The Dubai International Financial Centre Court of First Instance on 3 November 2021 has dismissed a jurisdiction challenge brought by KPMG LG, a defendant accountancy firm to a $600 million plus claim in professional negligence brought against it by the claimants: entities within the former Abraaj Group, (which, prior to its collapse, was the largest private equity fund in the Middle East).

In dismissing the challenge Mr Justice Wayne Martin found for the claimants on all decided points, holding that the DIFC Courts had prima facie jurisdiction pursuant to the Judicial Authority Law Article 5(A)(1)(b), 5(A)(1)(c), and – in a first for the DIFC – on a pure ‘necessary and proper’ basis pursuant to Article 5(A)(1)(e) without a prior application for joinder. The Judge rejected an argument that the parties had agreed to opt out pursuant to Judicial Authority Law Article 5(A)(2) and held that, even if the parties had so agreed, he would have exercised a residual discretion to retain the claim in any event. The claimants were awarded their costs.

Anneliese Day QC and Daniel Edmonds acted for the claimants, instructed by Simmons & Simmons LLP. The Order and Reasons of Justice Wayne Martin can be found here.