Former chief justice Frank Clarke has resigned as a judge of the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts.
The newly appointed President of the Law Reform Commission was sworn in as a judge of the courts earlier this week, along with the former president of the High Court Peter Kelly.
In a statement, Mr Clarke said: "Ireland and many Irish companies do significant business in and with Dubai, and in that context it is important that there be an independent and trusted dispute resolution system available to those enterprises."
However, he said he is concerned that controversy over his role in Dubai "could impact on the important work of the Law Reform Commission, which I am committed [to]".
As a result, he said he submitted his "resignation as a judge of the DIFC courts to the Chief Justice of that Court" yesterday.
Mr Clarke and Mr Kelly were among four judges sworn in at a virtual ceremony on Tuesday before Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (@HHShkMohd), Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has issued Decree No. 29 of 2022 promoting HE Justice Ali Shamis Al Madhani to Deputy Chief Justice, and appointing four (4) new judges at the #DIFCCourts. pic.twitter.com/OuRVg0go6o— DIFC Courts (@DIFCCourts) July 27, 2022
The courts are based in the Dubai International Financial Centre in the United Arab Emirates.
They were established in 2004 to administer a common law, English language jurisdiction, governing commercial and civil disputes worldwide, catering in particular for international institutions operating in Dubai and the UAE.
Mr Clarke retired as chief justice in October and the Government announced his appointment as President of the Law Reform Commission on 12 July, for a five-year term.
In the statement issued yesterday, he said: "When first approached about becoming President of the Law Reform Commission, I informed Government of the likelihood that I would be appointed to the DIFC Courts.
"I understood it to be the case this did not give rise to any difficulty."
He also said "prior to my appointment as President of the Law Reform Commission I had also publicly mentioned the possibility of my appointment to the DIFC Courts in a Business Post podcast".
Mr Kelly retired as president of the High Court in 2020, but spent many years as the presiding judge in the Commercial Court.
Mr Clarke and Mr Kelly were the first Irish judges appointed to the DIFC courts, which are mainly made up of retired judges from other jurisdictions, including Scotland, England, Wales and Australia.