DIFC Courts to Resolve Designers, Fashion Industry Disputes


Dubai Design & Fashion Council (DDFC) support opt-in to DIFC Courts through new cooperation agreement with DIFC Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA)

Dubai Design & Fashion Council (DDFC) today signed a cooperation agreement with DIFC Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA), including DIFC Courts, to pave the way for wider adoption of the English language, international law courts system by Dubai’s fast-developing design and fashion sector.

As design entrepreneurs start up and compete across the region and beyond, they are reliant on key partnerships for talent, funding and materials. These need to be protected to enable businesses to trade securely and grow. By opting in to DIFC Courts Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) using a standard contract clause, enterprises will benefit from its proven capacity to resolve disputes amicably and fast in English, with 85% of cases settled within four weeks.

Through the award-winning smart SCT, firms with claims can access a virtual courtroom online from anywhere in the world. With the option of serving notice via instant messaging and social media, business owners can now solve legal problems using their smartphones or laptops with minimal interruption even as they travel.

Amna Al Owais, Deputy Chief Executive, Dispute Resolution Authority, said: “As Dubai is transformed into an international design and fashion hub, new enterprises need protection to innovate and trade securely as well as to safeguard the intellectual property that is their lifeblood. Adopting DIFC Courts as a jurisdiction of choice will give them the ability to draw up English language contracts that can be understood, negotiated and enforced in every corner of the globe.”

Jazia Al Dhanhani, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Design & Fashion Council, said: “Most designers go into business with a dream and a vision. Sadly, some then go on to struggle with disputes that are too difficult or expensive to resolve. Through our cooperation agreement we can give our design community a rapid and cost-effective way of protecting their brands, creations and livelihoods. At Dubai Design & Fashion Council we want to enable them to focus on what they do best – building successful creative businesses.”

The agreement expands access for DDFC members to the region’s first pro bono programme, operated by the DIFC Academy of Law. Eligible businesses and individuals, such as design start-ups on extremely limited funding, will have the opportunity to benefit from free legal advice.

Thinking ahead for businesses of the future, DIFC Courts and DDFC will work together to understand the industries needs from a legislative perspective for IP law.

According to a 2016 *report unveiled by the Dubai Design & Fashion Council (DDFC), in collaboration with Dubai Design District (d3), the design industry in the region will grow at a compound annual growth rate of at least 6% over the next five years, reaching US$55 billion by 2019. Additionally, organisations are anticipating a 20% annual increase in their design headcount, especially in fresh graduates, over the next two to three years.


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