Thinking aheadfor businesses of the future

Courts of the Future Forum

This initiative has been established to create rules through a cross-functional group of subject matter talent from around the world, bringing practitioners and those in industry together to identify the challenges of the future, and to agree how Courts should best address them.


To advise the Courts on

• current performance and reputation of the Courts as perceived by the Forum members in relation to handling of the disputes of the future

• strategic direction required for the Courts to maintain and improve their knowledge, performance and reputation regarding future IP, construction, technology and other related disputes

• developments and trends in the arena of international dispute resolution which may have an impact on the DIFC Courts and its operation and which, if adopted, might benefit the DIFC Courts and its users in resolving disputes of the future.

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  • Members Logo

    His Excellency Abdullah bin Touq

    Acting CEO
    Dubai Future Foundation

    Abdullah bin Touq joined the Prime Minister’s office in 2007 specifically in the Policy and Strategy sector. He moved through the ranks to become the director of Infrastructure and Environmental policies.

    His excellency holds in his experience, building and overseeing many national strategies such as UAE Green Growth, UAE Vision 2021 and its national agenda.

    He also managed to oversee the public-sector improvement department until he was appointed as the director of Excellence and Pioneer ship in the office. During his time as an Executive Director, he developed the 21st century leadership model which has been incorporated in all leadership programme and became a reference globally in its domain.

    He has overseen the development of the 4th generation of excellence model implementing it through Mohammad bin Rashid excellence award.

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    Arthur Artinian

    K&L Gates

    Arthur Artinian is a partner in the London office of international law firm, K&L Gates, and head of the IP and Technology Transactions practice. Arthur is an internationally recognised intellectual property lawyer, and advises on contentious and non-contentious IP, technology, licensing, commercial and data privacy matters. He has been fortunate to work with many iconic global brands on their strategic IP projects across multiple jurisdictions, including in the Middle East. Clients rely on his experience in complex cross-border counselling, litigation, enforcement and transactional matters.

    Arthur has particular experience in international cross-border projects and advised the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the International Olympic Committee on the planning and delivery of the London 2012 Games. He has also worked with numerous Dubai and Abu Dhabi-based organisations on their strategic IP projects across the EMEA region.

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    Robert Avis

    XXIV Old Buildings, UK

    Robert Avis is an English barrister and a member of XXIV Old Buildings, a barristers’ chambers and a leading group of commercial, property and private client advocates. He qualified in 2014 and has a broad practice across his chambers’ specialisms. Alongside regular instructions in the English courts, he has both domestic and international experience of commercial and banking litigation, insolvency, and trusts and probate disputes.

    Robert was a member of the counsel team for the Libyan Investment Authority in its claim against Goldman Sachs and instructed in relation to proceedings arising from the Madoff fraud. He has a particular interest in cross-border issues and was sole counsel in a protracted claim in London for enforcement of a foreign judgment at common law.

    Robert assisted in the preparation of draft amendments to the Rules of the DIFC Courts and was recently seconded to the London office of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

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    Mark Beer, OBE

    Co-Chief Executive and Registrar General
    DIFC Courts

    In addition to his role as Co-Chief Executive and Registrar General of the DIFC Courts, Mark is a member of the Rules Subcommittee and Registrar of the Special Tribunal Related to Dubai World. In 2010 Mark was appointed for a year’s term as a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the International Legal System and he remains a member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network for Justice. Mark is also the President-Elect of the International Association for Court Administration (IAC).

    Mark joined the DIFC Courts after five years working at MasterCard Worldwide in Dubai where he served as the company’s Regional Legal Counsel for South Asia, Middle East and Africa and was later promoted to Vice President, heading MasterCard’s Government Relations and Corporate Services across the same region. Previously, Mark worked in the corporate finance team of Man Investments in Switzerland and prior to that in private practice both in the UK and the UAE.

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    Simon Bradford

    Public Sector Director
    Microsoft Public Sector, MEA

    Simon brings a passion for technology and innovation as well as broad industry experience from his 18 years of working in Enterprise IT.

    Since joining Microsoft in 2008, where he was responsible for running the Justice Sector business in the UK, Simon has had a focus on modernising the sector and driving digital efficiencies. During this time Simon drove key projects such as the modernisation of the UK Judiciary with the “eJudiciary” project. The digital transformation of the UK Supreme Court, introduced Skype and the virtual trail concept into the courts as well implement the paperless working of the Magistrate and Crown Courts with the eBundle solution.

    In 2014 Simon moved into his current role as the Public Sector Director, Middle East and Africa (MEA). Bringing his experiences from the UK he has continued to drive modernisation in jurisdictions from Kenya to Nigeria, as well being involved in significant innovations in leading markets such as the UAE.

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    Gillian Hadfield

    Richard L. And Antoinette Schamoi Kirtland Professor of Law and Professor of Economics
    University of Southern California (USC)

    Gillian K. Hadfield is the Richard L. And Antoinette Schamoi Kirtland Professor of Law and Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California (USC). She studies the design of legal and dispute resolution systems; the nature of normative systems; contracting; and the performance and regulation of legal markets and the legal profession. Her book, Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy was published by Oxford University Press in November 2016.

    Professor Hadfield holds a B.A.H. from Queen’s University, a J.D. from Stanford Law School and Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University. She has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, and NYU law schools, a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Technology, Values, and Policy.

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    Margaret Hagan

    Director, Legal Design Lab, Stanford Law School & Lecturer
    Stanford Institute of Design

    Margaret Hagan directs the Legal Design Lab, an R&D lab for more accessible, intuitive, and engaging legal services at Stanford. The Lab is at Stanford Law’s Center on the Legal Profession and a lecturer at Stanford Institute of Design (the She is a lawyer (JD, Stanford Law 2013) who also was a fellow at the, where she began experimenting with combining law, agile technology development, and user-centered design.

    Margaret teaches project-based classes, with interdisciplinary student groups tackling legal challenges through user-focused research and design of new legal products and services. She also leads workshops to train legal professionals in the design process, to produce client-focused innovation. Her blog is Open Law Lab (, and her the Stanford lab’ssite is Legal Design Lab (

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    Tom Hudson

    Managing Director
    Kestrel Global

    Tom Hudson is Managing Director of Kestrel Global, headquartered in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

    Tom first moved to the UAE in 2006, and has worked for a number of companies before, including Linklaters, Credit Suisse, Olive Group Capital and, most recently DP World.

    In 2014 he was nominated by Arabian Business as one of the top 20 most influential Brits in the UAE, and was Highly Commended at the Corporate Council Middle East Lawyer of the Year Awards in 2015.

    In 2016, Tom was asked to set up Kestrel, with the aim of working with international innovative companies that want to set up in Dubai in line with various Dubai Government Strategic initiatives.

    Tom is particularly interested in the legal framework for all these new technologies.

    Tom was educated at Eton, commissioned as an officer from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, studied History at Bristol University and converted to law at the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice.

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    Peter Knight

    Bird & Bird, UK

    Peter is the Head of the International Dispute Resolution Group at international law firm, Bird & Bird, based in London.

    The broad spectrum of Peter’s work embraces disputes relating to insurance coverage and large-scale infrastructure and engineering projects. These have included numerous upstream energy, power and mining projects, rail, water and marine claims in many different parts of the world.

    He has acted in high profile, complex international investigations, involving regulatory and prosecutorial bodies including HMRC, SFO, FSA/FCA and has extensive experience of tax investigations, bribery and corruption investigations and prosecutions.

    In addition to fraud, he has also dealt with contentious trust disputes, Companies Act offences, duties of directors and partnership disputes.

    As well as dealing with commercial litigation, Peter is a key member of the International Arbitration Group and has dealt with international arbitrations, investment treaty arbitrations, and energy charter treaty arbitrations.

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    Tom Montagu-Smith

    XXIV Old Buildings, UK

    Tom is a barrister practicing in court and arbitration in London and Dubai. Tom has appeared in many of the leading cases in the DIFC Courts, including Pearl Petroleum v The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq[2017] DIFC ARB 003 (US$2.1bn arbitration enforcement), Barclays Bank v EGFL [2016] DIFC CFI 036 (US$170m enforcement of New York judgment), Protiviti v Al-Mojil [2016] DIFC CA 003 (leading case on forum non conveniens) and DNB Bank v Gulf Eyadah (landmark case on “conduit” enforcement of foreign judgments).

    Tom assisted in drafting the Rules of the DIFC Court and drafted the Rules of the Dubai World Tribunal. He is currently engaged in drafting the rules of the Court and arbitration centre at the Astana International Financial Centre.

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    Anders Nilsson

    Managing Partner
    Bird & Bird, UAE

    Anders is the Managing Partner, UAE, at international law firm, Bird & Bird.He is also head of our Corporate and Aviation practices in the region. Anders relocated to the UAE in 2014 from the Stockholm office, where he headed the Corporate Team for many years.

    An experienced corporate and M&A specialist, Anders also advises local and multinational corporations, with international experience in complex corporate transactions in the technology and aviation sectors. He has considerable national and international experience in public and private M&A, including take-overs and IPOs, corporate restructuring, joint ventures and co-operation arrangements. He also advises clients in relation to aircraft purchase and finance transactions.

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    Dr. Noah Raford

    Chief Operating Officer & Futurist-in-Chief
    Dubai Future Foundation

    Dr. Noah Raford is the Chief Operating Officer, “Futurist-in-Chief” at the Dubai Future Foundation and a former advisor on futures, foresight, and innovation in the UAE Prime Minister’s Office.

    Noah helped establish the country’s first national foresight unit, the Dubai Future Foundation and the Museum of the Future, and is part of a team that identifies emerging opportunities, develops strategic partnerships, and prototypes future initiatives for the Government of Dubai.

    Some the projects he has recently been involved with include the Dubai Global Blockchain Council; the UAE Drones for Good Award; the UAE Robotics for Good Award; the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy; the Dubai Self-Driving Vehicle Strategy; and the International Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (iCAIR)

    Prior to his work in the UAE, Noah was a senior manager at the strategy consultancy Monitor/GBN, CEO of the technology foresight company Futurescaper LLC, the North American Director of Space Syntax Limited, and the Senior Research Advisor to Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment.

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    Phil Reynolds

    Board Member and General Counsel
    Pyypl Group FZ-LLC

    Phil is an internationally experienced legal practitioner, in-house General Counsel, corporate executive and Non-Executive Director (NED). He has experience across regulated industries and emerging markets, handling the complexities of start-up enterprises, mergers and acquisitions and public listings. Phil’s core experience is in the communications, media, information and technology industries.

    Phil started the Virgin Mobile Middle East group of companies in 2006 and held C-level and NED posts for over nine years. He is also a NED, consultant and advisor to other international technology start-up entities in the FinTech, UAV, and AI and AR sectors. In past, held Executive Director-level posts in three Fortune 500 global telecommunications companies.

    A professional member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD), the Institute of Directors (MIoD), the Law Society of New South Wales and various professional information associations and societies.

Thinking ahead


February, 2018

Courts of the Future Forum Inaugural Meeting

The next meeting of the Courts of the Future Forum will take place in February 2018, where members will review feedback from the open-source global consultation of Part 40,000: Founding Principles

14 Days
1 Mins
1 Secs