In what could be a significant development for Dubai's legal
system, a new Dubai Decree was issued by H.H. The Ruler of Dubai
(Decree 19/2016, the Decree) on 9 June 2016 to provide for the
establishment of a new 'Judicial Tribunal for the Dubai
Courts and the DIFC Courts' to rule on (i) conflicts of
jurisdiction and (ii) conflicts of judgments, between the DIFC
Courts and the Dubai Courts. While there is currently no commentary
or guidance published in relation to the Decree or the Judicial
Tribunal, the Decree signals an important development in regulation
of the relationship between the Courts of Dubai.
To summarise some key provisions of the Decree:
The Judicial Tribunal will be formed
of the following members:
the Head of the Dubai Court of
Cassation (as Chairman)
the Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts,
a Judge of the DIFC Court of Appeal and a Judge of the DIFC Court
of First Instance
the Head of the Dubai Court of
Appeal, the Head of the Dubai Court of First Instance and the
Secretary General of the Judicial Council
Decisions of the Judicial Tribunal
will be carried by a majority of the voting members in attendance
(in the event that the votes are equal, the Chairman's vote
will be decisive).
Applications to the Judicial Tribunal
are noted to have the effect of staying the related underlying
proceedings in both the DIFC Courts and Dubai Courts.
Deliberations of the Judicial
Tribunal will be private and its decisions shall be issued no later
than 30 days following an application.
The Decree also provides that the
Judicial Tribunal will formulate rules and guidance on dealing with
potential conflicts of jurisdiction between the Courts.
There are a number of issues regarding this nascent Tribunal and
its procedures on which the Decree is silent and which will need to
be answered and clarified for litigators and practitioners in due
course. For example, the Decree does not make provision for:
service/notice of an application; the right of a respondent to make
submissions in reply to an application; the language of proceedings
before the Judicial Tribunal; whether the Decree has retrospective
effect; oversight of the Judicial Tribunal and the procedural rules
by which it is governed; and the Judicial Tribunal's
It is hoped that further guidance and rules in relation to
proceedings before the Judicial Tribunal will be published soon to
guide parties and provide certainty. For now, it is a matter of
awareness of this new development while its significance and effect
on underlying proceedings is worked out in practice. We will
continue to monitor these developments and will issue a further
update once there is greater clarity around the Decree and its
Last year we reported that the DIFC had successfully established itself as a so called ‘conduit' jurisdiction for the enforcement of foreign and domestic arbitral awards as well as foreign money judgements.
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