DIFC Regulatory Authority appoints leading law firms to draft DIFC Legislation

The DIFC Regulatory Authority announced the appointment of three leading international legal firms to help produce legislation to establish the DIFC’s legal environment. 

Clifford Chance has been appointed to draft the key legislation, which will establish the Regulatory Authority, describe its powers and provide the core regulatory framework for the day-to-day operation of the Authority.  Allen & Overy has been appointed to draft a companion suite of commercial laws, covering companies’ legislation, insolvency, securities and collateral laws.  Simmons & Simmons has been appointed to draft laws on Islamic Financial Institutions, and devise the legal framework for the resolution of disputes.   

These assignments follow on from work recently completed by Clifford Chance, who had produced a legal blue-print for the DIFC, describing the framework for the development of detailed laws and regulations that will govern the operations of institutions licensed by the DIFC.   The laws will draw on the experiences and best practices of the world’s major financial jurisdictions and dispute resolution centers and will provide the DIFC with a fully integrated financial services regulator, supervising banking, securities, insurance, reinsurance and other investment activities. 

Phillip Thorpe, the Chief Commissioner for the new Regulatory Authority, noted, 
“ With the commencement of these drafting assignments, the Regulatory Authority is now heading towards an important milestone in its establishment, namely the creation of a comprehensive set of world-class legislative and regulatory provisions that will bring certainty for any institution or individual dealing with DIFC and create confidence in the standards and quality of regulatory operations that we intend to provide.  We are delighted that we have been able to engage some of the leading practitioners in the regulatory and corporate world to assist with this project.”   

Spokesmen for the law firms involved welcomed the news.  John Holmes, co leader, with Tim Plews, of the Clifford Chance team said: 
"We are pleased that the DIFC is moving from our legal blueprint to the drafting of the key legislation.  We all look forward to a successful conclusion to the legal and regulatory framework".  

Simon Gleeson, who is leading the Allen & Overy team working on the commercial legislation, said: 
“What the DIFC must have is modern legislation embodying the best of international financial and commercial law.  We are delighted to be involved in this important project”. Ibrahim Mubaydeen, Managing Partner of Simmons & Simmons Abu Dhabi, leading the Simmons & Simmons team said:  “We are very pleased to be associated with such a prestigious and ground-breaking project, which maintains the U.A.E.’s status as a leading financial centre”.  

The Regulatory Authority expects to have these laws in place by January 2003.  Information papers on the legislation and drafts of the specific laws are expected to be available later in 2002. 

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