Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

DIFC Courts fund established to aid needy litigants

The DIFC Courts are setting up a pro bono fund to help cash-strapped litigants press their cases.

The court system in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has set up a fund to help cash-strapped litigants press their cases.

The fund follows the establishment two years ago of a pro bono programme under which 20 local and international law firms agreed to represent people who could not afford lawyers. The fund is to be filled with legal costs awarded in successful pro bono cases.

"The DIFC Courts were founded with the vision of being as accessible as possible to the community," said Michael Hwang, the chief justice of the DIFC Courts. The fund would "help improve access to justice for people that may not have had the resources to pursue a case otherwise", he said.

The DIFC Courts pro bono programme has been used three times so far - once for a legal consultation and twice for full representation before the courts.

In deciding whether to approve pro bono representation, the courts consider the nature of the case and the financial need of the litigant.

The programme was "vital to supporting access to justice", said Ghada Audi, the manager of judicial support and communications at the courts.

The pro bono fund is currently empty, but court officials say money that builds up in it could be used to support legal research and a clinic where a lawyer would be available for consultations with members of the DIFC community at set hours.

The number of cases in the DIFC's courts has ballooned after the financial crisis, thrusting the relatively young common law-based system into the spotlight.

Last year, 27 cases came before the court of first instance and 81 were filed with the small-claims tribunal. There were two appeals, 27 enforcement cases and two arbitration cases.

The DIFC Courts are also handling cases brought against Dubai World, the government-owned conglomerate that completed a US$24.9 billion (Dh91.4bn) debt restructuring this year. The Dubai World Tribunal has held more than 40 new cases this year alone.

The DIFC Courts pro bono programme is the only one in the Gulf. Many law firms have signed up for it, including local heavyweights such as Hadef & Partners and Al Tamimi, and international firms such as DLA Piper, Norton Rose and Dewey & LeBoeuf.

 

afitch@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Supporters of unseen India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate and Chief Minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, wave as he arrives to file his election nomination papers in Varanasi. Sanjay Kanojia / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world April 24

The National View's photo editors pick the best of the day from around the world

 Sarah Geronimo. Courtesy: FLASH Entertainment

Sarah Geronimo brings her star power to Abu Dhabi this weekend

Ahead of her Abu Dhabi concert on Thursday night, we take a look at the Filipina singer Sarah Geronimo’s extraordinary career.

 Visitors look at the medieval inventor Al Jazari’s water-powered Elephant Clock. The clock is on show at the 1001 Inventions exhibition at Sharjah Expo Centre. Photos Antonie Robertson / The National

1001 Inventions: in praise of Islam’s gifts to the world

Down the centuries, from camera obscura to designing a sail that allowed early seafarers to tack into the wind, Muslim scientists have made many significant contributions to science. Rym Ghazal and Asmaa Al Hameli visit an exhibition in Sharjah that celebrates those contributions

 Mumbai Indians fans cheer they team on the opening match between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014 at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Earn cash back with the IPL cricket in the UAE

Dunia finance promotion allows cricket lovers to earn up to 6 per cent unlimited cash back on any spending they make on a day when an IPL match is played in the UAE.

 Iranian workers at the Iran Khodro auto plant in Tehran on March 18. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

Iran’s love of cars survives devastating sanctions

Sanctions and energy subsidy reductions might have hurt the Iranian automotive industry. But car makers at one factory are still optimistic, Yeganeh Salehi reports from Tehran

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

Disney confirms that Star Wars: Episode 7 is filming in Abu Dhabi desert

Disney yesterday confirmed that the filming of Star Wars: Episode 7 is taking place in the desert in Abu Dhabi.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National