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Court of the Blockchain Announced

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFCCourts have partnered with Smart Dubai to create what they say is the world’s first “Court of the Blockchain”. According to an announcement on 30 July, they will initially explore how to aid verification of court judgments for cross-border enforcement. They say they plan to create a blockchain-based court designed to streamline the judicial process, remove document duplications, and drive efficiencies. Future research announced will investigate handling disputes arising out of private and public blockchains and out of regulation and contractual terms encoded within smart contracts.

Currently, they say that blockchain-based smart contract transactions are irrevocable and there is no technical means to unwind a transaction. The joint taskforce will aim to model smart contracts across the blockchain that incorporate logic and allow for various forms of exceptions and conditions for seamless and more efficient dispute resolution.

Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, said: “… the Dubai Blockchain Strategy seeks to run 100% of applicable government transactions on Blockchain by 2020… An invention of this calibre and potential requires an equally disruptive set of rules and an empowered institution to uphold them. This is where our partnership with DIFC Courts comes in, allowing us to work together and create the world’s first disruptive court, helping to truly unlock the power of blockchain technology.” 

In 2017 the DIFC Courts, in partnership with Dubai Future Foundation, launched the Courts of the Future Forum, aiming to design guidelines and prototype a commercial court that could operate anywhere worldwide. In 2018, the Forum increased its mandate to extend this initiative to other global commercial courts, and to engage specialist technology sector and private sector participation, creating working groups to research areas such as blockchain.

Copyright 2020 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 214


About this Author

Jonathan Lawrence, KL Gates Law Firm, Restructuring and Insolvency Attorney

Jonathan Lawrence has been a finance partner in the London office since 2005.

Alongside his general banking and finance work, he concentrates his practice on restructuring & insolvency matters -- Legal 500 UK 2016 Corporate restructuring and insolvency “K&L Gates LLP … maintains a ‘quality team’ that includes ‘impressive’ team head Jonathan Lawrence”.

Mr. Lawrence also plays a leadership role in the firm’s global Islamic Finance practice -- Legal 500 UK 2016 Islamic Finance “K&L Gates LLP is...