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Self Representation | DFF Fall 2021

DEADLINE Nov 20, 2021

How might we provide court users trying to represent themselves the ability to seamlessly navigate Small Claims Tribunal (SCT)? 


The DIFC Courts allow individuals to file claims and represent themselves in court proceedings, should they wish to do so and should they be unable to afford legal representation.

Some individuals who choose to represent themselves face difficulty in filing claims due to their unfamiliarity with court systems and terminology. They may file claims against an incorrect party or fail to provide crucial evidence or submissions, resulting in financial losses or an unfavorable judgment for the individual. The Courts face a vast number of refund requests due to erroneous filings

The Courts seek a solution to provide guidance to file claims and navigate through court proceedings to improve claimant experience and increase regional and worldwide access to justice. The solution will be piloted first within the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) and can be scaled up to other courts in the future.

What are the problems to solve?

  • Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) requires that individuals represent themselves before the Court. Some individuals face difficulty navigating the court system, resulting in erroneous filings, mistakes within filings and refund requests 
  • Court procedures can be very complicated for external users and they need guidance and support, whilst bearing in mind that the Court must always be seen as maintaining impartiality 

Who is most affected by these problems?

Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) users and primarily: 

  • Individuals with employment disputes 
  • Businesses engaged in business-to-business disputes 

The Courts: they want the confidence that they are providing a high level of service, increasing access to justice and increasing their level of sophistication 

Solution guiding principles

  • Creative/ Standout
  • Frictionles Experience
  • Simplicity
  • Guide Not Direct
  • Lean and Agile

Why is it important?

  • DIFC Courts wishes to ensure that all users have access to justice and get the best chance of achieving the best outcome for themselves 
  • As an opt-in jurisdiction, DIFC Courts wants to have the confidence that they are providing the very best level of service and that users have made the right choice in selecting them 
  • This is a part of continued efforts to invest in assets and technologies that help to future proof services and operations 


  • The solution will provide users with a guided journey that is transparent and easy to use, allowing them to file their claims easily, quickly and accurately 
  • In the future, this solution can be scaled to a wider range of court filings and proceedings so that all court users can seamlessly navigate the court system 

Want to learn more about the challenge? Watch the Challenge webinar with DIFC Courts


Program benefits include

  • Potential partnerships with top level stakeholders in UAE
  • Direct access to key decision makers in government and private sector partners
  • Dubai Future Foundation takes zero equity in your business​
  • Roundtrip airfare to Dubai and paid accommodation for Phase 2 (in-residence) participants​
  • Opportunity to to be nominated to apply for the Golden Visa
  • Opportunity to be connected with regional investors
  • Accelerated process for company setup and formation in Dubai (provided matching business activities)
  • State of the art creative workspace and access to prototyping equipment​
  • Opportunity to join the most vibrant ecosystem in the region


Program timeline 

The 6-week program is structured into 2 phases:


Phase 1: A 2-week virtual program beginning end of November, where

shortlisted companies will work closely with the DIFC Courts to understand their challenge and propose a solution. Phase 1

will conclude with a pitching competition and one company will progress onto Phase 2 in Dubai (Q1, 2022).


Phase 2: Successful companies join a 4-week in-residence program in Dubai in Q1, 2022 where they will execute a proof of concept (PoC) of their proposed solution.

Application deadline

Submission of application | November 21st, 12.00AM GMT+4



Meet the stakeholder

Who is DIFC Courts:


The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) is a financial free-zone that offers a unique regulatory framework in order to create an environment for growth, progress, and economic development in the UAE and the wider region.


The DIFC Courts is a dynamic young judiciary with a focus on excellence and technology, and administers a unique English-language common law system for commercial and civil cases. As an opt-in court, DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction extends past the DIFC and can hear any civil or commercial case in which both parties select the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction.

What is Small Claims Tribunal?

The Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) requires that claimants represent themselves in commercial or employment disputes. Hearings take place without lawyers in a private, informal setting.

This is an increasingly popular option for small claims in Dubai, UAE, and beyond. Especially for individuals who want to have their commercial and employment disputes heard in English, in a cost-effective manner.

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