Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 12 August 2018: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts have taken another major step towards connecting with China’s leading dispute resolution centres through the signature of a Memorandum of Guidance (MoG) with the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (Hong Kong High Court).
Devised as a practical mechanism to foster investor confidence and legal certainty, the MoG will serve as technical guide for the international legal and business communities on recognition and collection of money judgments in DIFC and Hong Kong.
Last year, trade between the UAE and Hong Kong alone totaled $10.87 billion, up from $10.59 billion in 2016. This figure is expected to rise further as Hong Kong consolidates its position as a leading commercial hub supporting the $5 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The expansion in trade and investment between UAE, Hong Kong and mainland China means that disputes become increasingly inevitable, making the role of international commercial courts more important than ever before.
The MoG was signed between Michael Hwang SC, Chief Justice, DIFC Courts, and the Honourable Mr. Justice Andrew Cheung of the Hong Kong High Court. Speaking at the signing, Michael Hwang SC, Chief Justice, DIFC Courts, said: “This year the UAE and China have entered into a new phase of co-operation. Our new alliance with the Hong Kong High Court will not only provide guidance to parties with commercial claims before our two courts, but will also result in greater trade security for Chinese and international businesses and investors, securing participation in Hong Kong and mainland China’s growth.”
The MoG comes at a time when UAE-China relations are at an all-time high, following President Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to the UAE in July. Bilateral trade between the UAE and China is forecast to grow to $70 billion by 2020, and under ‘One Country, Two Systems’, Hong Kong has long established itself as one of China’s key financial centres.
DIFC Courts’ Chief Executive & Registrar, Amna Al Owais, accompanied DIFC Courts’ Chief Justice to sign the Memorandum of Guidance (MOG) in Hong Kong, following visits to the Shanghai High People’s Court, Zhejiang High People’s Court, and Hangzhou Internet Court.
The DIFC Courts’ visit to mainland China and Hong Kong follow memoranda signed with the Shanghai High People's Court in 2016 and with the Hangzhou Arbitration Commission in 2017.
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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Senior Manager – Communications