New amendments to the DIFC law come into force

The enactment implements amendments to the Data Protection Act 2020, the Insolvency Act 2019 (and the Insolvency Regulations), the Electronic Transactions Act 2017, the Trusts of 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 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 amendments to the Insolvency Law bring bond requirements in line with current practices in the UAE and provide consistency in the liquidator’s reporting obligations with respect to the different types of liquidation proceedings provided for in the law.

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.

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

Minor changes to align certain definitions in the Strata Title Act with the respective definitions in the Real Property Act 2018 have been made. Corrections of some typographical errors have also been made.

The amendments ensure that the DIFC’s Common Reporting Standard (CSR) framework aligns with the federal CSR framework, with the ultimate goal of meeting 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.

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.