About the Tribunal
On 13 December 2009, the Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, issued Decree No. 57 of 2009 (amended by Decree No.11 of 2010) establishing a Tribunal to handle various matters pertaining to the settlement of the financial position of Dubai World and its subsidiaries. The Special Tribunal related to Dubai World (the ‘Tribunal’) was established in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The Tribunal is entitled to hear and decide, inter alia, any demand to dissolve or liquidate the state-owned corporation. Sir Anthony Evans, former Chief Justice of DIFC Courts, was appointed as the Chairman of the Tribunal. Michael Hwang SC, Chief Justice of DIFC Courts and Sir John Chadwick, Deputy Chief justice of DIFC Courts were appointed as members of the Tribunal, with a recent addition in 2012 of Sir David Steel as a fourth Member of the Tribunal also a Judge of the DIFC Courts. The Registrar and Deputy Registrar of the DIFC Courts have the same capacity within the Tribunal.
The Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear and decide any demand or claim submitted against:
- the Dubai World Group, including hearing and deciding any demand to dissolve or liquidate the Dubai World Group; and
- any person related to the settlement of the financial obligations of the Dubai World Group, including the Chairman and members of the Board of Directors, as well as all the employees and workers of the Dubai World Group.
That jurisdiction was extended to include disputes brought by Dubai World and its subsidiaries by Decree No. 11 of 2010 – Amending Decree No. 57 of 2009.
Decision and Orders
The Tribunal has power to issue any interim and interlocutory orders and decisions, including injunctions preventing any person from undertaking an act or requiring a person to perform an act, or other order as the Tribunal considers appropriate. Decisions and orders of the Tribunal are to be issued by the unanimous or majority votes of its members and in the name of the HH The Ruler of Dubai. The decisions and orders of the Tribunal are final, irrevocable and not subject to any appeal or review.
The decisions and orders issued in the Emirate by the Tribunal are to be executed by a competent execution judge. The execution judge is not to take any action that may hinder the execution of the decision or order issued by the Tribunal.
As provided by Decree No. 57 of 2009, the Tribunal is to have its seat and hold hearings in the DIFC. All proceedings before the Tribunal are to be open to the public unless the Tribunal decides otherwise for considerations relating to the conduct of justice or to protect confidentiality of information.
The Opening Statement of the Chairman
The first meeting of the Tribunal took place on December 14 2009 and with these opening remarks the Chairman of the Tribunal started the meeting:
“This is the first meeting of the Judicial Tribunal established by H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai by Decree No. 57 issued yesterday.
The three members of the Tribunal appointed by the Decree are present – myself, Michael Hwang SC and Sir John Chadwick.
The purpose of His Highness’s Decree is to provide a framework for company re-organisation in an orderly fashion and in the best interests of the companies and their creditors and all interested parties including bondholders and shareholders.
The three members appointed by the Decree are all Justices of the DIFC Courts. The DIFC Courts exercise a common law jurisdiction within the area of the DIFC, itself part of the Emirate of Dubai. I should emphasise that the Tribunal is an independent judicial body established by the Decree and that its existence has no effect whatsoever on the separate existence and independence of the DIFC Courts. The Courts’ jurisdiction is unaffected by the Decree and it will continue to be exercised by the appointed Judges of the Courts including two resident Justices and three other non-resident judges, including Justice Sir Anthony Colman, who is present in the Courts today.
This meeting of the Tribunal takes place in the Courtroom of the DIFC Courts for reasons of convenience only. Future meetings may be held here, or in other and possibly larger spaces within the DIFC. The Tribunal’s procedures will be governed by the Rules of Court which have been adopted by the DIFC Courts, with suitable amendments by the Tribunal as may prove desirable from time to time; but I should emphasise, again, that the Tribunal is an independent body, established by His Highness’s Decree.
With that introduction, in the course of which I have introduced the two other members of the Tribunal, I can proceed to the first business of the Tribunal, if there is any to be conducted today.”