DIFC Courts issued all their orders and judgments digitally, with over 794 orders in the first six months of 2023. Image Credit: Supplied/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts released its figures for the first six months of 2023 on Monday, reflecting a surge in the overall value of claims.

The value of cases across all divisions recorded a 692 per cent increase in the first half of 2023, compared with the first six months of 2022, with a total value of Dh15 billion across 455 cases filed.

In the main Court of First Instance (CFI), 52 cases were filed, with the total value of Dh14.9 billion and an average case value of Dh427.2 million. Cases within the Arbitration Division under the CFI also recorded a significant increase in the first six months of 2023, with a total value of Dh12.9 billion and an average claim value of Dh1.6 billion.

Justice Omar Al Mheiri, Director, DIFC Courts, said: “The DIFC Courts is currently operating on a new roadmap for the years 2022-2024, which includes a strategic work plan that brings more national cohesion to the courts’ projects and initiatives in line with the “D33’ economic agenda and the Dubai Digital Strategy. This in turn is providing effective support for the federal and local strategic goals and the centre’s goals. The surge in uptake of the DIFC Courts’ public services in the first six months of 2023 reflects the growing awareness of, and trust in, our expertise, efficiency, and ease of process. Powered by the most cutting-edge digital infrastructure, it is our expectation that more domestic and international businesses will continue to look to the DIFC Courts for future certainty and expedient resolution.”

Claims brought before the CFI involved companies and business across a wide range of sectors, including banking & finance, real estate, construction, manufacturing, retail, hospitality and maritime, and involving disputes related to breach of contract, outstanding payments, Wills & Probate, and employment. There was also a noticeable number of “opt-in” cases for the first six months of 2023, with 52.5 per cent of claims in the CFI cases originating from parties “electing” to use the DIFC Courts to resolve their disputes.

The operational capacity of the region’s first Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) was strong in the first six months of 2023, with 242 claims filed, and an overall claim value totaling Dh19.8 million. The average claim value of cases filed at the SCT was Dh85,000.

Claims were driven primarily by disputes involving breach of contract, employment, and property & tenancy. Increased remote virtual hearings through the region’s first “Smart SCT” virtual court, has led to over 73.5 per cent of claims registered originating from parties selecting the SCT as their preferred method for dispute resolution.

Reinforcing year-on-year increased efficiency through its digital and paperless strategy, statistics also confirm that the DIFC Courts issued 100 per cent of orders and judgments digitally, with over 794 orders in the first six months of 2023, and a further 86 judgments issued for the same period. In addition, 98 per cent of hearings in the CFI were conducted remotely, whilst the SCT and the Court of Appeal recorded 100 per cent remote hearings in the first six months of 2023.

Launched through a partnership in 2015 between the DIFC Courts and the Government of Dubai, the Wills Service was established to enable non-Muslims who are investing and living in the UAE to pass on their assets and appoint guardians for their children in line with their wishes through a Will registration service.

In the first six months of 2023, the Wills Service registered 766 Wills, a 37.8 per cent increase in the number of registrations compared with the first six months of 2022, and issued 22 probate orders. Since its inception, the Wills Service has registered over 9,500 Wills.