DIFC Courts sees 96% surge in cases in the first half of 2020

The total value of cases including arbitration-related cases amounted to Dh2.2bn during the period

The volume of cases in the main Court of First Instance at DIFC Courts surged 96 per cent in the first half of 2020.. Sarah Dea / The National
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts recorded a 96 per cent surge in cases at its main Court of First Instance during the first six months of 2020, as the free zone judiciary continued to operate remotely to deliver judgments amid the Covid-19 movement restrictions.

The total number of cases in the six months to June 30 at the main Court of First Instance (CFI) reached 53, while the total value of cases, including arbitration-related cases, amounted to Dh2.2 billion during the period, the DIFC Courts said in a statement on Monday.

“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,” Omar Al Muhairi, deputy chief justice at DIFC Courts, said.

Cases brought before the CFI covered a range of sectors including banking and finance, construction, real estate and manufacturing. These involved disputes related to breach of contract, outstanding payments, insolvency, wills & probate and employment. There was also a significant increase in the number of ‘opt-in’ cases for the first six months of 2020, with over 70 per cent of claims in the CFI and arbitration-related cases originating from parties choosing to use the DIFC Courts to resolve their disputes.

The DIFC Courts also saw a 15 per cent jump in the number of claims enforced during the period with the value of enforcements reaching Dh192.4 million.

The operational capacity of the region’s first Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) was strong, with 213 claims filed and overall claim value totalling Dh24m, the DIFC Courts said.

Despite Covid-19 restrictions, the court issued over 500 digital orders and judgements in the first six months of this year.

“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,” Amna Al Owais, chief registrar of DIFC Courts, said.

The DIFC Courts also set up an Arbitration Division in February, mandated to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of arbitration-related cases.