This team represents clients in a broad range of disputes under the jurisdiction of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts and Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) Courts which often have an international or cross-border element.  Our team can also put you in contact with an employment lawyer in the UAE who can provide further support.

The department also conducts complex arbitrations administered by the DIFC Court and ICC arbitration centres.

For all expatriates living in the UAE it is essential to have a well drafted Will especially when you have a family.

Our lawyers are specialized in drafting DIFC Wills and Robert Whitehead is also a certified DIFC Courts Wills Draftsmen.

Our Key Area of Expertise

  • Commercial Disputes Banking & Finance
  • Construction Arbitration & Litigation
  • White Collar Crimes
  • DSFA Compliance & regulatory
  • Maritime
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • Intellectual Property
  • Employment

DIFC Court

Dubai International Financial Centre Court (DIFC) was established in 2006. The DIFC Courts are an independent English language common law judiciary, based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) with jurisdiction governing civil and commercial disputes nationally, regionally, and worldwide. DIFC has its own independent, internationally regulated regulator and judicial system, common law framework, global financial exchange, tax-friendly regime, and a large business community.

The DIFC Courts deal exclusively with all cases and claims arising out of the DIFC and its operations, and any other claims in which all parties agree in writing to use the DIFC Courts. 


The DIFC is an independent jurisdiction under the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates, with its own civil and commercial laws distinct from those of the wider UAE, and its own courts. DIFC Courts do not have jurisdiction over criminal matters.

Types of Courts:

Court of First Instance (CFI)

Cases where the amount in dispute exceeds Dhs 500, 000.The CFI has exclusive jurisdiction over any civil or commercial case when it relates to the DIFC, and following the amendment to the governing law in October 2011, DIFC Courts can also hear cases when the contract in question specifies DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction (pre-dispute jurisdiction) or when both parties elect to use DIFC Courts to resolve a dispute which has already arisen (post-dispute jurisdiction). CFI is comprised of a single Judge.

Court of Appeal (CA)

Deals with a variety of civil and commercial disputes. It comprises at least three judges, with the Chief Justice. The CA has exclusive jurisdiction over: 1. Appeals filed against judgments and awards made by the CFI. 2. Interpretation of any article of the DIFC’s laws based upon the request of any of the DIFC’s establishments, if the establishment obtains leave of the Chief Justice in this regard. Such interpretation shall have the power of law. 3. The Court of Appeal is the highest court in the DIFC Courts and no appeal shall arise from a decision of this court.

Small Claim Tribunal (SCT)

The reasons to use the DIFC Small Claims Tribunal is to reach a swift resolution of your dispute while minimising cost expenditure  and delay and deals with matters up to AED 500,000.