ADGM Courts to launch blockchain-based system to globally enforce judgments

The global first will digitally certify judgments and allow their availability and enforcement anywhere in the world

Linda Fitz-Alan, chief executive of ADGM Courts, during her interview with The National at Abu Dhabi Finance Week on Tuesday. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts, the judiciary of the UAE capital’s financial free zone, will launch a new blockchain-based system that will digitally certify judgments and allow their availability and enforcement anywhere in the world.

The new system, the first for any court in the world, will go online in the first quarter of 2023 and will help parties involved in legal cases save time, effort and costs, Linda Fitz-Alan, chief executive of ADGM Courts, told The National in an interview at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Finance Week on Tuesday.

Businesses, especially in international trade and commerce, are expected to “overwhelmingly” welcome the development, she said.

They stand to benefit from the instant enforceability of commercial judgments, especially within the “important subset” of commercial disputes.

“This is another game-changer for justice. Millions of commercial judgments are enforced across the world every year. If they’re coming through for courts that are on blockchain, the enforcing court will go to the blockchain or a website of the court to instantly pick up that judgment,” Ms Fitz-Alan said.

“They will not need to go back to that enforcing jurisdiction to obtain the documents and wait for it to be issued.”

The initiative will “enormously” contribute to the justice system's road to sustainability, she said.

“It will all be digitised. Courts will be connected across the world in what we believe will inevitably result from this.”

The initiative from ADGM Courts capitalises on the immutability of blockchain technology, providing a high certainty of authenticity.

Blockchain is the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies and decentralised finance, which is generally considered to be a safer way to conduct transactions and one that could end up replacing middlemen, such as brokers and banks, in the financial system.

In ADGM Courts' new system, lawyers may go directly to jurisdictions in which they need to obtain a judgment, be it through a website or mobile application, Ms Fitz-Alan said.

The solution will result in substantial time and cost savings for parties, who will no longer need to apply and pay for a certified copy of a judgment or order to start the enforcement process in the foreign jurisdiction.

The new system from ADGM Courts is the start of more moves it will make to integrate blockchain into its services, Ms Fitz-Alan said.

“We are now going to massively expand the digitalisation we’ve designed,” she said.

The UAE has taken several steps to integrate blockchain into the economy, government and society as part of efforts to develop the future economy.

Last week, Abu Dhabi launched the ADGM-backed Middle East, Africa and Asia Crypto and Blockchain Association to hasten the development of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the region.

Updated: November 15, 2022, 12:43 PM