Dubai Courts, DIFC Courts report increased efficiency, innovation and collaboration in 2013

April 22, 2014 10:12 am

The Dubai Courts and the DIFC Courts today published their 2013 annual reports at a joint ceremony attended by H.E. Taresh Al-Mansouri, Director-General of Dubai Courts, Michael Hwang, Chief Justice of DIFC Courts, and heads of courts, judges and officials. This annual initiative is part of the continuing close partnership between the two judiciaries.

In 2013, 103,847 cases were registered with the Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal, and Court of Cassation of the Dubai Courts, compared to 100,342 in 2012, representing an increase of 4%. The adjudication rate of cases filed and pending within the various judicial departments at Dubai Courts reached 98% in 2013, compared to 91% in 2012.

In 2013, the Court of First Instance of the Dubai Courts achieved an average time of 175 days for passing a ruling from the date of registration, compared to 177 days in 2012, while the Civil Courts attained a positive average of 127 days compared to 152 days in 2012. The case clearance ratio amounted to 117% in 2013, compared to 112% in 2012.

“We are committed to achieving our vision, which is to be pioneer in courts,” stated H.E. Taresh Al-Mansouri. “The rate of achievement with regard to case adjudication witnessed a distinction, thus achieving justice within the society through precision and speed in settlement, adjudication of claims and execution of judgments. The Dubai Courts offers a variety of services to all clients and litigants within the Courts, based on the foundations of security and justice.”

The Dubai Courts 2013 Annual Report incorporates an overview of the Dubai Courts Strategic Plan 2012-2015, and the projects and initiatives executed to achieve strategic goals, as well as information on initiatives and programmes carried out to enhance confidence in the judicial system. Several other topics are included within the report, the most important of which is the launch of the “Pay Through Border Points” initiative at Dubai Airport, which allows individuals to settle their Dubai Civil Court financial commitments; the promotion of Dubai Courts eTransformation, particularly in the area of case and application remote registration; and the launch of the “Smart Court” campaign under the slogan “Your Suggestions Make the Future.”

Additionally, projects and initiatives carried out in order to achieve strategic aims are also showcased in the Report, whereas the total number of initiatives of the public operational plan amounted to 93 initiatives, with a completion rate of 82% over the last year.

The Dubai Courts worked closely with their partners the DIFC Courts in 2013, including jointly organising the annual conference of the International Association of Court Administration (IACA) in Dubai, the first time the event had been held in the Middle East. The two judiciaries also collaborated on the delivery of the “Initiatives for Legal Excellence” of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, President of the DIFC and Chairman of the Dubai Judicial Council, and participated in a number of joint training and exchange programmes.

Michael Hwang, Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts, said: “We congratulate our close partners the Dubai Courts on their performance in 2013. The two judiciaries are proud to be working as one to implement Dubai’s vision for justice.”

DIFC courts record 54% growth in case value in 2013

The DIFC Courts reported a historic seventh consecutive year of growth in their Annual Review for 2013. The total value of cases handled increased by 54% in 2013 in the Court of First Instance, reflecting increasing familiarity and trust in the DIFC Courts. Over 90% of the Small Claims Tribunal cases were resolved within four weeks, highlighting the swift redressal of issues that helps to promote greater ease of doing business.

While the DIFC Courts are primarily designed to support and protect UAE business, their jurisdiction was opened to businesses worldwide in October 2011. Of the 28 cases handled (excluding appeals) in the DIFC Court of First Instance in 2013, nine were international in nature.

Michael Hwang, Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts, said: “The increasingly international nature of our caseload 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, fulfilling the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to establish the city as a global hub for business.”

His Excellency Taresh Eid Al Mansouri, Director General of Dubai Courts, said: “The growing international reputation of the DIFC Courts, increase in case value and speed of redressal are strong indicators of the trust it enjoys among the international business community. We look forward to closer collaboration with the DIFC Courts to further establish Dubai’s global credentials as the first choice for international investors, who are assured of a world-class judicial system.”

Hwang added: “We are thankful to the continued guidance of HH Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed as we focus on strengthening our efficiency and speed. Today, the reputation of DIFC Courts as a safe harbour and business gateway is further highlighted by our cooperation with other courts from major business centres.”

The DIFC Courts continued to strengthen their enforcement regime in 2013 with the signing of two historic memoranda of understanding with the English Commercial Court and the New South Wales Supreme Court in Australia. They also set a new benchmark in 2013 as the world’s first commercial Court to receive the International Standard for Service Excellence certificate. In part, this achievement reflected the significant investments made by the DIFC Courts in smart courtroom technologies, with parties able to contribute to hearings via video conference or have access to their cases online from anywhere in the world

Developing UAE National talent remained a strategic priority for the DIFC Courts in 2013, with their roster of Emirati staff increasing by 11%. The total number of UAE Nationals working at the DIFC Courts stands at approximately 60% of the total workforce. HE Justice Shamlan Al Sawalehi was elevated to Court of First Instance in 2013, joining HE Justice Omar Juma Al Muhairi and HE Justice Ali Shamis Al Madhani as UAE Nationals currently serving on the DIFC Courts’ bench.