DIFC Courts, the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) independent, common law judicial system, on Wednesday said it introduced a new, groundbreaking, fully paperless infrastructure in continued efforts to further improve effectiveness and as part of a commitment to operating in a sustainable manner.
“The Courts are setting a positive example for the region as they combine best-in-class organisation, accessibility and transparency with an environmentally conscious approach,” DIFC said in an emailed release.
The paperless, digital storing-initiative is part of the Courts’ continued efforts to increase efficiencies, ensure maximum security and to reduce their carbon footprint. In excess of 136,000 papers from the inception of the Courts in 2005 have been transferred to the new system and are now stored electronically. Only original pleadings and documents sealed by the Courts are maintained and stored offsite, after the case has closed.
The paperless project coincides with the Courts’ web-based case management system initiative and e-filing services that reduce the necessity for Courts’ users to file documents in person. The Courts will also introduce an e-payment gateway which will provide further options for payment of Courts fees when filing court documents. Courts’ users will benefit from these services as it will reduce printing costs and time spent filing documents at the DIFC Courts. As the DIFC Courts caseload continues to grow, it is estimated that electronic filing will save over 40,000 pages being printed per year.
DIFC Courts has consistently introduced the latest technologies since its inception which includes the implementation of a fully electronic courtroom complete with video conferencing facilities.
The move to a paperless administration is being announced in the advent of the publication of a DIFC Courts Sustainability Policy. The Policy, which will formalize the Courts commitment to social and environmental responsibility, is due to be approved by Chief Justice, Michael Hwang later this quarter.
Mark Beer, Registrar at the DIFC Courts, said “We are delighted to launch another regional first at the DIFC Courts. We are fully aware of the amount of paperwork documentation involved in legal cases and the impact that has on the environment and we trust this innovation will yield positive results.” Ghada Qaisi Audi, Acting Deputy Registrar/SCT Registrar, “From an operational perspective, we consistently strive to use the latest technologies and innovations to strengthen the delivery of the judicial services we provide and to enhance Courts’ User’s satisfaction with efficiency and cost-savings in mind. Launching a project that is equally environmentally friendly is an added bonus. ” The DIFC Courts is an independent court system set up to uphold the provisions of DIFC laws and regulations. They provide the protection of an English language, common law court system, with an internationally renowned bench of judges versed in commercial disputes, to ensure transparent and efficient justice in civil and commercial matters in or relating to the Centre.