Jafza and DIFC Courts make life easier for business

Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the UAE’s flagship trade and logistics hub for the Middle East region and Africa, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) giving its member companies and people living, working and investing in the Free Zone access to a suite of dispute resolution services, including the Small Claims Tribunal of the DIFC Courts.

Jafza and the DRA, an authority within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), will work together to develop initiatives to encourage greater cooperation between dispute resolution and mediation services provided by the two authorities. It will also promote the services of DRA, including the use of DIFC Courts, one of the world’s leading English language commercial courts. The agreement will provide Jafza member companies with a more efficient means of resolving disputes.

The MOU was signed at DRA’s DIFC headquarters by Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and Dr. Michael Hwang SC, Head of the DRA.

Bin Sulayem said Jafza was committed to providing new, value-added services to companies and individuals based in the Free Zone to support their operations and administration.

Bin Sulayem, said: “Under the leadership of Dubai and in line with the Dubai 2021 plan, we are positioning the Emirate as the business centre of the region. This MoU is a critical element in fulfilling one of the Government’s objectives for an efficient, fair and impartial commercial legal system. It will build confidence among multinationals that our laws and regulations will safeguard their rights, boosting their confidence in the trade and investment environment of Dubai.”

Bin Sulayem added, “Given the enormous volume of trade that passes through Jafza every year, it makes sense for us to forge close ties with the region’s leading English language commercial court. While we always strive to settle contract disputes amicably, it gives us confidence to know that we can easily turn to the DIFC Courts or the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre should the need ever arise.”

Commending the agreement, Dr. Michael Hwang said, “Jafza has always been a very forward-thinking organisation and I congratulate them on their work to support companies seeking commercial settlements. The complex nature of business in the free zone means {delete}means contract disputes or legal issues will inevitably arise from time to time, so it is important that companies know the available options. As a proven English language common law jurisdiction in Dubai, the DIFC Courts offer fast and efficient resolution for any Jafza-based companies that find themselves involved in a dispute.”

He continued: “As a major international free zone, Jafza contains companies familiar with different legal systems and languages. The ability to opt into the English language DIFC Courts is an added attraction for companies based in Jafza, or for those planning to open operations in the free zone.”

The agreement will also provide Jafza and its member companies access to DRA’s knowledge series seminars, workshops and events through the DIFC Academy of Law. Jafza will also be able to host regular awareness sessions and a lecture series that will be conducted by the DRA.

Other features of the agreement include the development of innovative solutions and use of smart technology such as joint mobile applications to streamline delivery of services.