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DIFC Courts launches region-first paperless trials

DIFC Courts CEO Mark Beer OBE
DIFC Courts CEO Mark Beer OBE

DIFC Courts has become the first court in the Middle East to introduce a new cloud-based technology to allow court documents to be uploaded from anywhere in the world.

The e-bundling service will enable judges, lawyers and court staff to access case information in various formats, across multiple locations and share it with numerous users.

Announced during the same week that Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that Dubai will become completely paperless by 2021, the DIFC Courts joins the UK Supreme Court as one of only five court systems globally to adopt the electronic bundle (e-bundle) technology.

Developed by CaseLines, a UK-based digital trial solutions firm, the e-bundle technology serves over 25,000 users globally has a record of approximately 230,000 cases.

The CaseLines system is a collaborative virtual structure that allows lawyers to build the evidence bundle for a hearing online, either from scratch, or by importing a draft bundle created in an existing case management system (CMS).

The e-bundling system is being introduced on 29th March, affording lawyers and law firms a three-month transition period.

DIFC Courts will schedule training seminars for the legal community, with full system adoption compulsory for new cases filed after 1st July.

Amna Sultan Al Owais, chief executive and registrar, DIFC Courts, said, “Complex transnational cases are the bread and butter of our court. Embracing technological advances and abandoning outdated processes will now enable court judges and international teams of lawyers to work together on evidence in the cloud whilst the case is still being heard in court in real time. This new innovative e-service will ensure DIFC Courts continues to create legal certainty for businesses in an era of technological disruption, with a faster and more connected way to access case information. The days of teams of lawyers bearing lever arch files will now be consigned to history.”

 David Jackson, Director, CaseLines, said, “CaseLines has been transforming the way court systems operate, and we are delighted now to now be working with the DIFC Courts to improve court efficiency. Quick and convenient access to information has perhaps had the biggest influence on the way businesses run, especially for lawyers who need immediate secure access to masses of data within the legal sector where hordes of data need to be readily available. As well as saving approximately 200 trees per month and improving the productivity of administration staff bundle creation by 300 percent, some of the practical innovations include CaseLines offers lawyers video streaming using a secure YouTube-style interface to show video evidence in court, along with audio and video conferencing from the digital case file, and automatic hyperlinking of evidence documents.”

 Rita Jaballah, Partner, Al Tamimi & Co., said, “The new case management system has the potential to significantly improve the way we manage cases. Time is precious in litigation, and this user-friendly technology provides a seamless service that will allow us to work more efficiently and cost effectively with our teams, wherever we are situated in the world.”

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