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Dubai disputes court and Smart Dubai partner to apply blockchain

Organisations in Dubai are working on developing the principal of blockchain-based courts

The Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (DIFC Courts) have partnered with Smart Dubai to create the world’s first court of the Blockchain.

Building on existing dispute resolution services, the alliance will initially explore how to aid verification of court judgments for cross-border enforcement.

According to the DIFC Courts, the partnership is the first step in creating a blockchain-powered judiciary with benefits including the streamlining of processes, removing document duplications and driving greater efficiencies across the entire legal ecosystem.

DIFC Courts said future research will combine expertise and resources to investigate handling disputes arising out of private and public blockchains, with regulation and contractual terms encoded in the smart contract.

Currently, blockchain-based smart contract transactions are irrevocable and there is no technical means to unwind a transaction.

In addition, the joint taskforce will model smart contracts across the blockchain that incorporate logic and allow for various forms of exceptions and conditions for seamless and more efficient dispute resolution.

Amna Al Owais, chief executive and registrar, DIFC Courts, said: “This taskforce is in line with our guiding principle to deliver courts as a service, powered by technology and extended through cooperation agreements and alliances. By harnessing blockchain technology, Dubai will be firmly positioned at the forefront of legal tech and judicial innovation, setting the standards for countries and judiciaries to follow.”

Read more about smart services in Dubai

Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, director general of the Smart Dubai Office (SDO), said Smart Dubai has set out to transform the emirate into a fully fledged smart city where all services are digitised.

She added that one of the most notable of these innovations is Blockchain, where the Dubai Blockchain Strategy seeks to run 100% of applicable government transactions on Blockchain by 2020.

“An invention of this calibre and potential requires an equally disruptive set of rules and an empowered institution to uphold them,” she said. “This is where our partnership with DIFC Courts comes in, allowing us to work together and create the world’s first disruptive court, helping to truly unlock the power of blockchain technology.”

In 2017, the DIFC Courts, in partnership with the Dubai Future Foundation, launched the Courts of the Future Forum, tasked with designing guidelines and prototyping a commercial court that can operate anywhere worldwide.

This year, the Forum evolved its mandate to extend this initiative to other global commercial courts, and engage specialist technology sector and private sector participation, creating vertical working groups to research areas such as blockchain.

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