Dubai’s DIFC Courts sees value of claims rise sharply in 2018

The total volume of cases increased by 29 per cent year-on-year to 670 across all divisions

The value of claims at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts rose by “422 per cent” in 2018 led by growth in the number of cases, it was announced on Wednesday.

The total volume of cases increased by 29 per cent year-on-year to 670 across all divisions, a statement said.

One of the main drivers was the main Court of First Instance (CFI) where the number of cases handed increased by 50 per cent year-on-year.

The total value of cases – including arbitration-related ones – amounted to Dhs10.3bn last year, up from Dhs400m in 2017, primarily driven by two high profile transnational disputes, the Courts said.

Cases brought before the CFI covered a range of sectors including banking and finance, construction, real estate and manufacturing, involving disputes related to breach of contract, outstanding payments, wills and probate, and employment.

There was also a noticeable increase in the number of opt-in cases in 2018, with over 60 per cent of claims in the CFI originating from parties electing to use the DIFC Courts to resolve their disputes.

The overall number of enforcement cases grew to 185 in 2018 from 92 cases in 2017.

Meanwhile the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) also saw its case load increase by 10 per cent to 399 claims in 2018 – up from 363 cases in 2017.

The growth was driven primarily by breach of contract cases which represented 43 per cent of all SCT cases in 2018, followed by labour and employment (27 per cent).

The total value of claims increased by 47 per cent in 2018 to reach Dhs53.3m from Dhs36.2m in 2017.

In February last year, the DIFC Courts became the first in the Middle East to introduce a new e-bundling service to make court hearings and trials ‘paperless’. The updated Court Management System (CMS) enables judges, lawyers and courts staff to upload and access case information in various formats, across multiple locations and share with numerous users.

DIFC Courts also signed a partnership with Smart Dubai in 2018, to set up a taskforce to create the world’s first court of the blockchain. The taskforce will initially explore how to aid verification of court judgments for cross-border enforcement.

Read: DIFC Courts partners with Smart Dubai for world’s first blockchain court