit for the SCT’s elective jurisdiction in the context of employment claims; or
- In the context of claims which are not employment related, the amount or value of the claim does not exceed 1,000,000 AED; and all parties elect in writing that it be heard by the SCT, such election can be made in the underlying contract (if any) or subsequently.
The SCT judge retains the discretion to allow parties to be legally represented where such representation is considered appropriate.
Commencement of a Small Claim
- A small claim must be started by submitting a claim form to the SCT Registrar using Form P53/01. You may obtain the form from the DIFC Courts’ Registry or at www.difccourts.ae.
- You must provide your complete information on the claim form including your name, address, email address, telephone number and fax number (if available).
- You must provide the Defendant’s complete information for service including the name, address, email address, telephone number and fax number.
- The DIFC Courts’ Registry will serve the claim form on the Defendant.
- Provide a summary of the remedy you are seeking and the reasons for claiming that you are entitled to this remedy. You must include on the claim form a statement of the monetary value of the small claim.
- If the claim is employment-related, you should attach a photocopy of your contract of employment and/or offer letter.
- After the Defendant has filed and served a defence and/or after the time for filing such a statement has passed, the SCT Registrar will fix a time for the parties to attend before an SCT Judge for consultation.
- The primary purpose of the consultation will be to allow the parties to attempt to resolve their dispute.
- The SCT Registrar will generally fix the consultation within 7 days after the time for filing a defence has expired.
- When filing the claim form, the Claimant should inform the SCT Registrar of any dates within that period on which he is unable to attend the consultation and his reasons for being unable to attend.
- If any party is unable to attend the consultation on the date fixed, he must notify the SCT and the other party as soon as possible and give his reasons for being unable to attend.
- It is essential that each party attends the consultation in person. Parties should not be represented by a lawyer. A party may be represented by a non-lawyer where it appears to the SCT Registrar that it is reasonably necessary. The SCT judge retains the discretion to allow parties to be legally represented where such representation is considered appropriate.
- Any of its full-time officers or employees may represent a corporate party at the consultation. The representative must provide a letter of authorisation at the start of the consultation.
- All persons who are going to appear at the consultation must bring along their identification card and/or passport.
- You should file with the claim form any documents on which you wish to rely on at the consultation.
- Unless the SCT Judge orders otherwise, the consultation shall take place in private.
- During the consultation process, the Claimant may withdraw his claim by submitting a formal request to the SCT Registrar.
- If the small claim is not settled at the consultation, unless the SCT Judge fixes a further consultation, the SCT Judge will give directions for the preparation of a small claim for trial.
- Unless the parties agree otherwise, the hearing of the claim will not be conducted by the same SCT Judge who conducted the consultation.
Re-allocation to the DIFC Courts’ Court of First Instance
- Where appropriate, the SCT Judge may order that the small claim be transferred to the Court of First Instance (‘CFI’).
- Refer to RDC Part 53.35 for specific instances when the small claim may be re-allocated.
- RDC Part 44 applies to small claims
- An appellant’s notice in small claims must be filed on Form P53/02. You may obtain the form from the DIFC Courts’ Registry or at www.difccourts.ae.