Dubai Plans to 'Disrupt' Its Own Legal System with Blockchain

Dubai is planning to develop what it calls a "Court of the Blockchain" as part of a wider push for smart government operations.

Jul 30, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:13 a.m. UTC

A Dubai-based international court dealing with civil and commercial disputes in the financial industry is planning to launch what it calls a "Court of the Blockchain" to streamline legal operations.

The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Courts announced on Monday that it is teaming up with the government-backed Smart Dubai initiative to form a task force that will focus on developing the blockchain-based legal platform.

The DIFC said the goal is to employ a network based on blockchain and smart contracts to allow different courts to share information in a decentralized manner. With the system, it said, the need to carry out manual tasks such as document duplication will be eliminated, bringing a higher level of efficiency to the current system.

As an initial step, the two partners said the task force will focus on an R&D effort to put court judgement data on a blockchain so institutions can verify and share information in real-time for better cross-border law enforcement.

"Future research will 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," according the the release.

The effort comes as part of the Dubai's wider push to bring smart innovations to its government operations.

The Smart Dubai Office's director general, Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, explained in today's announcement that Dubai's blockchain strategy "seeks to run 100 percent of applicable government transactions on blockchain by 2020."

The director general added:

"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."

As part of the 2020 project, various government bodies have already announced individual blockchain initiatives.

For instance, in May, the Department of Economic Development announced its plan to develop a commercial business registry platform using blockchain tech. And, last year, the Dubai Immigration and Visas Department also said it was working on blockchain-based passports that could potentially eliminate manual checks at the U.A.E. city's international airport.

Dubai image via Shutterstock

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