DIFC Act Amendments Passed Strengthen Alignment with Major Global Financial Centers

Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), the leading global financial center in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, today announced that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, has enacted the DIFC Laws Amendment Act, DIFC Act No. 2 of 2022 to incorporate amendments that keep the regulatory framework aligned with international best practice.

Promulgation facilitates amendments to the Data Protection Act 2020, Insolvency Act 2019 (and Insolvency Regulations), Electronic Transactions Act 2017, Trusts Act 2018 , the Strata Securities Act of 2007 and the Common Reporting Standards Act of 2018, as well as the rules of interpretation in various DIFC Acts.

The amendments to the Data Protection Act 2020 and the Insolvency Act 2019 (and the Insolvency Regulations) have been subject to public consultation. Input from various stakeholders was valuable in developing the amendments.

Data Protection Law

The changes reflect DIFC’s commitment to maintaining its position at the forefront of privacy legislation in the region. The changes include clarifying the legal redress process for individuals, to align more closely with international best practice, particularly in light of recent landmark decisions in Europe regarding the rights of data subjects. They establish better accountability requirements for controllers and processors where the rights of individuals may be affected when a data access request is deemed to be vexatious or repetitive. The powers of the Commission have also been refined with respect to the information available when making an instruction or determination of a breach of data protection law and an alignment has been made regarding the intention of the DIFC Courts Act regarding the imposition and payment of court fees by DIFC bodies.

Insolvency law and insolvency regulations

Amendments to the Insolvency Act bring bond requirements in line with current practices in the UAE and ensure consistency of liquidator reporting obligations regarding the different types of liquidation proceedings available under the Insolvency Act. ‘insolvency.

Electronic Transactions Act

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

Trusts Act

The definition of ultimate beneficial owner has been amended under the Trusts Act. This responds to a recommendation from the Financial Action Task Force on clarifying the definition.

Strata Title Act

The Amending Act incorporates minor changes to align certain Strata Title Act definitions with the respective Real Property Act 2018 definitions, as well as to correct typographical errors.

Common Reporting Standards Act

The amendments ensure that the DIFC’s Common Reporting Standard (CSR) framework aligns with the Federal CSR Framework, as recently updated by Cabinet Resolution No. 93 of 2021, with the aim of meeting ultimately the relevant standards issued by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Key changes include changes to the penalties framework, including the enforcement process, the right to appeal, and the addition of new penalties, as well as other miscellaneous improvements.

Rules of interpretation

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

The Amendment Acts can be viewed by visiting here.