On June 9, 2016, H.H. The Ruler of Dubai issued Decree 19/2016 (the “Decree”) to establish the ‘Judicial Tribunal for the Dubai Courts and the DIFC Courts.’ Given the uncertainties as to how DIFC Courts and Dubai Courts should have jurisdiction, the Decree could become an important development in Dubai’s legal system. The intentions of the Decree are to rule on (i) conflicts of jurisdiction; and (ii) conflicts of judgments, between the DIFC Courts and the Dubai Courts.
Even though it is still unclear when the Judicial Tribunal will become operational or what precise procedure an applicant should follow, certain significant developments are expected to occur, thanks to the Decree. A few important ones are the following: a) Binding and non-appealable decisions on jurisdiction must be rendered within 30 working days of filing an application; b) the Judicial Tribunal will comprise the President of the Dubai Court of Cassation (as chairman, who holds the casting vote), 3 judges from the DIFC Courts (including the Chief Justice, and 2 nominated by the Chief Justice) and 3 judges from the Dubai Courts (including the Secretary General of the Judicial Council and Presidents of Courts Appeal and First Instance); and c) Applications to the Judicial Tribunal will result in a stay of the underlying proceedings, including stopping of the clock for the purposes of statute of limitation, in both the DIFC Courts and the Dubai Courts.
While the actual ramifications of the Decree are yet to be seen, it is fair to say that the Decree will provide more certainty on the already-existing conflicts of jurisdiction between the DIFC Courts and the Dubai Courts and perhaps an expansion of the jurisdiction of the former.