Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has become the first court in the Middle East to introduce a new secure cloud-based technology to allow court documents to be uploaded from anywhere in the world. The e-bundling service will enable judges, lawyers and courts staff to access case information in various formats, across multiple locations and share with numerous users.
Announced during the same week that Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, 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.
The e-bundling system is being introduced on 29th March 2018, 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 2018.
Amna Sultan Al Owais, Chief Executive & 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 Embracing technological advances and abandoning outdated processes will now enable court judges and international teams of lawyers to work together on evidence in the cloud whilst the case is still being heard in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.”
Developed by CaseLines, a UK-based leader in digital trial solutions, the e-bundle technology serves over 25,000 users globally and saves over 900,000 sheets of paper daily – enough paper to create a stack as high as the Burj Khalifa every ten days. It has a record of approximately 230,000 cases, with almost 63 million pages of evidence and records.
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 per cent, 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.”
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). It does not require software to be installed, and has world class security, to FIPS 199, FIPS 200 and ISO27001 standards.
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.”
In line with UAE Vision 2021 and the Dubai Smart Government initiative to develop a knowledge-based economy, the DIFC Courts’ adoption of the CaseLines e-bundle solution forms part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the accessibility of case documents. Last year, the Courts developed a mobile-friendly in-house Case Management System (CMS), connecting various departments and functions within the organisation and providing them with easy access to information.
About the DIFC Courts
The UAE’s DIFC Courts administer a unique English-language common law system – offering swift, independent justice to settle local and international commercial or civil disputes. The Courts, based in Dubai, provide certainty through transparent, enforceable judgments from internationally-recognised judges, who adhere to the highest global legal standards. The DIFC Courts are independent from, but complementary to, the UAE’s Arabic-language civil law system – offering a choice that strengthens both processes while ensuring public access to world-class justice.
In October 2011, a decree of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, opened the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction to businesses from all across the GCC region and beyond to provide the international business community with access to one of the most advanced commercial courts in the world.
The DIFC Courts were established under laws enacted by the late HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in September 2004. The laws establishing the DIFC Courts are designed to ensure that the DIFC Courts provide the certainty, flexibility and efficiency expected by Court users. Nearly 1,180 cases have been resolved through the DIFC Courts since 2008, while over 90% of Small Claims Tribunal cases are concluded within three weeks. The Courts’ community-focused approach encourages early settlement, while their successful track record supports Dubai’s growing status as an international business hub.
In line with HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, the DIFC Courts serve to develop the UAE national workforce and enhance the competitiveness of Emirati advocates. The DIFC Courts are spearheading training programmes predominantly aimed at local Emirati lawyers, which offer knowledge of, and qualifications in, the English-language common law system.