New DIFC law amendments come into effect

Tags: News,Others

08 Mar, 2022

As published in Gulf News

Amendments further align DIFC regulatory framework with the international best practices

The amendments were enacted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: New law amendments on data protection, insolvency and electronic transactions, among others, came into effect at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) on Tuesday.

The amendments, enacted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, further align the DIFC regulatory framework with the international best practices.

The enactment implements amendments to Data Protection Law of 2020, Insolvency Law of 2019 (and Insolvency Regulations), Electronic Transactions Law of 2017, Trust Law of 2018, Strata Title Law of 2007 and Common Reporting Standard Law of 2018, as well as to the rules of interpretation in various DIFC Laws.

Data Protection Law

The amendments include clarifying the process for judicial redress for individuals, to align more closely with the international best practice, especially in light of recent precedent-setting rulings in Europe regarding data subjects’ rights.

They set out better accountability requirements for controllers and processors where individuals’ rights may be impacted where a request for access to data is considered vexatious or repetitive.

Insolvency Law and Regulations

Amendments to the insolvency law bring bonding requirements in line with current practices in the UAE and ensure consistency in the liquidator’s reporting obligations in respect of the different types of liquidation procedures available under the law.

Electronic Transactions Law

The scope of the law has been expanded by removing exclusions relating to electronic records, electronic contracts and electronic signatures being used in relation to the sale, purchase or long-term lease (for a term of more than 10 years) of real property. This change also aligns with DIFC’s commitment to the Dubai government’s paperless strategy.

Trust Law

The definition of ‘ultimate beneficial owner’ has been amended under the Trust Law. This addresses a recommendation made by the Financial Action Task Force to clarify the definition.

Strata Title Law

Minor amendments to align certain definitions of the Strata Title Law with the respective definitions of Real Property Law of 2018 have been made. Corrections of some typographical errors have also been carried out.

Common Reporting Standard Law

Amendments ensure that DIFC’s common reporting standard (CSR) framework aligns with the federal CSR framework, with the purpose of ultimately meeting the relevant standards issued by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Key amendments include changes in the penalties framework, including the enforcement process, the right to appeal and the addition of new penalties, as well as other miscellaneous enhancements.

Rules of Interpretation

Updates have been made to clarify the definitions of “day” and “business day” in various DIFC laws, following the government’s decision to align the UAE working week and weekend with global markets.