DIFC Courts sees 60% rise in cases in first half of 2018

More businesses are opting for Dubai's common law court to resolve disputes
DIFC Courts sees 60% rise in cases in first half of 2018
By Shayan Shakeel
Tue 28 Aug 2018 12:53 PM

A growing number of businesses are choosing to have disputes resolved at DIFC Courts, which relies on English language common law practices in adjudication, the court has announced in half year results revealed today.

DIFC Courts handled 368 cases in the first half of 2018, a 64% rise compared with the number of cases judged during the same period last year. The value of claims saw an increase of 181% during the period.

The number of cases judged by the Court of First Instance (CFI), the primary division at DIFC Courts, grew by 29% over the year, handling cases totalling $600 million (AED2.2 billion) in value.

“The first half of 2018 saw increases in both the volume and value of cases in almost every instance, a reflection of the DIFC Courts being a jurisdiction of choice in the Middle East region and beyond. The increase in enforcement applications also highlights our ability to assist businesses through a robust national, regional and international enforcement network,” said DIFC Courts CEO, Amna al Owais.

Half year results show that the Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal (SCT), the Gulf’s first such adjudicator, continues to grow in stature. Claims in the first half of 2017 numbered 150 at the SCT, growing to 240 in the first half of 2018.

“The SCT is proving a vital mechanism for the region’s SME community to access justice,” added Al Owais. Handling cases up to $136,000 (AED 500,000) in value, and up to $272,000 (AED1m) if parties involved agree to have disputes handled within its jurisdiction, the total value of claims handled by the SCT more than doubled over the period, growing by 120% to $8.3m (AED30.6m) in value.

Over 30% of the cases handled by the SCT involved banking disputes including debt collection; 39% of disputes involved breaches of contracts; employment disputes involved 22% of cases with tenancy claims accounting for 8%.

Adding to its appeal for businesses opting in to its jurisdiction is DIFC Courts is its pace of resolution. Over 88% of cases between January and June 2018 in the higher courts were resolved within six months; 80% of cases handled by the SCT were resolved within four weeks of beginning proceedings.

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