DIFC Courts strengthening the paperless mission by taking up 'Ethaq' electronic seal
Recently on May 8, 2021, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts have acquired the certified electronic seal solution called Ethaq, a paperless initiative that enables digital authenticity of documents with the help of UAW PASS that is the secured national digital identity platform for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC) and its root certificate authority powered Ethaq. It recognizes the DIFC Courts as the first Dubai entity to obtain the paperless certificate, which allows court documents to be signed, issued and authenticated electronically.Ethaq also works with Smart Dubai to incorporate UAE PASS, the UAE's safe national digital identity network, to provide an end-to-end signing solution that incorporates both an electronic seal and an electronic signature based on digitally verifiable identities.It would also strengthen the protection and credibility of the record and eliminate tampering of official records, allowing users to digitally verify the validity of any legal documents through the DIFC Courts website.
"This latest groundbreaking E-Service will ensure that the DIFC Courts continues to fulfill the requirements under the Dubai Paperless Strategy 2021 and provide legal stability and assurance for companies in an era of technological disruption," said Omar Juma Al Mheiri, Deputy Chief Justice, DIFC Courts.
The DESC's Director-General, Yousef Al Shaibani, stated, that Ethaq is one of DESC's ongoing initiatives to implement cutting-edge technology to secure Dubai's digital infrastructure. This initiative boosts the efficiency of digital services to aid the city's smart transformation and achieves the Dubai Cyber Security Strategy's visionary goals.
The DIFC Courts collaborated with Smart Dubai to build the world's first blockchain court in 2018, as part of the Courts of the Future initiative. The alliance is looking at how to help verify court decisions for cross-border compliance, building on existing conflict resolution services. The collaboration would create a blockchain-powered future for the judiciary, with far-reaching benefits such as streamlining the judicial process, eliminating document duplications, and increasing efficiencies in the legal ecosystem. The new electronic seal initiative will enhance and strengthen the progress of this parallel blockchain compliance project.
Since its inception in 2006, technology has been at the heart of the DIFC Courts' business model. The region's first digitally connected courtroom and re-engineered state-of-the-art e-Court Management System (CMS) were among the many innovations pioneered to improve access to justice in 2016.The DIFC Courts are also the first court service in the country to launch the most innovative "paperless" e-Bundling service, introducing the new online dispute settlement services, as part of its digital strategy in 2018.
The DIFC Courts have implemented several measures aimed at reducing costs for court users in the last year 2020, including the suspension of all fees associated with the automated e-Bundling program, which has seen over 100,000 case pages submitted to the system in the first eight months of 2020, resulting in a paper reduction of over 600,000 pages.
According to the CEO of the Smart Dubai Government, Wesam Lootah, "Smart Dubai is leading the way to create the emirate the world's smartest and happiest capital, with the mission to go paperless being a key component of that goal. Dubai is leading the way in terms of resource management, environmental protection, and the development of digitally protected transactions by going paperless across all sectors and employing cutting-edge technology."
The Ethaq capability will be secured first for all court consumer service records, such as DIFC Courts Judgments and Orders, as part of a staggered strategy, with a secondary deployment wave for all DIFC Courts internal and organizational paperwork.