Dubai’s financial court sees AED5.56 billion in 2015 case value
The court in Dubai’s financial free zone saw a record rise in value of claims in cases it handled in 2015, partly aided by a dramatic increase in arbitration and cases heard by small claims tribunal (SCT), it said on Monday (February 29).
The total value of claims stood at AED5.56 billion, which exceeds the combined value of cases handled in 2012, 2013 and 2014 at DFIC Courts.
The Court of First Instance (CFI), which operates on common English law, handled cases valued at AED4.46bn, up from AED1.55bn in 2014. The amount also includes the value of arbitration-related cases and counter-claims.
The average CFI case value in 2015, excluding arbitration-related cases and counter-claims, was AED89 million, compared with AED51.1m in the preceding year, while almost all were international disputes.
However, the number of cases filed to CFI fell to 25 from 28 a year earlier, while arbitration-related cases rose to 12 from six in 2014.
The Small Claims Tribunal saw the number of cases going up to 216 in 2015 from 116 in 2014 thanks to the court’s decision to handle disputes valued up to AED500,000. The court says the move came as a blessing for the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector.
Notably, the rate of settlement of cases stood as high as 92 per cent. It had introduced a new fee structure incentivising parties to settle early by rebating court fees and offering business visit visas for overseas lawyers.
Mark Beer, DIFC Courts CEO & Registrar, said the court was aiming to maintain the rate through 2021 as it intends to become the world’s leading commercial court.
In its 2016-2021 strategic plan, which was released to media on Monday, the court said that it would be focusing on innovation and that it would bring in experienced international judges who are most able to deal with the complex transnational disputes.
The court is also aiming to improve service standards and to bolster connectivity and collaboration by signing formal and informal agreements with other jurisdictions.
“The performance of the DIFC Courts in 2015 serves as an important reminder that Dubai is a place where a contract will be honoured [and] a dispute settled fairly, quickly and efficiently, all essential ingredients for creating a pro-business environment,” said Amna AlOwais, Deputy CEO and Deputy Registrar of the DIFC Courts.
“We look forward to building on these achievements over the next five years to help make the UAE one of the best places in the world to do business and, in doing so, [make] the DIFC Courts one of the world’s leadings commercial courts.”