Dubai Launches First Ever Blockchain Powered Judiciary

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    On Monday, 30th of July The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Court announced that they will be introducing the first ever blockchain powered judiciary in the world. DIFC is an international court with jurisdiction in resolving all civil and commercial disputes concerning international financial transactions and debt collection. The innovative concept has been triggered with the aim of refining existing dispute resolution services and making the legal ecosystem more efficient.

    The DIFC courts will be partnering up with Smart Dubai, an initiative that was launched by UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This initiative was created in April 2018 by the government in order to aid the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021. This strategy aims to digitally transform the city of Dubai and utilise blockchain technology to transform 50 per cent of government transactions.

    Obtained from Smart Dubai:

    “We aim to be at the forefront as a leader by harnessing digital innovation in all our city endeavors. Hence, today we want to take it to a different level from mere enablement to significant positive impact on the city through digital transformation. In other words, we will utilize technology as an enabler to create significant positive impact for our city.”

    In order to bring the ‘Court of the Blockchain’ into existence, DIFC and Smart Dubai will be exploring how blockchain technology can supplement the process of verifying court judgements for cross-border enforcement. In other words, to create a digital court system that will allow judges to input judicial decisions on the blockchain. This is a ground-breaking concept as it will allow courts around the world to access case judgements in real time. There are numerous benefits that will arise upon the success of this concept, such as improving working methods and creating a well-organised legal system.

    The partnership also has future plans, in relation to handling disputes arising out of private and public blockchains, with regulation and contractual terms encoded within the smart contract. At the moment, transactions made via blockchain based smart contracts cannot be altered or reversed. This future plan will enable smart contracts to work with specific regulations and contractual conditions that have been attached to the contract.

    Obtained from DIFC Courts:

    “Future research will combine expertise and resources to investigate handling disputes arising out of private and public blockchains, with regulation and contractual terms encoded within the smart contract. Currently, blockchain-based smart contract transactions are irrevocable and there is no technical means to unwind a transaction. The joint task force 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 & 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 legaltech and judicial innovation, setting the standards for countries and judiciaries to follow.”

    Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office (SDO), said:

    “Led by the ambitious vision of our leadership, Smart Dubai has set out to transform the emirate into a fully-fledged smart city where all services are digitised. The emirate has become a global trailblazer in embracing advanced technologies and steering them towards the safety, comfort and happiness of our city’s residents and visitors. 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. 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,” Dr Aisha added.

    When the topic of blockchain arises, the first common thing that comes to mind in a person is cryptocurrency and bitcoin. There are still many people that already have difficulty in grasping this concept. Now that Dubai has launched a blockchain powered judiciary it may seem an unimaginable concept, especially to those who live in countries that are not up to date with blockchain technology. The idea of having a blockchain powered judiciary has proven that Distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be used in creative ways and across many organisations. This is truly a mark of exceptional technology innovation which will not only reform the financial industry, but will also spark the interest of using blockchain across a variety of industries and organisations.

    S B AISHAH