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Dubai’s DIFC Courts shuts offices, to hold only remote hearings

Dubai’s DIFC Courts shuts offices, to hold only remote hearings

All employees will operate on a work-from-home remote basis

Dubai’s DIFC Courts have announced that all the cases will now be heard remotely in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

All employees will operate on a work-from-home remote basis and the doors of the DIFC Courts and registry offices will also be physically closed from March 17 until April 26 (or pending further notice), a statement said.

“All hearings for the Court of First Instance conducted from March 17, 2020 will be via teleconference,” it statement said.

For hearings already listed, the registry will be in touch over the next few days with hearing dial-in arrangements.

DIFC Courts also urged practitioners to make use of the e-bundling platform which is available through the CMS.

If practitioners are unable to use the e-bundling platform (and reasons may be requested by the registrar), then they can request for permission to lodge bundles in hardcopy.

“Given that our judges are now located offsite, deadlines for the lodgement of hardcopy bundles will be brought forward to enable delivery to the judge,” the statement said.

Requests for permission have to be sent to the registry no later than eight full days before the hearing.

Those wishing to use the e-bundling platform will be subject to the usual deadlines for submission.

Remote hearings for Small Claims Tribunal (SCT)

All hearings conducted for SCT cases will be either through videoconference (for overseas litigants) or teleconference (for those in the UAE).

The SCT Team will be in touch with litigants “very soon to arrange consultation” and hearing logistics, the statement said.

All the documents must be filed electronically.

Access to the court and registry offices

There will be extremely limited access to the court or registry Offices from March 17.

For those who have a hearing, and the judge has granted permission to have it onsite, access will be limited only to counsel and the instructing solicitor.

Observers and solicitors not active on the case will not be allowed entry.

Access to the DIFC Courts’ library and other rooms will be temporarily closed while the pro bono clinics will also be temporarily suspended until April 26 or pending further notice.

Payment of court fees

Court filing fees may be paid either through wire transfer or online through the payment link you receive in an email upon filing a document on the case management system.

For online payments, the cap is Dhs10,000. For larger amounts, the payment has to be done through wire transfer.

Wills registry

“We are currently working with our IT department to make a virtual registration option available to wills as soon as possible. However, this will require some time to set up on our part and we hope to have this available for appointments before the end of next week,” the statement said.

All registered will draftsmen will be notified once the system is live.

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