An increasing number of small businesses and individuals based outside of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) are choosing to have their commercial disputes resolved by the DIFC Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal (Smart SCT), according to new figures released today.
To date in 2017, the number of opt-in cases filed with the Smart SCT has doubled from 25 to 54, with such cases now accounting for approximately one sixth of the tribunal’s workload of 349 so far this year.
Underscoring the SCT’s increasing popularity for business trading today, the opt-in clauses available on the tribunal’s website have been downloaded over 7,000 times in the last three months.
Parties can choose DIFC Courts to resolve their disputes by adding the DIFC jurisdiction clauses to commercial contracts.
Amna Sultan Al Owais, chief executive and registrar of the DIFC Courts, said, “The region’s first Small Claims Tribunal has been a catalyst for a change in the way that smaller, less complex commercial disputes are resolved. An ever-increasing number of small business owners and individuals from across the UAE and abroad are choosing English language and rapid settlement offered by the SCT, and accessing this through the free downloadable clause.”
Uptake of SCT’s service innovations has been strong through 2017. Nearly one third of hearings this year are via the Smart SCT, enabling parties to resolve disputes in a virtual court, connecting remotely through computers and smartphones.
The SCT achieved a regional first in October 2017 by offering claimants the option to use direct and instant messaging to give defendants notice as part of an expanded range of e-services.
The DIFC Courts’ SCT was established in 2007 to hear lower value, less complex claims in private and confidential proceedings, with an average 83 percent of cases concluded within four weeks.