DIFC Court Claims Jurisdiction in Indian Bank Lawsuit
For Immediate Release. DUBAI, Nov. 3, 2014 – In a judgment issued on October 30, 2014 by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Court of First Instance, the court confirmed its jurisdiction over a lawsuit by an expatriate investor, resident in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, against the Indian-based, ICICI Bank, registered in the DIFC.
In May, Indian citizen Kishanchand Gangaram Bhatia filed suit in the DIFC Court of First Instance alleging that ICICI Bank induced him to invest in an unsuitable fund and had not disclosed material information relating to the fund despite documented requests. The defendant bank then filed a June application to challenge the DIFC court’s jurisdiction over the suit. The defendant bank’s application was primarily made on three grounds: (1) that the claim is time-barred; (2) that the claim does not disclose a valid or viable claim or action; and (3) that the parties had contractually opted out of the DIFC jurisdiction and had executed a jurisdiction agreement for the laws and courts of Singapore.
Justice Roger Giles considered all three grounds raised by the defendant bank and upon hearing counsels for the parties, concluded that the Defendant’s application to challenge the DIFC court’s jurisdiction should be dismissed.
“That the court dismissed the defendant bank’s application despite contractual documents that contained opt-out provisions has significance beyond our case,” said Arti Sangar, Diaz Reus (Dubai) partner and lead attorney for Bhatia. “This decision should encourage investors to initiate lawsuits against banks registered in the DIFC if they suffer losses on their investments due to negligent advice or misrepresentations made by such financial institutions.”
“Since its establishment in 2004 the DIFC has steadily grown in stature,” said Carlos F. Gonzalez, Diaz Reus partner. “Its growing reputation enhances Dubai’s standing as a global hub in trade, finance and commerce.”