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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

DIFC Courts’ caseload up 64% in H1 as jurisdiction matures

Total value of enforcement claims was Dh2.1bn during the period

DIFC Courts, the judiciary of Dubai's financial free zone, reported a rise in number and value of cases in the first half of 2018. Sarah Dea/ The National
DIFC Courts, the judiciary of Dubai's financial free zone, reported a rise in number and value of cases in the first half of 2018. Sarah Dea/ The National

Dubai International Financial Centre Courts increased its caseload by 64 per cent year-on-year in the first half of the year, signalling rising confidence in the judicial system of the emirate’s financial free zone.

The value of claims in the first six months of 2018 represents a 181 per cent rise from the year-earlier period, DIFC Courts said in a statement on Monday, without providing a total figure.

“Our performance so far this year is testament to the maturity of DIFC Courts which, after over a decade of operations, continues to offer businesses access to a robust and efficient suite of dispute resolution services,” said Amna Al Owais, chief executive and registrar of DIFC Courts.

The first half of 2018 saw increases in both the volume and value of cases of almost every type, including enforcement claims, the main Court of First Instance claims, and Small Claims Tribunal cases – “a reflection of DIFC Courts being a jurisdiction of choice in the Middle East region and beyond”, she added.

The number of enforcement cases increased by 123 per cent to 87 cases from the year-earlier period, “indicating the confidence businesses have in the DIFC Courts to collect on money judgments", it said.

The volume of CFI cases, including arbitration cases, rose by 29 per cent compared to the same period of 2017, and their value stood at Dh2.2bn in the period, DIFC Courts said, without providing a comparative figure for the first half of last year.

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Meanwhile, the Small Claims Tribunal, which was established in 2007 to handle cases under Dh1 million, also recorded a strong performance in the first six months of the year.

Its caseload rose by 60 per cent year-on-year to 240 claims, driven by greater awareness of the system and innovative use of technology, including the region’s first “Smart SCT” virtual court.

The total value of SCT claims increased by 120 per cent in the first half of 2018 to Dh30.6m.

DIFC Courts is expanding its services as part of efforts to cement the zone's legal leadership in the region. Last month, it announced plans to launch a taskforce with the Smart Dubai government subsidiary to explore potential uses of blockchain in cross-border disputes and create the world’s first “Court of the Blockchain”.

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