Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 26 November 2015: The DIFC Courts and DIFC Wills and Probate Registry celebrated UAE Innovation Week by winning two separate industry awards for the success of various new initiatives launched in the past year.

A key theme running throughout UAE Innovation Week has been the importance of innovation to the successful delivery of government services, which is evident in the work of both the DIFC Courts and DIFC Wills and Probate Registry.

On November 25, 2015, the DIFC Courts division took home the “Excellence in Innovation Award” at The Middle East Legal Awards in Dubai organised by The Oath. The Courts were recognised for putting innovation at the centre of their operational model, for instance becoming the first Dubai Government entity to receive five stars under a new rating system for government services, appointing the UAE’s first female judge, and launching the country’s first pro bono scheme, small claims tribunal and code of conduct for lawyers.

The award also acknowledges the DIFC Courts work to become the world’s most connected court system, with a number of important cooperation agreements signed in 2015, including with the Supreme Court of Singapore, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Supreme Court of Korea.

On the same evening and in the same city the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry was honoured in the “Excellence in Innovation” category of the Middle East Accountancy and Finance Excellence Awards, organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The award recognised how the innovative Registry has provided legal certainty and a comprehensible inheritance solution for non-Muslims with assets in Dubai since launching in May 2015.

The Registry provides individuals with the ability to register English language wills that allow their Dubai-based assets to be transferred upon death according to their instructions. The rules governing the Registry reflect the spirit of existing UAE laws, which provide non-Muslims the right to choose the way in which their estates are distributed.

The DIFC Courts and DIFC Wills and Probate Registry are two divisions of the DIFC Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA). It was established in 2014 as a platform for delivering legal excellence in the Middle East and as the gateway to a suite of services available to businesses operating in Dubai. Other DRA divisions include the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre and Academy of Law.

Mark Beer, OBE, Chief Executive of the Dubai International Financial Centre’s Dispute Resolution Authority, said: “The DRA’s divisions have been on a journey of innovation and achievement throughout 2015, with the DIFC Courts handling a record caseload and the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry being fully booked from day one.  Innovation is at the heart of both success stories and I congratulate the teams on winning these two prestigious awards.”