DIFC Courts, the regulatory body for Dubai's financial free zone, said it would begin operating remotely "with immediate effect", in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
"In an effort to protect the health and well-being of our judges, registry team and court users, the DIFC Courts and its Registry will operate on a [generally] completely remote basis," it said in an email to clients. The court premises will be closed from today until March 26 at the earliest.
Case hearings will generally be conducted by teleconference, DIFC Courts said, with "extremely limited" access to the court.
The DIFC Courts and its Registry will operate on a [generally] completely remote basis"
"If you have a hearing, and the judge has granted permission to have it onsite, access will be limited only to counsel and the instructing solicitor. Observers and solicitors not active on the case will not be allowed entry," the said.
DIFC Courts also urged practitioners to make use of the e-bundling platform which is available through the CMS.
If practitioners are unable to use the e-bundling platform (and reasons may be requested by the registrar), then they can request for permission to lodge bundles in hardcopy.
"Given that our judges are now located offsite, deadlines for the lodgement of hardcopy bundles will be brought forward to enable delivery to the judge," the statement said.
Requests for permission have to be sent to the registry no later than eight full days before the hearing.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange also said on Tuesday it has instigated remote working through a new platform that has successfully tested deposit, clearing and settlement systems, as well as services to brokerage companies.
"ADX's decision to launch a remote working system is consistent with its strategy to deal with any potential crisis scenario," said chief executive Khalifa Al Mansouri.
ADX, the Dubai Financial Market and Boursa Kuwait have all announced temporary closure of their trading floors within the past three days, as a measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia's central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, is also implementing remote working at its facilities and ordered banks under its supervision to do the same.
The central bank said the decision was in line with a government directive to suspend the attendance of employees at all government agencies, "except for those in health, security and military sectors". Also exempt from the suspension are those employed in the kingdom's cyber-security sector and educators involved in distance learning programmes.