DIFC Courts and Smart Dubai launch joint taskforce for world’s first Court of the BlockchainPress Release30 Jul 2018
- Preliminary work to explore activation of cross-border enforcement of legal judgments through the blockchain
- Future research to focus on building dispute resolution mechanisms into the blockchain
- Partnership to reinforce the Dubai Blockchain Strategy 2020
Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 30 July 2018: The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts have partnered with Smart Dubai to create the world’s first Court of the Blockchain. Building on existing dispute resolution services, the alliance will initially explore how to aid verification of court judgments for cross-border enforcement.
The partnership is the first step in creating a blockchain-powered future for the judiciary which will have far-reaching benefits, including streamlining the judicial process, removing document duplications, and driving greater efficiencies across the entire legal ecosystem.
Future research will combine expertise and resources to investigate handling disputes arising out of private and public blockchains, with regulation and contractual terms encoded within the smart contract. Currently, blockchain-based smart contract transactions are irrevocable and there is no technical means to unwind a transaction. The joint taskforce will model smart contracts across the blockchain that incorporate logic and allow for various forms of exceptions and conditions for seamless and more efficient dispute resolution.
Amna Al Owais, Chief Executive & Registrar, DIFC Courts, said: “This taskforce is in line with our guiding principle to deliver courts as a service, powered by technology and extended through cooperation agreements and alliances. By harnessing blockchain technology, Dubai will be firmly positioned at the forefront of legaltech and judicial innovation, setting the standards for countries and judiciaries to follow.”
Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office (SDO), said: “Led by the ambitious vision of our leadership, Smart Dubai has set out to transform the emirate into a fully-fledged smart city where all services are digitised. The emirate has become a global trailblazer in embracing advanced technologies and steering them towards the safety, comfort and happiness of our city’s residents and visitors. One of the most notable of these innovations is Blockchain, where the Dubai Blockchain Strategy seeks to run 100% of applicable government transactions on Blockchain by 2020.”
“An invention of this calibre and potential requires an equally disruptive set of rules and an empowered institution to uphold them. This is where our partnership with DIFC Courts comes in, allowing us to work together and create the world’s first disruptive court, helping to truly unlock the power of blockchain technology,” Dr Aisha added.
In 2017 the DIFC Courts, in partnership with Dubai Future Foundation, launched the Courts of the Future Forum, tasked with designing guidelines and prototyping a commercial court that can operate anywhere worldwide. In 2018, the Forum evolved its mandate to extend this initiative to other global commercial courts, and to engage specialist technology sector and private sector participation, creating vertical working groups to research areas such as blockchain.
About the DIFC Courts
The UAE’s DIFC Courts administer a unique English-language common law system – offering swift, independent justice to settle local and international commercial or civil disputes. The Courts, based in Dubai, provide certainty through transparent, enforceable judgments from internationally-recognised judges, who adhere to the highest global legal standards. The DIFC Courts are independent from, but complementary to, the UAE’s Arabic-language civil law system – offering a choice that strengthens both processes while ensuring public access to world-class justice.
In October 2011, a decree of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, opened the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction to businesses from all across the GCC region and beyond to provide the international business community with access to one of the most advanced commercial courts in the world.
The DIFC Courts were established under laws enacted by the late HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in September 2004. The laws establishing the DIFC Courts are designed to ensure that the DIFC Courts provide the certainty, flexibility and efficiency expected by Court users. Nearly 1,180 cases have been resolved through the DIFC Courts since 2008, while over 90% of Small Claims Tribunal cases are concluded within three weeks. The Courts’ community-focused approach encourages early settlement, while their successful track record supports Dubai’s growing status as an international business hub.
In line with HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, the DIFC Courts serve to develop the UAE national workforce and enhance the competitiveness of Emirati advocates. The DIFC Courts are spearheading training programmes predominantly aimed at local Emirati lawyers, which offer knowledge of, and qualifications in, the English-language common law system.