08 Aug 2019

New technology-driven, virtual reality smart court will handle Dubai’s JAFZ labour litigation

Authored by: Megan Rose Condron Keenan

In brief:

  • A new virtual reality smart court will handle labour litigation in the Jebel Ali Free Zone (“JAFZ”).
  • It is proposed that litigants will no longer need to be physically present at the premises of the Dubai Courts.
  • It is hoped that this will provide a more commercially efficient way to handle labour disputes in JAFZ.

Multinational companies, corporations, judges, practitioners and litigants are likely to welcome news of the setting up of a new virtual reality smart court, which will handle labour litigation involving companies operating from JAFZ.

It is proposed that litigants will no longer need to be physically present at the premises of the Dubai Courts. This will enable cases to be heard remotely with the aim of providing time and cost savings whilst also minimising inconvenience to the parties whom, in order to attend hearings, are often required to travel considerable distances between their base in JAFZ and the Dubai Courts. Accordingly, it is hoped that this will be a positive change for those involved in JAFZ labour disputes.

Who

The JAFZ Authority has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dubai Courts.

HE Taresh Al Mansouri, MD of the Dubai Courts, commented: “…The agreement between Dubai Courts and Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority is the cornerstone for strengthening our joint efforts to enhance labour relations...” and “falls in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide services to the highest standards”.

What

The technology-driven smart court will be a remote courtroom / dedicated chamber and will include a conference room equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including video link.

A highly secure electronic link, supported by significant levels of cybersecurity, will be established between the JAFZ Authority’s systems and the systems of the Dubai Courts, enabling the parties to connect and communicate securely.

Hearings will be conducted via live direct transmission between Dubai Court judges and the parties concerned; a legal assistant will serve as a link between JAFZ and the Dubai Courts during the remote hearings.

When

We await further details of the timing of the launch of the new smart court’.

Where

The smart court will be located in JAFZ. 

Why

In respect of the future smart court, Mohammed Al Muallem (CEO and managing director, of DP World UAE Region and CEO of JAFZ, said that:

Innovation drives our operations and administrative functions at Jafza…The smart court is a qualitative leap for our free zones…Using technology to enhance our legal systems is part of our policy of creating new value for our shareholders and is inspired by Dubai’s goal of building a Smart City…It opens new horizons to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and speed in the implementation of judgments, orders and judicial decisions…”

With increasing sophistication in the technology available, it is hoped that the launch of the new smart court will help to build a more modern, accessible and efficient system with practical advantages. This should, in turn, provide the parties involved with increased confidence that their case will be dealt with under an efficient and commercial legal system. What remains to be seen is whether the new smart court will achieve all of its intended aims.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of this article and/or related labour litigation matters with a member of our team we would be pleased to hear from you. Please direct all enquiries to Rachel Hill, Head of Employment at: r.hill@hadefpartners.com or 04 429 2892.