Former chief justice and ex-High Court president sworn in as judges of Dubai international financial court – The Irish Times

Former chief justice Frank Clarke and former president of the High Court Peter Kelly have been sworn in as judges of the court of appeal of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) courts.

The two former senior judges were among four people who participated in a virtual swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday before Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE, ruler of Dubai and president of the DIFC.

Sheikh Mohammed, according to a report in the Khaleej Times, highlighted the importance of constantly enhancing the DIFC’s judicial framework in order to further raise the confidence of the local and global business community.

The DIFC courts were established to serve international institutions operating in Dubai and the UAE. They began operating in 2006 and, unlike other areas of Dubai, do not operate Sharia law but are an independent English language common law judiciary based in the DIFC, with jurisdiction governing civil and commercial disputes nationally and worldwide.

Mr Justice Clarke retired as chief justice in October, but has since rejoined the Law Library, engaging mainly in mediation work. He was recently appointed chairman of the Law Reform Commission, which commands a €59,000 salary and is also chairman of the Civil Legal Aid Review committee. Mr. Justice Kelly retired as president of the High Court two years ago.

Both men were obliged to retire after turning 70. They were on salaries of more than €200,000 beforehand and would be in receipt of substantial pensions.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly. Photograph: Cyril Byrne (Cyril Byrne)

Both have significant commercial experience with Mr. Justice Kelly managing the Irish Commercial Court for several years after its establishment. They will serve as judges of the DIFC Court of Appeal, hearing mainly commercial cases. It is understood that the bulk of cases will be heard remotely with the judges only physically sitting in the Dubai court perhaps once a year.

Judges Clarke and Kelly are the first Irish judges appointed to serve on the court, the membership of which includes retired judges from jurisdictions including England, Scotland and Australia. The other two judges sworn in this week are William Young, a former president of the court of appeal of New Zealand, and Michael Black, a former chief justice of the federal court of Australia. The first female Emirati common law judge appointed in the UAE, Maha Al Mheir, was appointed to the DIFC in February last year.

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