"An absolute breath of fresh air": A personal perspective on using the SCT
Christopher Wragg is a Partner at BWA Middle East, a company that provides financial and management advice to global clients in construction, development and facilities management sectors across an entire spectrum of private and public enterprise.Christopher explains his company's experience of using the DIFC Courts' SCT.
Your company is based outside of the DIFC. Why did you choose to opt-in to its jurisdiction?
We were aware of the DIFC Courts and the fact they hear cases in English. It was also our understanding that they had streamlined processes and focused on making dispute resolution both efficient and cost effective. So when they opened up their jurisdiction to companies located outside the freezone, they were a natural choice for us and we began writing the necessary clause into our contracts from that point onwards. The Small Claims Tribunal was a particularly attractive option because as a SME the size of disputes we are likely to have are probably not best dealt with in the full DIFC Courts.
How did you find the experience of using the SCT?
We were pleasantly surprised with how easy the process was. To file our case was simply a matter of uploading the necessary documents, writing a small description, and paying the required fees. The other party then immediately received notice that a claim has been filed against them.In our case this was sufficient to prompt settlement, and in a matter of two weeks we received a call telling us to collect our cheque from the DIFC Courts. This was especially pleasing as we had anticipated it might take two to three months to receive payment.
Did you have any interaction with the SCT Registry Team?
The process was largely conducted online but we did need to check on a few things along the way. Every time we called the Registry Team it was clear that they clearly knew exactly what they were talking about and were able to resolve our queries very quickly. There were also a few times when the Registry Team needed to contact us, and they always did so without any prompting or follow-up. We duplicated payment of court fees, for instance, and the team from the DIFC Courts contacted us to say it had been corrected and that the money would be returned to us within five days, which was impressive.
How would you describe the overall experience of using the DIFC Courts' SCT?
The DIFC Courts' SCT was an absolute breath of fresh air. They took the sting out of a potentially prickly situation and helped us to settle our claim quickly and with the minimum of fuss.