Dubai’s new family court to deal with juvenile crime, divorce and custody disputes

The court - to be opened in Al Gharhoud - will deal with juvenile offences, divorces and custody disputes

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DUBAI // Dubai Courts will open a family court by the end of this year to deal with juvenile crimes, divorces and custody disputes.

The new court was among a series of initiatives, including a labour court, announced by its director general Tarish Al Mansoori.

Mr Al Mansoori was releasing the 2013 Annual Report of the Dubai Courts and Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, which showed a 4 per cent rise in the number of cases handled in the emirate’s criminal courtrooms last year.

He said the rise in case numbers was caused by the emirate’s population boom.

“It’s not an alarming percentage. It can be attributed to the increasing number of residents and business projects in Dubai,” Mr Al Mansoori said.

The family court is to be opened in Al Gharhoud.

“We are also looking into a suggestion to build up a separate labour court,” said Mr Al Mansoori, explaining that a judge would be stationed at the Ministry of Labour to rule on cases.

Another change will see notary public services provided at the offices of several law firms.

“We received some names for candidates to carry out the work, which will help reduce numbers of people coming to court for that purpose,” he said.

And lawyers at the DIFC would be given English and Arabic courses to help them improve their language skills and better understand the processes at the centre.

The report showed Dubai’s criminal courts dealt with 103,847 cases last year, compared with 100,342 in 2012.

They took an average of 175 days to rule on the cases, compared with 177 days the previous year.

Civil courts ruled in cases within 127 days compared with 152 days in 2012.

The report said the adjudication rate within all judicial departments reached 98 per cent last year, from 91 per cent the year before.

It also praised the cooperation between the Dubai Courts and the DIFC Courts last year. The two organised the International Association for Court Administration conference, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

“We are always joining hands with other Dubai courts to promote the image of Dubai,” said Michael Hwang, chief justice of the DIFC Courts.

The report said that in September last year, the tribunal devoted to Dubai World disputes was told the developer Limitless and its subsidiaries were no longer part of the group.

This, the report said, reduced the number of proceedings for the tribunal and only five new cases were filed last year.

The tribunal resolved 27 cases last year, with a total claim value of US$450 million (Dh1.65 billion) – a 54 per cent rise in value of claims in 2012.

Mr Hwang said the caseload in the DIFC Courts increasingly involved international companies.

“This is a clear signal that international businesses with interests in the Middle East region consider the DIFC Courts to be their first choice for dispute resolution,” he said.

Mr Hwang said enhanced video conference technology allowed the court to hear testimony from parties that could not attend hearings.

He said the DIFC Courts had resolved 90 per cent of all Small Claims Tribunal cases within four weeks.