DIFC Court can be a conduit court for enforcement of foreign judgments determines the DIFC Court of Appeal
Authored by: Adrian Chadwick
On 25 February 2016 the DIFC Court of Appeal rendered its decision in DNB Bank ASA v Gulf Navigation Holding PJSC. The First Instance judge had previously held that “recognised foreign judgments” cannot be referred to the Dubai courts and therefore enforcement was only possible against assets inside the DIFC. The Court of Appeal, on 25 February 2016, has now overturned this and allowed DNB’s appeal. In his judgment the Chief Justice Michael Hwang SC stated: “From the perspective of the DIFC Courts, it is not wrong to use the DIFC Courts as a conduit jurisdiction to enforce a foreign judgment and then use the reciprocal mechanisms to execute against assets in another jurisdiction.” He also held that “a foreign judgment when granted recognition in the DIFC Courts therefore becomes a local judgment of the DIFC Courts and should therefore be treated as such by the Dubai Courts (amongst others)”. The way now appears to be open to use the DIFC Court as a conduit court to enforce foreign court money judgments against assets in Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE. An application can be made to the DIFC Court to recognise a foreign court money judgment rendered in England (or from another jurisdiction) and once there is a DIFC Court Judgment/Order recognizing the foreign judgment the party seeking enforcement can now request the DIFC Court to issue an execution letter to the Chief Justice of the Dubai Courts pursuant to Article 7 (2) of the Judicial authority Law.
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