Dubai’s DIFC Courts will now be able to handle labour cases

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed issues new law expanding the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts

The jurisdiction of the English-language Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (DIFC Courts) has been expanded under a new law issued by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Wednesday.

Under Law No. (5) of 2017, along with civil and commercial claims, DIFC Courts can now handle labour claims and actions arising out of labour contracts signed between DIFC companies and their employees.

The new law amends the provisions of Article No. (5) of Law No. (12) of 2004 which includes the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal, the litigation procedures and the authorities of the execution judge.

According to a statement, the Court of First Instance will have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine the civil, commercial and labour claims and actions in the following cases-

* If the DIFC or any DIFC body, DIFC establishment or licensed DIFC establishment is a party

* If it arises out of or relates to a contract or promised contract, whether partly or wholly concluded, finalised or performed within DIFC, or performed or is supposed to be performed within DIFC pursuant to express or implied terms stipulated in the contract

* If it arises out of or relates to any incident or transaction, which has been wholly or partly performed within DIFC and is related to DIFC activities; or otherwise appeals against decisions or procedures made by DIFC bodies where DIFC Laws and DIFC Regulations permit such appeals and claim or action over which the courts have jurisdiction

* If the parties agree in writing to submit to the jurisdiction of another court over the claim or action but such court dismisses such claim or action for lack of jurisdiction

The Court of First Instance can also handle civil or commercial claims or actions where the parties agree in writing to file such claim or action with it before or after the dispute arises, provided that such agreement is made pursuant to specific, clear and express provisions, the statement said.

However, the court is not allowed to hear or determine any civil, commercial and labour claim or action in respect of which a final judgment is rendered by another court.

Meanwhile the Court of Appeal shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals filed against judgments and decisions made by the Court of First Instance if an application is submitted by any DIFC body or establishment.

The court can also handle claims that request interpretation by the chief justice of the Courts of any article of the DIFC Laws and DIFC Regulations.

The interpretation shall have the same authority as the interpreted legislation.

Judgments rendered by the Court of Appeal shall be final and conclusive, and shall not be subject to appeal, the statement said.

The new law “boosts DIFC’s position as a global hub” and will help to facilitate litigation procedures for employees based in the centre, it said.

It is effective from the date of issuance and will be published in the official gazette.

Also read: DIFC Courts judgments to be enforced in RAK