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DIFC launches new technology court

New technology division will be able to rule on complex IT legal disputes from anywhere in the world

Justice Sir Richard Field will head up the Technology & Construction Division.
Justice Sir Richard Field will head up the Technology & Construction Division.

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has launched a new division to hear complex legal cases in technology and construction.

The new Technology and Construction Division (TCD) has been established as an ‘opt-in' court, to hear complex cases from anywhere in the world.

The TCD draws on specialist judges and a new set of industry-specific rules to fast-track dispute resolution, in technically complex cases. These could include liability for cybercrime incidents, data ownership disputes or other technology issues.

Parties located anywhere in the world are able to opt-in to the DIFC Courts' jurisdiction, if both parties agree in writing. Requests to have claims heard by the TCD are made as part of the initial filing, with the Courts' decision based on the written evidence provided.

DIFC Courts Chief Justice Michael Hwang said: "The TCD has been designed around the particular characteristics of highly complex technology and construction disputes, which can be resolved much more speedily and efficiently with the oversight of specialist judicial expertise. This new division is another foundation stone in our work to build the courts of the future, and an important new service for businesses operating in two key sectors of the UAE economy."

The TCD was established following a one-month consultation with the region's legal community. Their feedback and suggestions have been reflected in the division's rules, which are published today on the DIFC Courts website.

The TDC will be headed by Justice Sir Richard Field, who brings 20 years of experience handling complex disputes in the London courts. A British national, he joined the DIFC Courts in 2015 following his tenure as Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court in London.

Commenting on his appointment, Sir Richard Field said: "It is a privilege to be chosen to lead the TCD, which represents an important addition to the UAE's dispute resolution infrastructure. By forming a specialist division to handle complex - and sometimes new - types of construction and technology disputes, the DIFC Courts are working to secure businesses both now and in the future."

The Division launches in the same week as the DIFC Courts implement a new web-based case management system developed in-house. Building on existing e-registry capabilities, the new system enables users to access case management information from their mobile phones, tablets and other electronic devices in real time.

Specific features include the ability to upload heavy bundles of documents; an entirely electronic, easy-to-use Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) section; faster and easier searchability of PDF case documents; integration with Emirates Identity Authority enabling verification of court users through their Emirates ID; and an interactive case plan that is automatically updated when documents are filed.