Blockchain has another believer – this time in Dubai. The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Courts announced a plan in partnership with the city’s Smart Dubai initiative to reshape the judiciary by creating “the world’s first Court of the Blockchain”. By moving to a “blockchain-powered future”, the authority is hoping to create a more efficient legal system.
The DIFC is responsible for overseeing all civil and commercial disputes involving both domestic and international financial transactions. Chief executive and registrar Amna Al Owais believes that blockchain will allow the body to “firmly [position itself] at the forefront of legaltech and judicial innovation, setting the standards for countries and judiciaries to follow.”
Smart Dubai and the DIFC will join forces to create a taskforce, designed to develop a network built on blockchain and smart contracts for use in verifying court judgments, as well as sharing documents in real-time to assist with cross-border law enforcement. The taskforce will also work to further streamline the judicial process by eliminating inefficiencies like document duplication.
The taskforce has interesting ideas for refining currently-irrevocable smart contracts, announcing they will look to “incorporate logic and allow for various forms of exceptions and conditions” into their smart contracts “for seamless and more efficient dispute resolution.” This will be part of the overall effort to “combine expertise and resources to investigate handling disputes arising out of private and public blockchains, with regulation and contractual terms encoded within the smart contract.”
This is not Smart Dubai’s first foray into the technology. The office previously announced their ‘Dubai Blockchain Strategy’ in 2016, a comprehensive, transformative plan to use the immutable ledger in multiple sectors throughout the city – for e-governance, land registration, as part of a citywide payments system, to facilitate passport-less travel for tourists, and other uses. The ambitious plan seeks to “run 100% of applicable government transactions on Blockchain by 2020,” says SDO director-general Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr.
Bin Bishr noted that “an invention of this caliber and potential requires an equally disruptive set of rules and an empowered institution to uphold them.” The partnership between SDO and DIFC “[allows SDO] to work together and create the world’s first disruptive court, helping to truly unlock the power of blockchain technology.” SDO and DIFC stand to serve notice around the world about the power and malleability of blockchain for uses in government and beyond.
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