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Why did the DIFC Courts issue a code of conduct?

Why did the DIFC Courts issue a code of conduct?

DIFC Courts has issued a code of conduct to ensure clients get the best representation from its lawyers. So, does this mean clients didn’t get ‘best representation’ before?

May 21, 2009 12:54 by

The Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) independent, common law judicial system – DIFC Courts – has published a code of conduct for its professional users to consult. The code, which is said to be the first of its kind in the region, stipulates a standard of conduct that all legal practitioners must abide by.

Officially called ‘The Code of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners in the DIFC Court’, it was developed following a review of the codes of conduct and professional ethics of various jurisdictions.

The new code meant to ensure that all parties in a dispute have access to lawyers who practice professional standards of advocacy. The rules focus on six areas: the courts’ governing principles, duties owed to the courts, duties owed to clients, duties owed to other practitioners, general duties and sanctions for breach of the code. Compliance with these regulations is meant to assure clients that cases heard in the courts are conducted in a timely and proficient manner and that all parties can be sure of receiving fair and consistent representation.

Although the code is said to be the first in the region and seems pretty straightforward, it raises a question why the DIFC drafted it. In other countries like the United States and United Kingdom, the codes of conduct, also known as solicitors regulations, are more in depth and are usually part of their law degree.

Philip Punwar, a lawyer at Al Tamimi & Company who helped outline the code, said it was drafted “to reflect professional conduct rules that are recognized across the civil and common law world. Although the drafters had access to a range of previously published Codes of Legal Conduct, the present draft is wholly original and specific to practice before the DIFC Court.”

Okay. But were lawyers adopting wrong practices, prompting the introduction of this code? If that is a reason, are clients of those lawyers being compensated? What about other courts in the UAE? Are they planning to publish and implement a similar code of conduct?

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