In June 2019, the Government of Dubai ordered the Emirate's courts to suspend claims against Meydan City Corporation, a government owned developer, as well as its subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively "Meydan"), pending the formation of a Special Judicial Committee ("Committee"). The directive also stopped execution of legal attachments against each of the companies' assets.
According to a recent report in The Financial Times, contractors have recently been sent letters informing them to suspend legal proceedings against Meydan and have their disputes heard by the Committee. The composition of the Committee is expected to be finalised within the week and subsequently hear around 40 cases valued at several billion United Arab Emirates dirhams. It is said that the Committee will aim to resolve all disputes involving Meydan within two years — faster perhaps than what could typically be expected in regular court proceedings.
In the past, Dubai has utilized special judicial committees to resolve multiple claims against Dubai based businesses. In 2009, the Emirate issued 'Decree No. 57' in response to concerns over the solvency of Dubai World, an investment company that managed and supervised a portfolio of businesses and projects for the Government of Dubai.
Decree No. 57 established a three judge tribunal with a number of features similar to common law courts, however uniquely seated within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The tribunal was tasked with ruling on claims against Dubai World, its subsidiaries and any person related to the settlement of the financial obligations of the company. Decree No. 57 also established an entirely new insolvency law which exclusively applied to Dubai World, noting that Decree No.57 pre-dated Federal Decree No. 9 of 2016 on Bankruptcy.
We anticipate that it is likely that the Committee will function similarly to the Tribunal established under Decree No. 57. If correct, any proceedings before the Committee would be conducted in English, be open to the public, issue decisions by a majority vote of its members and be able to appoint experts (as appropriate), to advise on matters within their expertise. Decisions of the Committee would be final, irrevocable and not subject to appeal or review, and enforced through an execution judge in the Dubai Courts.
As of the date of this alert, no additional details are available on the processes involved. We will issue a further update once they are available.
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