Saturday, September 23, 2017

DIFC to set up new unit for construction disputes

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has announced plans to set up a new division mainly for resolving complex technology and construction disputes such as claims arising out of fire accidents and complicated engineering rows.

The new Technology and Construction Division (TCD) draws on specialist judges and a new set of industry-specific rules to fast-track dispute resolution, providing greater certainty to businesses in court.

The TCD division will only hear technically complex cases, said a statement from DIFC Courts.

Examples in the construction sector might include complicated engineering disputes or claims arising out of fires, it stated.
Technology-related cases could include liability for cybercrime incidents, disputes over the ownership and use of data, and issues relating to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or connected cars, said the DIFC Courts statement.

Parties located anywhere in the world will now be 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, it added.

DIFC Courts Chief Justice Michael Hwang said the new division 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," observed Hwang.

The TCD was established following a one-month consultation with the region’s legal community, he added.

According to him, the construction and technology sectors are both key to the local and regional economies.
According to a recent BMI study, the total value of building and construction contracts in the Mena region will touch $300 billion by 2019. Meanwhile, research from Gartner projected IT spending in the region will reach $155.5 billion in 2017.   

The new TDC unit 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.

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," he noted.

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, he added.-TradeArabia News Service

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