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DIFC Courts adds further international expertise with appointment of top Singaporean judge

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 8 March 2017: Adding further diversity and international experience to its judicial bench, the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) Courts today announced the appointment of a leading Singaporean judge of appeal, Justice Judith Prakash, to the Courts’ judiciary.

Justice Prakash will serve on a part-time basis to hear appeals cases, while continuing her role as a Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Singapore. She brings over two decades of experience as a judge, and in 2016, was the first woman to be appointed as Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Singapore. Prior to that, she served as Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court from April 1992, and was appointed a High Court Judge in 1995. Justice Prakash is held in high esteem within the international legal community and specialises in complex commercial cases, arbitration, company, and trust law. She also chairs the Singapore Academy of Law's Law Reform Committee and Publications Committee, and is the Co-Chair of the Medical Litigation Review Committee, tasked to address the challenges in medical litigation.

Commenting on the appointment, Michael Hwang, Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts said: “The DIFC Courts strong reputation has been earned through our ability to deal with highly complex commercial disputes, and we are confident that Justice Prakash will give international and local corporations even more assurance when they choose to use our jurisdiction. We also take great pride in our achievements in terms of gender equality. Women are strongly represented in the running of the Courts, and we are delighted to add further top female talent to our judicial bench with the appointment of Justice Judith Prakash. However, I would add that Justice Prakash’s appointment is purely on merit regardless of gender.  I have known her for many years as a colleague and consider her as one of the top legal brains in Singapore.  We are privileged to have her join our Bench.”

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon of the Supreme Court of Singapore said: “I am delighted that the Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has appointed Justice Judith Prakash as a Judge of the DIFC Courts. With her vast experience in complex commercial and arbitration cases, I am confident that Justice Prakash will contribute positively to the work of the DIFC Courts. This appointment is not just a recognition of Justice Prakash’s ability but a recognition of the calibre and strength of the Singapore Bench in the commercial dispute resolution arena.”

Justice Prakash is the second female judge to be appointed to Dubai’s English-language common law jurisdiction, following Malaysia’s Tan Seri Dato Siti Norma Yaakob who served from 2008 to 2013. Her appointment underscores the DIFC Courts’ track record of employing women in senior positions, further increasing the participation of women in the top echelons of the UAE’s legal sector.

 

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About the DIFC Courts

The UAE’s DIFC Courts administer a unique English-language common law system – offering swift, independent justice to settle local and international commercial or civil disputes. The Courts, based in Dubai, provide certainty through transparent, enforceable judgments from internationally-recognised judges, who adhere to the highest global legal standards. The DIFC Courts are independent from, but complementary to, the UAE’s Arabic-language civil law system – offering a choice that strengthens both processes while ensuring public access to world-class justice.

In October 2011, a decree of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, opened the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction to businesses from all across the GCC region and beyond to provide the international business community with access to one of the most advanced commercial courts in the world.

The DIFC Courts were established under laws enacted by the late HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in September 2004.  The laws establishing the DIFC Courts are designed to ensure that the DIFC Courts provide the certainty, flexibility and efficiency expected by Court users. Nearly 500 cases have been resolved through the DIFC Courts since 2008, while over 90% of Small Claims Tribunal cases are concluded within three weeks. The Courts’ community-focused approach encourages early settlement, while their successful track record supports Dubai’s growing status as an international business hub.

In line with HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, the DIFC Courts serve to develop the UAE national workforce and enhance the competitiveness of Emirati advocates.  The DIFC Courts are spearheading training programmes predominantly aimed at local Emirati lawyers, which offer knowledge of, and qualifications in, the English-language common law system.

 

About the Supreme Court of Singapore

The Singapore Judiciary’s function is to administer justice to the people of Singapore. It is made up of the Supreme Court and the State Courts.

The Supreme Court consists of the High Court and the Court of Appeal and hears both criminal and civil cases. The High Court exercises original and appellate jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases. It hears cases in the first instance as well as cases on appeal from the State Courts. The Court of Appeal generally hears appeals against the decisions of the High Court in both civil and criminal matters. It became Singapore's final court of appeal on 8 April 1994, when appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council were abolished.

On the international front, the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) was launched on 5 January 2015 as a division of the Supreme Court, providing parties a prime destination for resolving international commercial disputes. The SICC builds upon the success of Singapore’s vibrant arbitration sector to further enhance Singapore’s international standing as a key legal and business hub in Asia, as well as a leading centre for international commercial dispute resolution.

 

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