In an effort to protect the health and wellbeing of the Judges, Registry Team and Court Users, DIFC Courts in a communication sent on Tuesday March 17, 2020 to all Registered Practitioners and Court Users announced that the DIFC Courts and its Registry will operate completely on a remote basis. The decision applies to all Court levels and Services within the DIFC Courts and Registry.

The doors of the DIFC Courts, Registry offices, Courts' library and other rooms will be physically closed from 17 March 2020 until 26 April 2020 or pending further notice.

Teleconference, videoconference and online services

The announcement advised that all hearings conducted from 17 March 2020 will be via teleconference and hearing dial-in arrangements will be communicated by the Court's Registry. All hearings conducted for Small Claims Tribunal cases will be either through video-conference (for overseas litigants) or teleconference (for those situated in the UAE).

The announcement urged Practitioners to take advantage of the online services provided by the Registry including lodging and filing and documents, payments of Court fees and other related Services.

Are there any exceptions?

In a strict exception to the Decision, the Registry announced that for scheduled hearings that have been granted permission to be conducted onsite by the judge, access will be limited only to counsel and the instructing solicitor. Observers and solicitors not active on the case will not be allowed entry.

The announcement also advised that if permission was given to attend Court or lodge bundles in hardcopy, a print of the permission email will need to be shown to security on entrance.

The Pro Bono Clinics and Probate appointments will be temporarily suspended until 26 April 2020 or pending further notice.

Emergency requests

The Registry also provided several contact numbers and emails Practitioners and Court Users can contact for any emergency request or for any help and assistance on how to use the online services.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.