Together with DMCC, we have added four ways in which we can help member companies benefit from the Small Claims Tribunal.
Dedicated DMCC Ambassador for inquiries
Starting on 20th March, one of our Courts team, Hayley Norton, will be your contact to guide you through SCT processes. We’ll also be setting up a fast-track e-mail address to handle queries, and you can use the current special SCT microsite – also accessed through DIFC Courts website – for when you want to search for information and basic advice.
Skip first SCT consultation
Our most practical innovation is the way in which we have adapted the SCT process to dovetail with DMCC mediation. You can skip our first step, known as a Consultation and progress rapidly to the point of resolution, our SCT hearing. Typically in the SCT there are one to two Consultations where we aim to resolve issues through mediation. So a Consultation is essentially the same as DMCC mediation. Where it has not been successful, you can move on to the Hearing stage to resolve your disputes. A Hearing is before a judge, and while informal, is like any court case. No lawyers are present, unless the Judge gives prior permission, which helps to keep proceedings simple, but you do need to prepare. And of course, you need to make sure that you have submitted a SCT claim form, attaching the DMCC mediation form. This way we will know that you have already gone through DMCC mediation.
Accelerated case plan
Ahead of the Hearing, we will offer both parties the opportunity to agree to an accelerated case plan and to decide the timing of the steps for preparation for the Hearing. We can move fast, but you do need to be prepared. You need to make sure that you submit all documentation and arguments; that your filings are organized so that the judge can clearly understand your arguments; that you have taken legal advice so that you are sure of the legal arguments relevant to your case, and that you are clear on how to present them to the Judge.
DMCC specific opt-in clause
When the new Mediation Services pages are up on the refreshed DMCC website, you will also see a specific DMCC opt-in clauses. There will be one for new contracts, and another for existing contracts. Remember: both parties will need to agree these to use the SCT.Once the Hearing is complete, a Judgement or Order (including a Consent Order) will be issued, which leads to the next phase of the process: enforcement. In the next post, we will look at what this means for both parties in the dispute.