10. Disclosure to a Court

10.1 The DIFC Courts deal exclusively with all cases and claims arising out of the DIFC and its operations. The DIFC Courts have jurisdiction over civil and commercial matters only and do not have criminal jurisdiction. All criminal matters are heard and determined by the Emirati courts.

10.2 The DIFC Court's enabling legislation, Dubai Law No. 12 of 2004, gives it exclusive judicial jurisdiction in the DIFC and over DIFC bodies including the DFSA. Therefore, the DFSA is obliged by law to disclose confidential information if it is compelled to do so pursuant to an order from the DIFC Court.

10.3 Because the UAE criminal laws apply in the DIFC, the DFSA is obliged under Article 78, Part 2 of the UAE Penal Procedures Law Federal Law No. 35 of 1992 to comply with any legally enforceable demand or order from a competent authority responsible for administering the criminal laws in the UAE. This includes orders or demands to disclose confidential information.

Public interest immunity and similar claims

10.4 In an appropriate case, and particularly where a party to court proceedings seeks disclosure of confidential information obtained by the DFSA under an MOU (see Section 9 above), the DFSA will seek to invoke a claim of public interest immunity (PII) to resist the disclosure. In common law, where a government department or other public body considers that the disclosure of particular information in the course of civil or criminal litigation would be seriously harmful to the public interest, the department or body may ask the court not to order disclosure, by making a claim, in civil litigation, of PII, and, in the case of criminal litigation, a similar claim in substance. The DFSA considers that a PII claim would be appropriate, in the context of its functions, where disclosure would prejudice its ability to perform those functions or jeopardise its ability to receive information in the future from certain sources, including overseas regulators, and in such a case it would make the claim on the source's behalf.