Claim No: SCT 228/2023
THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS
IN THE SMALL CLAIMS TRIBUNAL OF DIFC COURTS
ORDER WITH REASONS OF H.E. JUSTICE NASSIR AL NASSER
UPON the Defendant’s Acknowledgment of Service dated 16 June 2023 setting out its intention to contest the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal (the “Jurisdictional Challenge”)
AND UPON this Claim having been called for a Jurisdiction Hearing before H.E. Justice Nassir Al Nasser on 14 July 2023, with the Claimant and the Defendant’s representative in attendance
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. The Jurisdictional Challenge is granted.
2. The claim shall be transferred to the DIFC Court of First Instance.
3. Each party shall bear its own costs.
SCT Judge and Assistant Registrar
Date: 17 July 2023
SCHEDULE OF REASONS
1. The Claimant is Mahi (the “Claimant”), an individual filing a claim against the Defendant regarding his former employment at the Defendant company.
2. The Defendant is Maha Limited (the “Defendant”), a company registered in the DIFC, Dubai, UAE.
3. On 16 June 2023, the Claimant filed a claim with the DIFC Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal (the “SCT”) seeking financial relief, interest and any other relief the Courts deem appropriate in the sum of AED 892,022.09 (the “Claim”).
4. On 16 June 2023, the Defendant filed its Acknowledgment of Service contesting the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal (the “SCT”).
5. A jurisdiction hearing was duly listed before me on 14 July 2023 at which the Claimant and the Defendant’s representative appeared (the “Hearing”).
6. By way of background, the Claimant filed a claim alleging discrimination/harassment on the grounds of sex and religion, and victimisation during the course of his employment.
7. The Defendant is challenging the jurisdiction on the grounds that the Claimant filed his Claim with the SCT seeking financial relief over the sum of AED 500,000 without the Defendant’s election in writing to proceed in the SCT.
8. The Defendant submits that Rule 53.2 of the Rules of the DIFC Courts (“RDC”) provides the following:
“the SCT will hear and determine claims within the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts:
(1) Where the amount of claim or the value of the subject matter of the claim does not exceed AED 500,000; or
(2) Where the claim relates to the employment or former employment of a party; and
(3) All parties elect in writing that it be heard by the SCT (there is no value limit for SCT’s elective jurisdiction in the context of employment claims); …”
9. The Defendant submits that it has not elected in writing for the SCT to hear and determine the Claim as required by RDC 53.2(3) and therefore has contest the SCT’s jurisdiction. The Defendant has requested that the Claim be transferred to the Court of First Instance (“CFI”) due to the amount claimed which exceeds the financial threshold of the SCT given the parties’ failure to agree otherwise.
10. In light of claimed value and the parties’ failure to agree in writing for this matter to be heard by the SCT, I find that find that the Claim must transferred to the CFI.