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DIFC Courts Receive International Praise

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

28 December 2012

The Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (DIFC Courts), the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) English common law judicial system based from the free zone, has been rated alongside the best commercial courts worldwide in the International Association for Court Administration influential international survey on performance during 2012.

The "International Framework for Courts Excellence" survey, which is referenced by leading judiciaries across the globe, awarded DIFC Courts a rating of 100% in the criteria affordability, accessibility, resources and planning, and scores of more than 90% for leadership and management. The Courts received a total weighted score of 900 points out of one thousand, based on criteria such as public trust and confidence, clients' needs and satisfaction, court resources and court leadership.

The findings of a second, national survey, undertaken by ARA Marketing Research and Consultancy, Dubai, in three assessments throughout the year, also reported positive feedback from court users, and a remarkably high quality of service. Through various mechanisms for gauging satisfaction - including the use of mystery shoppers, as well as telephone and direct contact - the level of service was said to have markedly improved since 2011.

DIFC Courts scored as high as 96% in areas related to court appearance, courtesy, helpfulness and knowledge of staff, as well as the overall experience. The level of performance within the courts, as monitored through the mystery shopping facility, showed results of up to 93% for efficiency through e-mail responses, and 83% through face-to-face interactions.

Mark Beer, DIFC Courts’ Registrar said: “These successes align our Courts with the UAE vision as expressed by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in his 41st National Day message. He emphasized that one of the nation’s goals would be "…taking the UAE to the ranks of the developed countries and beyond" - and added that the UAE needed to realize a powerful knowledge-based economy to guarantee its leading edge in global competitiveness."

“The results demonstrate our commitment to this approach. The quality of the systems and the service that our Courts provide to the UAE and regional business community support the UAE’s future as an international business hub.”

Reem Al Shihhe, Head of Human Resources and Business Excellence, commented: “I am proud of the high scores in both surveys. We always value court users’ feedback, and this has helped us as an organisation to refine and improve our services. A Court is about people: our interaction with the legal profession and the public is crucial and our constant assessment of performance ensures we keep to the highest standards.”

The DIFC Courts were established in 2004, to create an independent and world-class courts system in English, based on common law. The presence of DIFC Courts in the DIFC has strengthened its standing as a leading tax-free zone in Dubai, offering firms 0% income tax guaranteed for 50 years, 100% foreign ownership, no exchange controls and a legal system based on English common law.

The DIFC boasts world-leading companies including 17 of the world’s top 25 banks, eight of the world’s ten largest insurers, eight out of the top 15 law firms, 10 of the top 20 money managers and seven of the top ten consultancies.

TAGS: court | United Arab Emirates | tax | business | law | international financial centres (IFC) | corporation tax | offshore | standards | Dubai | services

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