The DIFC Courts and the Dubai courts have announced that a recent arbitral award of the DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre has been enforced in Dubai (outside of the DIFC) by an execution order of the Dubai courts. This is the first time that the 2010 protocol of enforcement entered into between DIFC Courts and the Dubai courts has been used to enable a successful party in DIFC-LCIA arbitration proceedings to rely on it outside of the freezone.

The protocol of enforcement sets out procedures under which judgments, orders and awards of the DIFC Courts are enforced outside of the DIFC by the Dubai courts. In relation to an arbitral award of the DIFC-LCIA centre, if the award has been recognised and ratified by the DIFC Courts, it falls within the same procedures.

The protocol provides, amongst other things, that the judgment, order or award must be final, translated into Arabic by an approved translator and accompanied by a letter from the DIFC Courts Registry requesting that it be enforced. Importantly, if the procedures are followed, the Dubai court judge has no jurisdiction to reopen the judgment, order or award on its merits.

The DIFC-LCIA arbitration brings the experience and organisation of an established arbitral institution to the Middle East, including access to the LCIA list of arbitrators. The fact that a DIFC arbitration award has now been enforced in practice in Dubai underlines the usefulness of the DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre as a dispute resolution forum for overseas investors in the UAE who are interested in quality and the certainty of the outcome of proceedings.