Signing a contract/lease? Read this now

Small print is a two-way street so cover your back too, says Shane McGinley

From Dubai Marina to Downtown, I’ve heard endlessly in the last few months about how rents are increasing and disputes between landlords and tenants are on the rise.

Elsewhere, disputes over customer service standards or employment contracts being broken also seem to be coming my way. Having written about enough legal disputes for more years than I can count on two hands I wouldn’t do anything without getting a cast iron contract and wouldn’t think of ever leaving a store without a receipt in hand.

So imagine if you could put a clause in every contract, agreement and interaction stating that the DIFC Courts would be the place to go to for all disputes.

The DIFC Courts is often thought of as the model for how the region should operate a legal system. It’s in English, easy to navigate and understand, has a brilliantly uncomplicated website and decisions are, in most cases, fast and straightforward.

But I’m not based in the DIFC or Dubai, you say? It doesn’t matter, as new legislation already in place has extended the jurisdiction of the court outside the DIFC, outside Dubai and to any contract that wishes to use it.

Speaking to Mark Beer, the CEO of DIFC Courts, it seems more and more contracts are putting in include a clause that the DIFC will be used in the event of any dispute and both parties agree to this.

Here’s the wording you need to include:

"Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract, including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination, shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre.

“Each party irrevocably submits to the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts and waives any objection it may have to disputes arising out of or in connection with this contract being heard in the Courts of Dubai International Financial Centre on the grounds that it is an inconvenient forum (forum non conveniens).”

So the next flat lease you sign add this onto the end of it and if the landlord tries to break the terms of the lease you can haul him off to the courts.

With the Dubai economy back on its feet and people queuing up to buy apartments across the city, make sure you check the small print and take my advice: make sure the above clause is included and at least you’ll feel safer in the knowledge that, if something goes wrong, resolving it might be a little bit more painless.

And the DIFC Courts is also a global court, so whether you are in Doha, Riyadh, London or even Kabul or Timbuktu, I'd recommend adding the above clause to anything you sign.


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