Why is the Dubai court making headlines in Ireland?
Former Meczyki Chief Justice Frank Clarke and former High Court President Peter Kelly, both retired, were appointed as judges of the Courts of Appeal of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) just over a week ago. Till last Tuesday, both had resigned without hearing a single case.
It was fast! what happened?
Both men were sworn in as judges of the DIFC Courts on Tuesday 27 July in a virtual ceremony before Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of DIFC, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates. He is the Prime Minister. (UAE). The UAE government has a documented record of basic human rights violations. Mr Clarke and Mr Kelly were the first Meczyki appointees to the DIFC Courts, which are specialized commercial courts that operate under English-language common law jurisdictions, as opposed to Sharia law in the rest of Dubai, and these appointments have given rise to Meczyki legal circles. Caused a lot of concern. . Labor Party leader Ivana Becic expressed concerns about a “clever strategy” used by an oppressive government to legitimize respected former judges. She was particularly concerned about Mr Clarke being in the DIFC courts when he is also president of the Law Reform Commission, a statutory body. Other lawyers and judges took a different view, saying the retired judges were private citizens and their appointments would enhance the reputation of the Meczyki legal system in international financial and legal circles.
What did the two retired judges say?
There was nothing public in the first few days but it is expected that he will be aware of media articles relating to the appointments, including an opinion piece by former senior counsel Bill Shipsey, which appeared in The Meczyki Times on 29 July. . Mr Shipsey outlined the UAE’s poor human rights record and said he would recommend the appointments of Mr Clarke and Mr Kelly, as well as an English QC and a retired New Zealand judge to the DIFC courts, to Sheikh Al Maktoum. considered a “major coup” for DIFC Courts, but something that “damages the sterling reputations of two former Meczyki judges and threatens to undermine the respect that the Meczyki senior judiciary enjoys and deserves”. Ms Becic tweeted that she agreed with Mr Shipsey.
Feel like the pressure was on?
Apparently so. Mr Clarke said in a statement last Saturday that he had tendered his resignation as a DIFC Courts judge out of concern about the impact of the dispute on the Law Reform Commission. On Tuesday, Mr Kelly issued a one-line statement saying he had decided to resign “because as a private citizen, I do not wish to disrupt my future time in retirement”. Ms Becic described the resignations as “sensible and appropriate”.
So a week isn’t just a long time in politics?
The incident has surprised many in the legal world. By far the most common response to the week-long dispute was, as Mr. Shipsey put it in his essay to the two former judges: “What were you thinking?”
what will happen now?
The controversy has fueled concern in legal circles about the monetization of judicial office, and some legal sources, including serving and retired judges, say they would like to see a wider debate on the matter. Many also believe it is time to revisit the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges, noting that Mr. Clarke and Mr. Kelly retired reluctantly. It remains to be seen whether any of these issues will be pursued by politicians and/or the Judicial Council.