What has happened?

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has announced that it is to partner with government-backed Smart Dubai initiative to create the world’s first "Court of the Blockchain".

What does this mean?

In a press release, the Dubai-based court that governs with civil and commercial disputes nationally and internationally, announced that it is to team up with Smart Dubai to create a task force that will initially explore how to aid verification of court judgments for cross-border enforcement.

The DIFC said that the partnership is the first step in "creating a blockchain-powered future for the judiciary".

The aim is to streamline the judicial process, eliminate document duplication and generally drive greater efficiency.

"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," the release stated.

However, currently, blockchain-based smart contract transactions are irrevocable and a transaction cannot be unwind.

The taskforce will therefore model smart contracts across the blockchain that incorporate logic and allow for various forms of exceptions and conditions

Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, said in the release that her organisation has set out to transform the emirate into a city where all services are digitised.

"The emirate has become a global trailblazer in embracing advanced technologies… One of the most notable of these innovations is Blockchain, where the Dubai Blockchain Strategy seeks to run 100% of applicable government transactions on Blockchain by 2020."

She 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."

In 2017, the DIFC Courts and the Dubai Future Foundation launched the Courts of the Future Forum, which is tasked with designing guidelines and prototyping a commercial court that can operate anywhere worldwide.

In 2018, the initiative was extended to other global commercial courts and expanded to create working groups to research areas such as blockchain.

Next steps

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