Following rulings of The Joint Judicial Committee (“JJC”) (on 19 February 2024) and the Chief Justice of the Dubai International Financial Centre (on 19 December 2023, 14 February 2024, and 20 February 2024) DIFC jurisdiction has now been definitively secured in a $600 million plus claim in professional negligence brought by entities within the former Abraaj Group, (which, prior to its collapse, was the largest private equity investor in the Middle East) against KPMG LG, a Dubai based accountancy firm that forms part of the wider KPMG Group.

In dismissing KPMG LG’s arguments in favour of onshore Dubai (with costs), both Chief Justice Zaki Azmi and the JJC separately agreed with the analysis of Mr Justice Wayne Martin in the DIFC Court of First Instance who, in November 2021, found for the claimants on all points in issue as regards jurisdiction following a contested application, 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 (and with the importance of this point emphasised by the JJC). In particular, the Chief Justice agreed that Mr Justice Wayne Martin had been correct to reject KPMG LG’s argument that the claimants and KPMG LG had agreed to opt out pursuant to Judicial Authority Law Article 5(A)(2) and hold that, even if the parties had so agreed, he would have exercised a residual discretion to retain the claim in any event.

Anneliese Day KC and Daniel Edmonds have acted for the claimants throughout (assisted also by Victoria Green and Charles Redmond) and are instructed by Simmons & Simmons LLP. The Order and Reasons of Chief Justice Zaki Azmi can be found here and here, and of the Joint Judicial Committee here.