The first six months of 2015 has seen a dramatic rise in the value of claims filed at DIFC Courts, reflecting the growing confidence placed in DIFC and Dubai as a global and regional centre of legal excellence.
The total value of claims filed in the DIFC’s Court of First Instance (including Arbitration related cases and counter claims) from January to June 2015 rose to AED2.27bn, a 447% increase compared with the same period in 2014. In addition, the average value per claim in the Court of First Instance has increased 490% to AED106.4m.
The surge in cases can be attributed to a number of enhancements made by the DIFC Courts to their services as well as their increasing international connectivity. In 2015 the DIFC Courts signed memoranda with the Supreme Court of Singapore and the US Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, adding to memoranda signed with courts in the UK, Kenya and Australia. A dedicated Enforcement Department with responsibility for handling the enforcement of all DIFC Courts’ decisions locally and internationally has also enhanced the attractiveness of the DIFC as a secure environment to conduct business.
Mark Beer, OBE, Chief Executive and Registrar of the DIFC Courts, said: “We are clearly seeing the results of our efforts to make DIFC Courts one of the world’s leading commercial courts and the preeminent centre for English language dispute resolution in the Middle East. The value of claims filed so far this year exceeds the total value of claims filed in the whole of 2014, which itself was almost double the value of claims filed in 2013. This is a direct consequence of the initiatives we have put in place to enhance each court user’s experience and promote greater efficiency, accessibility and transparency. In accordance with the UAE Vision for 2021 we are proud to be playing our part in making the UAE one of the best and most advanced places in the world to do business. ”
The DIFC Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal (SCT), the first of its kind in the region, also experienced a huge increase in workload in the first six months of the year, with a 134% rise in the number of cases filed. The value of claims filed in the SCT has also risen by 162% to AED4.6million.
Commenting on the role of the SCT, Amna Al Owais, a judge of the SCT as well as the Deputy Chief Executive and Deputy Registrar of the DIFC Courts said: “The SCT was set up to enable access to justice in a swift and efficient manner. The SCT operates with a community approach that promotes settlement, with 90% of SCT cases resolved in less than four weeks. Cases in the SCT are resolved in an expeditious, cost-efficient manner without the need for lawyers.
“The SCT therefore promotes greater confidence, especially for the country’s SME businesses, the engine room of the UAE economy. This should inevitably translate to more investment, more growth and more jobs for local people.”
The award winning DIFC Courts Pro Bono Programme also continued to serve the community in 2015 with 40 volunteer pro bono law firms and 91 volunteer in-house counsels giving their time to help a wide range of litigants within the DIFC community that otherwise would not have access to legal advice due to their financial situation.