DIFC Courts is making headway in delivering its verdicts through virtual orders. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Breach of contract and employment issues as well as property and tenancy disputes made up a sizeable portion of what the Small Claims Tribunal at DIFC Courts looked into during the first six months of 2022. The SCT is the first such of its kind in the Middle East.

A lot of the dispute resolution and verdict delivery happened after ‘virtual’ hearings through the Smart SCT platform. This led to over 62 per cent of claims registered originating from parties in the disputes selecting the SCT as the preferred choice.

Over 650 digital orders were issued in the first six months, and a further 66 judgments issued for the same period.

“The upgraded strategy (of DIFC Courts) outlines an ambitious drive for full digital transformation to increase the efficiency of dispute resolution,” said Omar Al Mheiri, Director, DIFC Courts. “A new hyper-connected judicial network will also be developed alongside cutting-edge legal procedures and specialised rules.”

Dh1.9b in claims

In the first-half, DIFC Courts saw a 10 per cent increase in claims filed, with a value of Dh1.9 billion in claims. In the main Court of First Instance, 44 cases were filed, with a total value of Dh1.87 billion and an average case value of Dh53.3 million. Cases within the Arbitration Division saw a total value of Dh1 billion and an average claim value of Dh130 million.

The latest work plan of DIFC Courts prescribes replacement of outdated processes with end-to-end digital tech, and ‘ensuring court systems are user-friendly and agile enough to keep pace with global commerce’.

“For example, AI will reduce clerical burdens, help streamline the case review methodology, create a realistic virtual presence, remove document duplications, and unlock time to take on significantly more complex tasks,” the statement said.