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DIFC Courts records 96% increase in main court cases during H1 2020

DIFC Courts records 96% increase in main court cases during H1 2020

The total value of enforcement claims filed amounted to Dhs192.4m for the first half of 2020

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has registered a 96 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of main court cases for H1 2020.

The total value of cases in the same period, including arbitration-related cases, amounted to Dhs2.2bn, with an average case value of Dhs88.5m.

Cases brought before the main Court of First Instance (CFI) covered a range of sectors including banking and finance, construction, real estate and manufacturing, and involved disputes related to breach of contract, outstanding payments, insolvency, Wills & Probate, and employment.

An increase in the number of ‘opt-in’ cases during the first six months of 2020 was also registered, with over 70 per cent of claims in the CFI and arbitration-related cases originating from parties ‘electing’ to use the DIFC Courts to resolve their disputes.

Meanwhile, the total value of enforcement claims filed amounted to Dhs192.4m for the first half of 2020, marking an increase of 15 per cent compared to the year-earlier period.

The operational capacity of the region’s first Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) was strong during H1 2020, with 213 claims filed and overall claim value totaling Dhs24m.

Omar Al Muhairi, deputy chief justice, DIFC Courts, said: “Choice is an extremely important factor for individuals and businesses when choosing a jurisdiction for the resolution of their dispute. For over a decade the DIFC Courts has demonstrated an ability to provide this choice for businesses, while guaranteeing the standard of service that leading international commercial courts are renowned for. At a time when the UAE is now the largest recipient of foreign investment in the Middle East, confidence continues to grow in our legal framework, contributing to the overall value proposition of the DIFC, Dubai and the UAE, for investors and the international business community.”

The DIFC Courts leveraged its digital mediums to stay connected with court users during Covid-19 restrictions, issuing over 500 digital orders and judgments during H1 2020.

Amna Al Owais, chief registrar, DIFC Courts, said: “Early technology adoptions are now the bedrock that fortunately enables the DIFC Courts to maintain all core services during this difficult period. By increasing utilisation of our digital infrastructure, such as existing videoconferencing and teleconferencing facilities for applications and hearings, we are enabling court users and the public to access extensive eServices remotely.”

The DIFC’s technologies introduced in the recent past include the region’s first e-registry in 2009, digitally integrated courtroom and e-Court Management System (CMS) in 2017, as well as the region’s first ‘paperless’ e-bundling solution in 2018.

In February 2020, the DIFC Courts established its Arbitration Division, to handle the increase in number of arbitration-related cases, which leverages judicial and registry oversight and case management expertise, and has led to increased efficiency of the process.

During Covid-19 the DIFC Courts also introduced fresh digital systems for the registration of Wills. With individuals and businesses across the UAE currently operating remotely, the new video conferencing facility can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet, or a desktop device, allowing residents and investors to register their Will remotely. This, coupled with an existing Virtual Registry, allows overseas users to create and register a DIFC Courts Will.

Read: Dubai’s DIFC Courts introduces video conferencing to register wills online

Investors and former residents can access it from anywhere in the world and be connected, via video link, to a compliance officer sitting in Dubai.

In recent months the DIFC Courts has also introduced several initiatives to alleviate costs for court users, including the suspension of all fees related to the e-Bundling service.

Applicants who file a claim at the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) may also request a fee suspension.

Also read: Message from the top: Reem Al Shihhe, COO, DIFC Courts

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