The governments of the United Arab Emirates and Dubai have established a free zone for financial services in Dubai known as the Dubai International Financial Centre ("the DIFC") in the hope that it will become a major financial centre to rank alongside London, New York, Tokyo and Singapore. According to KPMG the DIFC already ranks 7th in its list of the world's leading financial centres.
One of the reasons for the DIFC's success is a special jurisdiction in the zone with its own laws and law courts. Although Dubai and the UAE are civil law jurisdictions and their official language is Arabic the laws of the DFIC are in English and based largely on UK statutes and the English common law.
The DIFC courts conduct their business in English. Their rules and procedure are based on the English Civil Procedure Rules. Most of the judges of the DIFC courts come from England and Wales or other Commonwealth countries. Most counsel and solicitors from England and Wales can qualify to practise before the DIFC Courts quite easily.
This is the first of a number of articles that members of my chambers intend to write on the DIFC and its Courts. Articles that will appear in the next few weeks will cover confidential information, data protection, domain name disputes, passing off and restrictive covenants. We shall also discuss the IP and technology laws of other jurisdictions in the region.
The reason for our interest in the region is that one of our members intends to move to Dubai shortly. His presence in the region will enable us to offer advisory, drafting and advocacy services on DIFC intellectual property and technology law as well as English and EU IP and technology law to local practitioners. In addition, I shall be available to sit as an arbitrator or act as a mediator in IP and technology disputes. Finally, NIPC Training will offer CPD training in IP, technology and competition law to English and other expatriate solicitors and patent and trade mark attorneys in the region.
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