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Hackathon for Future Justice



  • DIFC’s Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA), including DIFC Courts, forges alliance with Europe’s Maastricht University
  • Agreement signed during Hackathon organised by Technolawgeeks, with support of Maastricht University and Brightlands Smart Services Campus

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 8 April 2018: DIFC’s Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) and Maastricht University’s Faculty of Law have signed an agreement that will explore the impact of emerging disruptive technologies for lawmakers and legal systems.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed during a hackathon organised by the independent law and technology community Technolawgeeks, with the support of Maastricht University and the Brightlands Smart Services Campus.

Themed as ‘Rethinking Justice’, the hackathon covered four different challenges: The Hague Institute for the Innovation of Law (Social Justice challenge); eBay (E-Commerce Conflicts challenge); Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts (Courts of the Future challenge); and Maastricht University’s Institute of Data Science (Data-Driven Justice challenge).

The agreement will reinforce existing work by the Courts of the Future Forum – a joint initiative between DIFC Courts and Dubai Future Foundation -  to explore new ways to facilitate safe pre-legal innovation. The Forum’s work focuses on three key areas. First, creating legal clarity to ensure that valuable and innovative intellectual property created by entrepreneurs and investors is protected. Second, it coordinates international efforts to ensure that courts and legal systems understand likely future developments in technological innovation and online consumer behaviour. Lastly, the Forum investigates the development of smart dispute resolution services.

Maastricht University’s Faculty of Law is currently developing a research programme on law and technology that will play a pivotal role in driving collaboration with DIFC Courts. Plans for shared initiatives in the fields of law and technology will enhance research, knowledge and awareness of how law and technology interact with each other to support access to justice.

Michael Hwang SC, Head, DRA, said: “In 2017 we made a strong commitment through our Courts of the Future Forum to unlock the power of innovation and disruptive technologies to transform the court experience for end-users and the wider legal sector. By signing this strategic agreement with Maastricht University, complimentary research, knowledge and skills will be harnessed to advance the relationship between law and technology and the future administration of justice.” 

Jan Smits, Dean, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University, said: “The DIFC Courts’ appetite for creative problem solving and pioneering technology has put innovation at the centre of its achievements. This collaboration agreement signals our commitment to share our expertise with global partners to explore and evaluate the future path for legaltech.”

About Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA)

Established in 2014, the DRA is a platform for delivering legal excellence in the Middle East and acts as a gateway to a suite of services available to businesses operating in both within and outside the DIFC. The divisions of the DRA work in partnership to provide businesses with unparalleled choice in relation to the resolution of their commercial disputes, the development of legal talent and to the protection of individuals investing or residing in Dubai. Together and in co-operation, the divisions of the DRA are supporting the Dubai Plan 2021 and UAE Vision 2021.

The DRA administers justice and legal excellence within DIFC and is the third body of the DIFC, alongside the DIFC Authority and the Dubai Financial Services Authority. The DRA itself, currently incorporates four divisions: the DIFC Courts – Dubai’s established English-language and independent commercial common law judicial system; the DIFC Academy of Law (AOL); the DIFC Wills Service Centre (WSC); and the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre.

About Maastricht University

Maastricht University (UM) is the most international university in the Netherlands and, with 16,300 students and 4,300 employees, is still growing. The university stands out for its innovative education model, international character and multidisciplinary approach to research and education. Thanks to its high-quality research and study programmes as well as a strong focus on social engagement, UM has quickly built up a solid reputation. Today it is considered one of the best young universities in the world. The Faculty of Law consists of approximately 2,500 students and 250 staff members. Research at the Faculty focuses, next to Dutch law, on comparative law, international and European law and human rights. Much of this research is externally funded. Four times a year the Faculty publishes the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law.

Press Release: Hackathon for Future Justice - English

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Press Release: Hackathon for Future Justice - Arabic

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