Claim No. SCT 075/2023
THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS
In the name of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
Ruler of Dubai
IN THE SMALL CLAIMS TRIBUNAL OF DIFC COURTS
BEFORE SCT JUDGE NASSIR AL NASSER
|Hearing :||24 April 2023|
|Judgment :||28 April 2023|
JUDGMENT OF H.E. JUSTICE NASSIR AL NASSER
UPON hearing the Claimant’s and the Defendant’s representatives at a hearing held on 24 April 2023
AND UPON reading the submissions and evidence filed and recorded on the Court file
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. The Defendant shall pay the Claimant the sum of AED 62,810.20 in relation to unpaid invoices.
2. The Defendant shall pay the Claimant the Court fees in the sum of AED 3,140.51.
SCT Judge and Assistant Registrar
Date of issue: 28 April 2023
1. The Claimant is Mirtha (hereafter the “Claimant”), a company registered in Dubai, UAE.
2. The Defendant is Mikha (hereafter “the “Defendant”), a company registered in Dubai locatedin Dubai, UAE.
Background and the Preceding History
3. The underlying dispute arises over alleged unpaid invoices issued by the Claimant to the Defendant pursuant to a Hire Agreement.
4. On 14 February 2023, the Claimant filed a claim in the DIFC Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal (the “SCT”) for payment of AED 62,810.20.
5. Although the Defendant failed to formally respond to the Claim its representative attended proceedings before the Court.
6. On 5 April 2023, a consultation was scheduled before SCT Judge Maitha Al Shehhi but the parties were unable to reach a settlement.
7. In line with the rules and procedures of the SCT, this matter was referred to me for determination, pursuant to a hearing held on 24 April 2023, at which the Claimant’s and the Defendant’s representatives were in attendance (the “Hearing”).
8. The Claimant’s case is that is has provided the Defendant with equipment rental services for a project based in Abu Dhabi in 2022.
9. The Claimant submits that it received a purchase order from the Defendant. Subsequently, the Claimant provided the Defendant with a hire agreement. However, the Defendant failed to pay the invoices in relation to the equipment rental pursuant to the terms of the Hire Agreement in the sum of AED 62,810.20.
10. Therefore, the Claimant filed a claim with the SCT seeking the sum of AED 62,810.20.
11. The Defendant failed to provide any written submissions, however, at the Hearing the Defendant sought to contest the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts by arguing that the hire agreements provided by the Claimant (containing a clause opting into the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts) were not signed by the Defendant.
12. In addition, the Defendant submits that it did not hire the equipment from the Claimant for the alleged Murth project in Abu Dhabi.
13. Therefore, the Defendant requests the DIFC Courts to dismiss the Claimant’s claim for lack of jurisdiction.
14. Upon reviewing the evidence provided, it appears that the Claimant has only supplied equipment for the Defendant’s project in Murth located in Dubai. In addition, the Claimant provided an email chain evidencing that the Defendant requested the equipment via a purchase order and accepted the hire agreement by receiving the equipment ,and provided an email to the Claimant to off-hire the equipment.
15. Therefore, I find that the actions of the Defendant by receiving the hire agreement and accepting the delivery of the equipment, are to be treated as acceptance and by performance, even if the hire agreement was not signed by the Defendant.
16. I find the parties are both registered and located outside of the DIFC but have opted into the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction by virtue of the written agreement set out at Clause 9 of the hire agreement which states the following:“any dispute, difference, controversy or claim (“dispute”) arising out of or in connection with this Hire Agreement, including (but not limited to) any question regarding its existence, validity, interpretation, performance, discharge and applicable remedies, shall be referred to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre (the “DIFC Courts”)...”
17. Article 5(A) of the Judicial Authority Law, Dubai Law No. 12 of 2004, as amended (the “JAL”) provides a number of limited gateways through which the DIFC Courts have jurisdiction over a claim, which are, as relevant:
“(a) Civil or commercial claims and actions to which the DIFC or any DIFC Body, DIFC Establishment or Licensed DIFC Establishment is a party;
(b) Civil or commercial claims and actions arising out of or relating to a contract or promised contract, whether partly or wholly concluded, finalised or performed within DIFC or will be performed or is supposed to be performed within DIFC pursuant to express or implied terms stipulated in the contract;
(c) Civil or commercial claims and actions arising out of or relating to any incident or transaction which has been wholly or partly performed within DIFC and is related to DIFC activities; . . .
(e) Any claim or action over which the Courts have jurisdiction in accordance with DIFC Laws and DIFC Regulations. . .
(2) . . . civil or commercial claims or actions where the parties agree in writing to file such claim or action with [the DIFC Courts] whether before or after the dispute arises, provided that such agreement is made pursuant to specific, clear and express provisions.”
18. Pursuant to Article (5) (A) of the JAL, the DIFC Courts have the authority to hear and determine this claim.
19. The Claimant provided the purchase orders sent by the Defendant dated 16 June 2022, 20 July 2022 and 5 October 2022 (the “Purchase Orders”).
20. The Claimant also provided the hire agreements issued to the Defendant following receipt of the Purchase Orders and the corresponding delivery notes and tax invoices.
21. The Claimant also provided an email sent by the Defendant dated 27 October 2022 to off-hire all the rented equipment.
22. The Defendant failed to provide any evidence to support its submissions.
23. Therefore, for my reasons set out above, I find that the Defendant is liable to pay the Claimant the sum of AED 62,810.20 as per the hire agreement and the invoices provided.
24. In light of the aforementioned, I find that the Defendant shall pay the Claimant the total sum of AED 62,810.20 being the payments for the invoices.
25. The Defendant shall pay the Claimant the Court fees in the sum of AED 3,140.51.