The future of court proceedings, the world’s first Court of Blockchain


A few days ago, a new article was published on World Economic Forum about the world’s first Court of Blockchain in Dubai. This type of blockchain application is relatively new to most of us and serves as an important milestone for future usage of blockchain technology in a myriad of sectors.  

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts and Smart Dubai have launched a join task force to create, the world’s first Court of the Blockchain. This initiative is driven by the “Dubai Blockchain Strategy 2020” which aims to transform 100% of relevant government transactions on Blockchain databases by 2020. According to the press release on July 30th 2018, the primary objective of this alliance is to aid authentication of court judgements for cross-border enforcement.  

This partnership is expected to deliver broader efficiencies across the country's judicial system, including restructuring the legal process and eliminating document duplications. As this initiative is still at a preliminary stage, the consortium announced that future research would focus on exploring the management of disputes arising out of private and public blockchains, with contractual terms and regulations recorded within smart contracts. As of now, transactions verified in the smart contracts are irreversible and cannot be undone. Thus, they are aiming to modify the smart contracts by incorporating logic to allow exceptions for more efficient dispute resolution.

However, this project might also face same issues as its predecessor due to lack of talent and infrastructures to support the current technological development. Regardless, Dubai’s blockchain legal system is certainly setting a new standard for judicial innovation. This project is part of Dubai’s larger objectives to digitalize government services and accomplish the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: 

“The adoption of this technology will reflect on the quality of life in the UAE and will enhance happiness levels for citizens…This technology will save time, effort and resources and enable individuals to conduct most of their transactions in a timely manner that suits their lifestyle and work.” 

As it stands, Banking and Finance still hold the largest number of recognized blockchain use cases. The application of blockchain technology in the judicial system, not only warrants the validity of presented documents, but also provides a firm foundation for further innovations. It will be interesting to witness how the current innovation  unfolds and public acceptance to such changes may shift. The legal validity of so called “smart contracts” is also still to be defined. This initiative could set the first legal precedents from which other judicial systems may learn. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Number of blockchain use cases in a variety of industries. Image:  Cambridge Judge Business School

Number of blockchain use cases in a variety of industries. Image: Cambridge Judge Business School

Javier Bilbao