DIFC Courts

12 Questions
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  • A: The claimant is first required to file its claim on the DIFC Courts website.  After the defendant acknowledges service, the SCT Registry will schedule a consultation with both parties, with the aim of reaching an amicable settlement.  If the parties do not settle the dispute, the case will progress to a hearing before an SCT judge, who will then rule on the matter.  Throughout the proceedings, parties are given time to make submissions and provide evidence in favor of their respective positions.

  • A: SCT judgments are not final and binding by default; there is an appeal process which may grant a party the right to appeal the judgment.  If the SCT judgment is not successfully appealed, it becomes final and binding.

  • A: Regardless of their location, any party can opt-in to the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction by including the following language in the relevant commercial contract:  Any dispute, difference, controversy or claim arising out of or in connection with this contract, including (but not limited to) any question regarding its existence, validity, interpretation, performance, discharge and applicable remedies, shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre (“the DIFC Courts”).”  If a party specifically wishes for the SCT to hear the claim, it is best to also mention this in the contract.

  • A: The SCT is part of the DIFC Courts, which is its own common law jurisdiction.  The language of the SCT proceedings, as well as the corresponding documentation, is English.  SCT hearings are meant to be conducted by the parties themselves, hence their informality.

  • A: No; SCT proceedings are, for the time being, conducted entirely online.

  • A: The SCT typically awards the claimant’s filing fees, if the claim is successful.  Generally, other expenses are not recoverable.

  • A: For employment claims, the filing fee is 2% of the claim value.  For all other claims, the filing fee is 5% of the claim value.  The minimum filing fee is USD 100.00.

  • A: SCT proceedings are held in private.  SCT judgments are publicly available, though the names of the parties are changed to maintain their privacy.

  • A: SCT cases typically last around two months, from the date of filing up until the judgement is issued.

  • A: No, in fact, parties within the SCT are supposed to represent themselves.  There are exceptions however, as the SCT may allow parties to be represented by legal counsel.