DIFC Courts adopts digital authentication of documents

Dubai: The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has acquired the qualified electronic seal solution Ethaq, a paperless initiative that enables digital authenticity of documents with the support of UAE PASS, the secure national digital identity platform for the UAE.

Ethaq certificate is powered by Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) and its Root Certificate Authority. It recognises the DIFC Courts as the first Dubai entity to acquire the entirely paperless certificate that enables court documents to be electronically signed, issued, and authenticated.

Ethaq also integrates UAE PASS, the secure national digital identity platform of the UAE, in collaboration with Smart Dubai, to provide an end-to-end signing solution that combines both an electronic seal and an electronic signature solution based on digitally verifiable identities.

The electronic seal Ethaq will also reinforce the security and integrity of the documentation and eradicates tampering of official documents, enabling users to digitally verify the authenticity of any legal documents through the DIFC Courts website.

“As the first UAE Court to integrate this solution, we are maintaining our assertive push towards digital transformation and equipping our court users with the most advanced tools to ensure ease of accessing our services. This new innovative eService will ensure that the DIFC Courts continues to fulfil the requirements under the Dubai Paperless Strategy 2021 and create legal security and certainty for businesses in an era of technological disruption,” said Omar Juma Al Mheiri, Deputy Chief Justice, DIFC Courts.

As part of a phased approach, the ‘Ethaq’ capability will initially be secured for all court user service documents, such as DIFC Courts Judgments and Orders, with a secondary implementation wave for all DIFC Courts internal and operational documentation.

In 2018, launched as an initiative under the Courts of the Future, the DIFC Courts partnered with Smart Dubai to create the world’s first Court of the Blockchain. Building on existing dispute resolution services, the alliance is exploring how to aid verification of court judgments for cross-border enforcement.

“This initiative reinforces the efficiency of digital services to support the city’s smart transformation and achieves the visionary goals set by the Dubai Cyber Security Strategy,” said Yousef Al Shaibani, Director General, Dubai Electronic Security Center

In 2018, as part of its digital strategy, the DIFC Courts was also the first courts service in the region to launch the most globally advanced ‘paperless’ e-Bundling service, pioneering new online dispute resolution services. The secure cloud-based technology allows court documents to be uploaded from anywhere in the world, enabling judges, lawyers, and courts staff to access case information in various formats, across multiple locations, and share with numerous users, reducing the need for duplicate paper bundles.

Over the past 12 months, the DIFC Courts has introduced several initiatives aimed at alleviating costs for court users, including the suspension of all fees related to the digital e-Bundling service, with over 100,000 case pages uploaded to this system in the first eight months of 2020, ensuring paper reduction of over 600,000 pages.



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