DIFC Law Amendments Enacted, Reinforces Alignment with Leading Global Financial Centres

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Dubai, UAE: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, announced today that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, has enacted the DIFC Laws Amendment Law, DIFC Law No. 2 of 2022 to incorporate amendments that keep the regulatory framework aligned with international best practice.

The enactment facilitates amendments to Data Protection Law of 2020, Insolvency Law of 2019 (and Insolvency Regulations), Electronic Transactions Law of 2017, Trust Law of 2018, Strata Title Law of 2007 and Common Reporting Standard Law of 2018, as well as to the rules of interpretation in various DIFC Laws.

Amendments to the Data Protection Law of 2020 and Insolvency Law of 2019 (and Insolvency Regulations) were subject to public consultation. Feedback from various stakeholders was valuable when shaping the amendments.

Data Protection Law

The amendments reflect DIFC’s commitment to maintain its position at the forefront of privacy legislation in the region. The amendments include clarifying the process for judicial redress for individuals, to align more closely with international best practice, especially in light of recent precedent-setting rulings in Europe regarding data subjects’ rights. They set out better accountability requirements for Controllers and Processors where individuals’ rights may be impacted where a request for access to data is considered vexatious or repetitive. Commission powers have also been refined regarding available information when rendering a direction or determination of contravention of the Data Protection Law and alignment has been made regarding the intention of DIFC Courts Law regarding the imposition and payment of court costs by DIFC Bodies.

Insolvency Law and Insolvency Regulations 

Amendments to the Insolvency Law bring bonding requirements in line with current practices in the UAE and ensure consistency in the liquidator’s reporting obligations in respect of the different types of liquidation procedures available under the Insolvency Law.

Electronic Transactions Law

The scope of the Law has been expanded by removing exclusions relating to electronic records, electronic contracts and electronic signatures being used in relation to the sale, purchase or long-term lease (for a term of more than 10 years) of real property. This change also aligns with DIFC’s commitment to the Dubai Government’s paperless strategy.

Trust Law

The definition of Ultimate Beneficial Owner has been amended under the Trust Law. This addresses a recommendation made by the Financial Action Task Force to clarify the definition.

Strata Title Law

The Amendment Law incorporates minor amendments to align certain definitions of the Strata Title Law with the respective definitions of Real Property Law of 2018, as well as correcting typographical errors.

Common Reporting Standard Law

Amendments ensure that DIFC’s common reporting standard (CSR) framework aligns with the federal CSR framework, as recently updated by Cabinet Resolution No. 93 of 2021, with the purpose of ultimately meeting the relevant standards issued by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Key amendments include changes in the penalties framework, including the enforcement process, the right to appeal and the addition of new penalties, as well as other miscellaneous enhancements.

Rules of Interpretation

Updates have been made to clarify the definitions of “day” and “business day” in various DIFC Laws, following the Government’s decision to align the UAE working week and weekend with global markets.

About Dubai International Financial Centre:

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and an estimated GDP of USD 7.7 trillion.

With a 17-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai.

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of almost 28,000 professionals working across over 3,200 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region.

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance through cutting edge technology, innovation, and partnerships. Today, it is the global future of finance and innovation hub offering one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.

Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destinations.