New legal agreement furthers NSW-UAE relationship

12 September 2013

Legal and business ties between NSW and Dubai were strengthened this week with the signing of a Memorandum of Guidance (MoG) between the NSW Supreme Court and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts.

It is the first time an Australian court has entered into an understanding to consult and cooperate with the DIFC Courts on the enforcement of each party's money judgments in the other party's court.

The MoG was signed by NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst and DIFC Courts Chief Justice Michael Hwang in the presence of NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade & Investment Andrew Stoner.

The DIFC Courts are part of the legal system of the United Arab Emirates – Australia's largest Middle Eastern trading partner. They are the leading English language commercial courts in the Middle East, resolving international civil and commercial disputes through the highest standards of legal procedure.

The NSW Supreme Court has unlimited jurisdiction within NSW in civil matters and also hears the most serious criminal matters. Its civil and commercial jurisdiction is the busiest of any Australian court, and is internationally renowned for its experience and expertise in dispute resolution.

Chief Justices Bathurst and Hwang agreed the MoG would give certainty and clarity for investors, businesses and the legal professions operating in each jurisdiction by defining, for the first time ever, the method of enforcement of judgments.

Chief Justice Bathurst said: "Dubai represents an expanding area of trade for NSW and Australian entrepreneurs so it makes sense for our respective legal systems to better support these growing business relationships with clear and concise reciprocal procedures. This agreement gives certainty to cross-border enforcement of monetary judgments between our jurisdictions."

Following the signing, Mr Stoner said: "The NSW Government welcomes this initiative to build the relationship between our State and the UAE, which is one of our priority markets. Bringing greater certainty to cross-border commerce will contribute to the mutual growth of international trade."

The MoG is concerned only with judgments requiring a person to pay a sum of money to another person. It sets out the requirements and procedures for enforcement of DIFC Courts' judgments in the NSW Supreme Court and vice versa.

It is the second such agreement signed by the DIFC Courts, which earlier this year entered into a similar agreement with the Commercial Court of England and Wales.