A Common Law Court in an Uncommon Environment: The DIFC Judiciary and Global Commercial Dispute Resolution
The American Review of International Arbitration (2015)
35 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2014 Last revised: 16 Sep 2014
Date Written: August 18, 2014
This article analyzes a fascinating development – the emergence of English-speaking, American and British-style common law courts within the Islamic monarchy of Dubai. The ‘Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts’ were officially opened in 2006. By 2011, these courts saw their jurisdiction expanded to cover any commercial matter (domestic or foreign) with consent from the parties. The monarchy’s establishment of this parallel judiciary reflected a dual intent: to promote Dubai’s status among Western investors as the premier place to conduct business, and to confirm that a familiar, reliable, and efficient legal system operates in a just manner. Relying on ethnographic work, interview data, and primary sources, this article evaluates the DIFC Courts and the diverse perspectives surrounding them. As the analysis reveals, the story of this common law court is one of nuance – highlighting how in this era of globalization a Western judicial system can indeed exist within an Islamic, Arab-Gulf monarchy.
Keywords: courts; globalization; DIFC Courts; Commercial Law; Dispute Resolution
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