A Technology and Construction Division for the DIFC Courts

20 September 2017

Technically complex disputes, such as claims involving construction, engineering, and information technology, are now served by a new specialist division of the DIFC Courts.

Modelled on the English Technology and Construction Court (“TCC”), the Technology and Construction Division (“TCD”) will be headed by a judge of the DIFC Courts and the rules of the DIFC Courts will apply, as modified by a new Part 56. The TCD Rules provide for prompt and tailored case management of TCD claims, and set out examples of the tools available: for example, orders for the timely appointment by the court of experts; early interim orders to preserve sensitive evidence, such as electronic data; and the use of Scott schedules to tabulate factually complicated claims.

Parties to construction, engineering, IT and other technically complex contracts will be able to opt into the jurisdiction of the TCD not just in relation to projects in the DIFC but also in wider Dubai and elsewhere. The TCD will provide a valuable alternative to arbitration with the advantages of the ability to order speedy interim relief, the summary disposition of claims, and to sanction recalcitrant parties to avoid “guerrilla tactics”. Judgments of the TCD will be DIFC Court judgments enforceable in accordance with the numerous Protocols and Memoranda between the DIFC Courts and other jurisdictions.

Michael Black QC, Tom Montagu-Smith QC and Robert Avis prepared the draft Rule and have worked with the DIFC Courts Rules Sub-committee throughout the public consultation phase.