The new DIFC Digital Economy Court: How are the latest technologies supporting parties?

August 15, 2023

This content originally appeared on NRF Connections.

The New DIFC Digital Economy Court is reflective of the changing legal landscape in which parties are now contracting, engaging and doing business, in the UAE, regionally and globally. This new division is mandated to hear claims relating to the digital economy –ranging from big data, blockchain, AI, fintech, cloud services, 3D printing, and robotics.

It is expected to utilise the latest technology allowing parties to provide information through smart forms and artificial intelligence driven forms, with cases to be conducted using advanced digital systems to expedite service on parties and enforcement (for instance service of documents through social media will be possible).

There is a special streamlined procedure for dealing with consumer disputes (within a certain financial threshold) arising from e-commerce transactions, digital payment platforms or marketplaces. This is a positive development recognising that the Technology and Construction Disputes division have traditionally heard claims primarily relating to building, construction and engineering disputes (even though under the Court Rules the TCD hears claims relating to the design, supply and/or installation of computers, computer software and related network and information technology systems and services).

Whilst this is a welcome development the new technologies are untested for the time being. Nonetheless this development is indicative of the progressive approach of the DIFC Court in developing a framework for claims relating to and arising out of new emerging technologies.