DIFC Courts Shape Future for Global Judges



First-ever intellectual partnership between Dubai’s DIFC Courts and Canada’s McGill University Faculty of Law to train future jurists

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 14 May 2018: Dubai’s DIFC Courts and Canada’s McGill University Faculty of Law today announced the first-ever clerkship programme, a joint initiative in the Middle East to train future judges to operate across multiple legal systems.

Through the intensive programme, budding jurists are cross-trained in civil and common law codes, fostering the core skills needed to address the sort of complex international disputes that are increasingly handled by global courts.

In parallel with its ten-year rise to the position of one of the world’s leading commercial courts, DIFC Courts has emerged as the region’s hub for judicial and legal training excellence, with a special focus on so-called “trans-systemic” law – preparing lawyers and judges to work across the world’s jurisdictions. DIFC Academy of Law, working in tandem with DIFC Courts, already offers courses that bridge the gap between the civil and common law systems that co-exist in the United Arab Emirates.

Amna Al Owais, Chief Executive & Registrar, DIFC Courts, said: “This programme with McGill demonstrates that Dubai is becoming a new destination for top Canadian law students to broaden their legal skills. We believe that globalisation drives courts like ours to innovate through trans-systemic thinking to benefit international businesses seeking dispute resolution worldwide, both now and in the future. As technology shrinks the distances between the world’s markets, entrepreneurs and investors should be able to choose courts that can provide certainty based on this innovative legal knowledge.”

Starting in May, the first clerkship has been awarded to third-year McGill University law student, Viva Dadwal, with the backing of the Consulate General of Canada and Air Canada.

McGill University Faculty of Law’s inaugural clerkship student, Viva Dadwal, said: “I am thrilled to have been selected for this new clerkship. For a student who is interested in learning about different legal codes at an international and commercial level, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain exposure to how global courts operate. I look forward to working with legal thinkers at DIFC Courts, who are designing the courts of the future and understanding how we develop global practices to deliver legal services in pursuit of justice.”

The Clerkship initiative was announced during a Canadian Business Council seminar hosted by the DIFC Courts. Addressing the future trade, representatives from Dubai FDI and the Consulate General of Canada discussed the role of UAE-Canadian commerce into global trade hubs, ranging from the UAE to China.

His Excellency Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Consul General of Canada, said: “The Consulate General of Canada was pleased to facilitate the partnership between DIFC Courts and McGill University to offer a clerkship in trans-systemic law. For more than 150 years, Canada’s legal system has been based on common law and civil law. This legal pluralism is very much a reflection and celebration of Canada’s diversity. As trade and investment continue to globalise, Canadian educational institutions are not only well positioned to train lawyers who understand how to navigate and reconcile multiple legal traditions but are also at the forefront of creating new and innovative legal structures.”

Deepu Cyriac, Country Manager, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar & Oman, Air Canada, said: “Air Canada is delighted to share partnership with McGill University & DIFC Courts for this clerkship programme. Air Canada started non-stop service from Dubai to Toronto since 2015 and over the years we always noticed a good growth of students travelling between Dubai to different universities in Canada. This partnership is a great opportunity to promote Air Canada’s non-stop service from Dubai & strengthen UAE & Canada relationship at youth and education level.”

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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.

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