DIFC Courts case load up 25% as partnerships grow

The freezone judiciary hears 463 cases across all divisions in the first half of 2019

DIFC Courts reported a 25 per cent increase in the number of cases handled during the first half of 2019. Courtesy DIFC Courts
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The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Courts saw a 25 per cent increase in cases handled in the first six months of 2019, as the freezone judiciary forges new partnerships with local and international courts.

The total number of cases handled in the six months to June 30 across all of its divisions reached 463, DIFC Courts said in a statement on Sunday. The Small Claims Tribunal saw its case load increase 34 per cent to 321, with the total value of claims at Dh37.5 million. The cases take an average of 4-6 weeks to resolve once they have been serviced.

“The first half of 2019 saw the DIFC Courts serve the biggest multinationals, the smallest start-ups, and individuals, seeking justice with equal consideration,” said Amna Al Owais, chief registrar at DIFC Courts.

“Businesses and individuals in Dubai are free to choose between litigation and arbitration; common or civil law; English or Arabic language - whichever system best suits their specific needs.”

The total caseload of enforcement claims filed during the first half witnessed a 16 per cent increase to 101 with the value reaching Dh288.6 m.

The main Court of First Instance (CFI), including arbitration-related cases and counter claims, continued to provide business certainty, with the total value of cases recorded at Dh2 billion, according to the statement. This was lower than the Dh2.2 billion announced for the same period last year.

The first six months of 2019  also witnessed a total of 549 wills registered at the DIFC Courts, bringing the total since the inception of this ancillary service to over 5,160.

In July, the DIFC Courts announced changes to the rules of wills registrations, which will now accommodate all resident and investor assets across the emirates, as well as assets held outside the UAE.

“Our performance so far this year speaks to the maturity of the DIFC Courts, our position as a valued public service, and cements our status as a regional leader in the field of commercial justice,” said Ms Al Owais.