DIFC Courts boosts 'paperless' mission withadoption of electronic seal 'Ethaq'

Electronic seal 'Ethaq' is a custom-built initiative, powered by Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) to enable authenticity of entities' documents through UAE PASS, the secure national digital identity platform of the UAE

nbsp;DIFC Courts boosts 'paperless' mission withadoption of electronic seal 'Ethaq'
  • DIFC Courts becomes first Dubai entity to adopt Ethaq
  • UAE PASS is a joint initiative between the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and Smart Dubai

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 United Arab Emirates.

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.

H.E. Omar Juma Al Mheiri, Deputy Chief Justice, DIFC Courts, said: “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.”

H.E. Yousef Al Shaibani, Director General, Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC), said: “We are pleased to mark ‘Ethaq’ as a monumental and revolutionary milestone in our journey towards achieving excellence for making Dubai the safest city in cyberspace. ‘Ethaq’ is one of DESC’s continuous efforts in adopting forefront technologies to protect Dubai digitally. 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.”

H.E. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, said: “Dubai’s journey to becoming a fully paperless society continues with this important electronicseal initiative from DESC. Smart Dubai is leading the charge for the emirate to become the world’s smartest and happiest city, with the drive towards becoming paperless being a primary pillar of this aim. By going paperless across every sector through the use of the latest technology, Dubai is taking centre stage for the conservation of resources, safeguarding of the environment, and the creation of digitally secure transactions. Smart Dubai is committed to striving towards making use of paper in transactions a thing of the past.”

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.

The partnership is tasked with creating a blockchain-powered future for the judiciary which will have far-reaching benefits, including streamlining the judicial process, removing document duplications, and driving greater efficiencies across the entire legal ecosystem. The new electronic seal initiative will compliment and further reinforce development of this parallel project relating to blockchain enforcement.

Technology has been central to the DIFC Courts’ operating model since starting operations in 2006. Among the many technologies pioneered to increase access to justice is the region’s first digitally integrated courtroom and re-engineered state-of-the-art e-Court Management System (CMS) in 2016.

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.


About the DIFC Courts

The UAE’s DIFC Courts administers a unique English-language common law system – offering swift, independent justice to settle local and international commercial or civil disputes. The Courts, based in Dubai, provide certainty through transparent, enforceable judgments from internationally recognised judges, who adhere to the highest global legal standards. The DIFC Courts is independent from, but complementary to, the UAE’s Arabic-language civil law system – offering a choice that strengthens both processes while ensuring public access to world-class justice.

In October 2011, a decree of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, opened the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction to businesses from all across the GCC region and beyond to provide the international business community with access to one of the most advanced commercial courts in the world.

The DIFC Courts was established under laws enacted by the late HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in September 2004. The Courts’ community-focused approach encourages early settlement, while its successful track record supports Dubai’s growing status as an international business hub.

In line with HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, the DIFC Courts serve to develop the UAE national workforce and enhance the competitiveness of Emirati advocates. The DIFC Courts is spearheading training programmes predominantly aimed at local Emirati lawyers, which offer knowledge of, and qualifications in, the English-language common law system.

About Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC)

The Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) is the official government department entrusted to make Dubai the safest city in cyber space. The center was established under decree number 11 of 2014 by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of UAE, and the Ruler of Dubai.

The Center’s objectives include safeguarding information, communications network, and governmental information systems in the Emirate of Dubai in addition to enhancing, adjusting, and implementing the necessary methods in the realm of cyber security and raising efficiency by which information is maintained and circulated among the governmental entities in the Emirate. Additionally, the center is also responsible to develop the strategic plans to confront any risks or threats to the government information in coordination with all concerned government authorities.

To learn more about DESC visit: https://www.desc.gov.ae 

  About UAE PASS

UAE PASS is the first secure national digital identity for citizens and residents of the UAE. The app enables all registered individuals to access more than 6000 government, semi-government and private sector entities’ services through their respective websites and apps and allows them to digitally sign and authenticate documents and transactions. UAE PASS also enables users to request a digital version of official documents issued to their name and to use the same to request services.

UAE PASS was launched during GITEX Technology Week 2018 as a joint initiative between the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and Smart Dubai. It is also supported by key strategic partners including the Ministry of Interior in the UAE, the Federal Authority For Identity & Citizenship, the Dubai Electronic Security Center, and all the digital authorities of the respective seven emirates of the UAE.

In September 2019, the UAE Central Bank adopted the UAE PASS initiative allowing banks around the UAE to use it in processing banking transactions.

To enhance UAE PASS further and as part of the second implementation phase, UAE PASS now allows users to register on the app via facial recognition with no need to visit any kiosks, and also enables users to request a digital version of their official documents, and to use them securely, to execute transactions and avail services from service providers when needed. These features eliminate the need for paper and physical visits, saving you time and effort. It is also powered by blockchain technology, providing you with optimal traceability and security. The Federal Authority

for Identity and Citizenship is the first government entity to have included key official documents on UAE PASS, including Emirates ID, passports for citizens and residency for non-citizens.

Media contacts: media@smartdubai.ae

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