DIFC Courts in Dubai

Benedykt Fiutowski        05 December 2018        Komentarze (0)

Dubai is a place where a lot of nations, cultures and religions mix and interfere with each other. The reason for this lies in its role in the global trade system. It must be clearly stated that it was neither oil nor gas, but the consistent efforts of Emirate’s authorities over the last few years that made Dubai an internationally recognized financial and commercial centre.

One of the most important and necessary components of any economy’s development is a stable and foreseeable legal system. Therefore, in 2004, a special economic zone called Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) was established. It was created to ensure the development of companies competing on the local market.

DIFC has its own legal system, distinct from the rest of Emirate’s regulation (i.e. different from Shari’ah), as well as its own judicial system (DIFC Courts). It governs civil and commercial disputes nationally, regionally and worldwide. The Judicial system is clear and comprehensible for any European lawyer. It is a three-tier court system, which consists Court of First Instance and Appeal Court. In addition, there is a separate Small Claims Tribunal. It hears claims where the amount of the claim or the value of the subject matter of the claim does not exceed USD 130.000, or, when both parties agree in writing that it will be heard by the Small Claims Tribunal, amounting up to USD 270.000. Filling fees amount to 5% of the value of the claim within a maximum of 130 USD. This is very similar to Polish Courts, where the filling fees are also assessed at 5% of the value of the claim within a maximum of 100.00 PLN (27.00 USD). The efficiency of the Small Claims Tribunal reflects in the fact that 75% of cases is settled within 4 weeks.

The DIFIC Courts bench consists of 10 judges (rules in composition of at least 3 judges), 7 of who are recognized lawyers of worldwide renown, from London to Singapore, whereas 3 are local judges with knowledge of Shari’ah law, with a practice in courts of other legal systems such as UK or Australia.

Dubai International Financial Centre & Courts

During the Eurojuris Congress in Dubai October 2018, along with lawyers from Europe, Asia and USA, I attended a meeting at DIFIC and had an opportunity to get an insight at the legal system of DIFIC as well as at DIFIC courtrooms and offices.

One thing that I saw in DIFIC that surprised me the most was the feedback panel at the exit of the court, similar to the ones placed at the airports, where by pressing a smiley button you can assess the quality of service provided by the Court.

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