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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Finance > Islamic finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Islamic finance
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Allen & Overy LLP fields a full-service Islamic finance offering from its London office, which is complemented by a strong network of offices throughout the Islamic world, including an association firm in Saudi Arabia. Functioning as a part of the firm's wider banking and capital markets practices, the Islamic finance team is regularly involved in cross-border project finance, commercial lending and structured finance mandates. Of recent note, the team has been especially active in the Saudi market, acting for clients such as the Saudi Electric Company and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The European Islamic finance group is headed by Atif Hanif, who has expertise in bank finance and capital markets deals, and is widely recognised as a leader in the Islamic finance world.

Practice head(s):Atif Hanif

Other key lawyers:Jamie Durham; Sajjad Juma; Sajjad Khoshroo

Testimonials

'Adept at formulating effective problem-solving options.'

'Sajjad Khoshroo is incredibly commercial and knows how to get a deal done; he can break down complex structures with great insight.'

'A top-notch team, there isn't anything they can't handle.'

'The team has quality people throughout the world, enabling it to tackle problems that span multiple jurisdictions.'

Key Clients

Saudi Electricity Company

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Credit Agricole

Saudi British Bank

Banque Saudi Fransi

Samba Financial Group

Arab National Bank

Gatehouse Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Represented Saudi Electricity Company in a landmark SAR15.2bn syndicated murabaha facility.
  • Represented Credit Suisse in a common terms agreement that envisages multi-source conventional and Islamic facilities to be provided to a leading healthcare group in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Advised Saudi Electricity Company on its $2bn sukuk issuance.
  • Acted for two leading global investment banks in two commodity murabaha facilities, which were backed by the Finnish and Swedish export credit agencies.
  • Advised the ECAs (CESCE, K-Exim, K-Sure, SACE, UKEF) and banks (both conventional and Islamic) on the $4.2bn financing of the expansion and modernisation of the Bapco refinery to a 380,000 barrel per day facility. $530m was made available on an Islamic basis.

Ashurst is best known for its expertise in shari'ah-compliant structured products, both in the bank lending space and in the global capital markets. The practice group also has experience of structuring Islamic investment funds, and is a market pioneer of sorts in the areas of Islamic fintech and blockchain. Headed by the 'very experienced' Abradat Kamalpour, the team has been increasingly involved in assisting conventional financing bodies with the development and implementation of Islamic structures as a method of diversification. In addition, the firm's Saudi Arabian association has been invaluable in securing high-value project finance mandates.

Practice head(s):Abradat Kamalpour

Other key lawyers:Conor Funston; Ida Mokhtassi

Testimonials

'Experts in more than just ad hoc real estate transactions; the team is well known for issuing Islamic bonds and structuring novel shari'ah-compliant financial products.'

'Varied and wide-ranging experience, with a unique understanding of the Islamic finance market.'

Key Clients

Savills Investment Management

Goldman Sachs

Credit Suisse

Fortress Investments

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Tokeny Lux

JP Morgan

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Saray Capital

EFG Hermes

Work highlights

  • Structuring and assessment of the Tokeny Ethereum blockchain platform for the issuance of Sukuk and Islamic token investment instruments.

Acting in conjunction with its extensive global network, which includes a strong presence throughout the GCC, Dentons is instructed by a litany of Islamic and conventional banks, which it advises on real estate finance transactions and a range of capital markets mandates. In particular, the team has noted expertise in Islamic structured finance, an aspect of the practice that was further strengthened in 2019 by the arrival of Yusuf Battiwala, who joined the firm from Allen & Overy LLP. The London-based team works especially closely with its colleagues in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Matthew Sapte heads the wider banking and finance practice.

Practice head(s):Matthew Sapte

Other key lawyers:Yusuf Battiwala; Paul Holland

Testimonials

'A very professional team that is always prepared to go the extra mile.'

'Extraordinarily professional, but at the same time approachable.'

Key Clients

Emirates NBD

Emirates Islamic Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank

Arab Banking Corporation (Bank ABC)

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Emirates NBD Capital

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Noor Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising multiple financial institutions on the update of, and issues under, Sharjah Islamic Bank's trust certificate issuance programme.
  • Advising a financial institution on multiple shari'ah-compliant derivatives transactions.
  • Advising a bank on the shari'ah-compliant refinancing of a London property.
  • Acting for a European bank in the documentation of a shari'ah-compliant master murabaha facility.

The Islamic finance offering at Norton Rose Fulbright cuts across the firm's practices in project finance, ABS and capital markets, investment funds, and real estate finance. Although the team has noted a drop in sukuk redemption, it has picked up steady streams of work in real estate finance throughout Europe and the UK, and has reported increased activity in project and trade finance emanating from Indonesia and various African jurisdictions. Also of note, the team has recently been involved in the development of certain Islamic blockchain products. The Islamic finance practice is headed by Farmida Bi, who chairs the firm's EMEA group and specialises in shari'ah-compliant capital markets transactions.

Practice head(s):Farmida Bi

Other key lawyers:Davide Barzilai; Mark Brighouse

Key Clients

ABC International Bank

Al Rayan Bank

Albaraka Türk Katılım Bankası

Asian Development Bank

Citi

Credit Suisse

Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Finance

HSBC / HSBC Saudi Arabia

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector

Islamic Development Bank

Macquarie Bank Limited

Qatar National Bank

Work highlights

  • Acting for Standard Chartered Bank as mandated lead arranger in a $700m World Bank-backed financing to the Government of Pakistan.
  • Acted for Bank ABC on a refinancing of seven properties located in Canterbury, England.
  • Advising a financial institution on its broker arrangements for the purposes of commodity murabaha transactions.
  • Advising a new financial platform on the development of a shari'ah-compliant crypto currency.
  • Advising a financial institution on a diminishing musharaka real estate portfolio refinancing.

Foot Anstey's Islamic finance group is heavy focused on the London real estate market, where it acts for a variety of Middle Eastern financial institutions and domestic banks with significant shari'ah-compliant activities. Despite any uncertainty in the UK property market, the team has noted a stable appetite for Islamic real estate structures and has also seen rapid growth in investment not only from the Middle East, but also from Malaysia. In addition, the firm is seeking to increase its work for Saudi Arabian investors and as such it finalised an alliance with a domestic Saudi firm in late 2018. Imam Qazi heads the Islamic finance group and is highly regarded among his peers.

Practice head(s):Imam Qazi

Other key lawyers:Lingxi Wang

Key Clients

ABC International Bank

Ahli United Bank UK

Gatehouse Bank

Qatar National Bank (QNB)

QIB (UK)

Sidra Capital

Greenridge Investment Management

Rosette Merchant Bank

90 North Real Estate Partners

Habib Bank Zurich

Malayan Banking Berhad

Work highlights

  • Advised on the purchase of Travelodge at Heathrow Terminal 5 for £40m by a Jersey SPV set up by the UK arm of a Saudi investment fund (SIDRA). Funding of £26m of shari'ah-compliant lending was provided was by ADIB UK.
  • Advised on the sale of part of Parham Student Village in Canterbury by a Jersey SPV backed by 90 North Group (a shari'ah compliant investment adviser) to Canterbury City Council for £17.8m.
  • Advised Rosette Merchant Bank on the Islamic finance, investment, tax and property elements of the acquisition of the Debenhams department store in Swansea.
  • Advised Bank ABC on financing the acquisition of Sigma House by a Cayman incorporated company for £28.3m. The bank provided an Islamic facility of approximately £17m.
  • Assisted QIB (UK) with the £10m shari'ah-compliant refinancing of two hotels in London.

K&L Gates LLP's Islamic finance group is perhaps most recognised for its strength in Doha and Dubai, though the London-based team plays a key role in the practice group, particularly when it comes to cross-border aviation finance, real estate finance involving UK properties, and deals involving hybrid investment platforms. Further, the cross-office practice group has experience of restructuring mandates with shari'ah-compliant debt. A key figure in the team is Barry Cosgrave, who divides his time between the firm's London and Dubai offices.

Practice head(s):Barry Cosgrave

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Lawrence

Key Clients

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Bank J. Safra Sarasin

Citibank

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Emirates Islamic Bank

Emirates NBD

Emirates REIT

Franklin Templeton Investment

Garuda Indonesia

JP Morgan

Julius Baer (Middle East)

Work highlights

  • Represented Deutsche Bank as facility agent and security agent in the restructuring of GGICO.
  • Representing Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Company (AHAB) in Saudi Arabia in connection with certain compromise negotiations with its creditors in relation to approximately $9bn in liabilities.
  • Represented Veling Limited in a $277m combined conventional and Islamic facility for the purchase of an A380 aircraft.
  • Represented Gatehouse Bank in a £16.5m and a £20.5m shari’ah-compliant financing of residential real estate portfolios in the UK.
  • Advised Global Investment House (GIH) on the structuring and documentation of a shari’ah-compliant wrapper to facilitate an investment in a strategic logistics asset in Germany.

The London outfit at Trowers & Hamlins LLP is a key part of a globally integrated Islamic finance group, which spans the firm's UK, Middle East and southeast Asia offices. On the ground in London, the practice group specialises in real estate acquisitions and development finance, involving both high-end residential and commercial property. Sarah Gooden has handled shari'ah-compliant property investments and financing for UK Islamic banks, and Middle Eastern and Malaysian financial institutions.

Practice head(s):Sarah Gooden

Other key lawyers:Neill Gibson

Testimonials

'The senior members of the team are always on hand to assist, and where required have brought in additional resources to complete the transactions.'

'The team is very responsive and has always delivered to a very high standard.'

'An excellent split of partners and junior lawyers has meant that transactions have been completed to an excellent standard within timeframes determined at the outset.'

Key Clients

Lembaga Tabung Haji

90 North Real Estate Partners

Gatehouse Bank

Apache Capital Partners

Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB)

Kuwait Finance House

Standard Chartered Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank

First Energy Bank

Rasmala Investment Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Apache on the £58.5m financing of a build-to-rent development known as The Lexington in Liverpool.

White & Case LLP is known worldwide for its deep involvement in emerging markets across the globe. In addition, the firm is active in some of the GCC's more sophisticated financial jurisdictions, where the cross-office Islamic finance team has advised on the development of shari'ah-compliant debt finance instruments. Though the team is primarily based in Dubai, the practice group fields lawyers in London and also maintains an association relationship in Turkey. Debashis Dey is a key contact working across London and the Middle East.

Practice head(s):Debashis Dey

Clifford Chance LLP's Islamic finance team is spread primarily across the firm's Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices, though the London office has also played a role in the firm's wider Islamic finance offering. Contacts in London include Leonard Cleland and Habib Motani , who moved into a consultant role in 2019.

Other key lawyers:Leonard Cleland; Habib Motani

Druces LLP's banking and property finance lawyers advise a number of Islamic banking institutions in real estate and acquisition finance transactions. Headed by Christopher Axford, the group also acts for Middle Eastern investors in property investment deals. It recently enhanced its Middle East-facing private client practice with the recruitment of Matthew Duncan from Kingsley Napley LLP. Duncan acts as a consultant in the team and is one of the market's only English qualified lawyers who is authorised to advise on estate planning in the DIFC in Dubai.

Practice head(s):Christopher Axford

Other key lawyers:Suzanne Middleton-Lindsley; Nicholas Brent; Simon Pullen

Testimonials

'The team is commercial and professional in its approach, clearly cares for its clients and takes pride in its work.'

'A solid team offering timely and commercial advice.'

Key Clients

Bank of London and The Middle East plc

British Arab Commercial Bank plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Bank of London and The Middle East on the terms of over 15 transactions; both real estate finance transactions and acquisition finance deals.

Fladgate LLP's funds, finance and regulatory practice group has experience of shari'ah-compliant real estate finance transactions and also handles taxation and restructuring mandates involving Islamic financing structures. The team sees the bulk of its activity in the UK property market, where it has advised conventional and Islamic lending banks on the development of shari'ah-compliant financing products. The group also has experience of advising Islamic investment offices on property acquisitions. Ella Leonard is a name to note.

Practice head(s):Ella Leonard

Other key lawyers:Charles Proctor

Work highlights

  • Acting for a bank in the structuring and implementation of a commodity murabaha facility, secured over Hotel Honegg in Switzerland.
  • Acting for a broker client in the establishment of a VAT lending platform to operate within a shari'ah-compliant context.
  • Representing a bank in connection with the preparation of a commodity murabaha to fund the purchase of a prestigious commercial property in Liverpool.
  • Assisting a Middle Eastern investment company and its JV partner in the UK with restructuring and refinancing matters related to a commodity murabaha-financed UK property portfolio.

As part of its asset finance practice, Hogan Lovells International LLP provides shari'ah-compliant financing and transactional advice to banks and specialty aviation finance groups. The team's deal work spans the aviation and maritime sectors and often involves shipowners and commercial and cargo airlines in the Middle East. The asset finance practice is led by Robert Fugard, while senior associate Faraz Naqvi advises on many of the group's Islamic financing deals.

Practice head(s):Robert Fugard

Other key lawyers:Faraz Naqvi

Milbank's London office houses a couple of lawyers with notable Islamic finance capabilities, who as a team make up a key part of the firm's project finance practice throughout EMEA and into Asia. In particular, the team has experience of multi-source financing transactions in the context of natural resources and infrastructure developments, which have often involved Islamic institutions and export credit agencies. John Dewar is recommended.

Practice head(s):John Dewar

Other key lawyers:Munib Hussain

Shakespeare Martineau LLP is well known in the UK Islamic finance market, where it regularly advises family partnerships and Islamic banks on property refinance and development finance deals. Of particular note, the firm has been among the market leaders in the implementation of Islamic structures for use in retail mortgages. Led by Mohammed Saqub, the team has a strong longstanding relationship with Al Rayan Bank, and has continued to expand its work, having recently taken on Gatehouse Bank as a client in the retail mortgage space.

Practice head(s):Mohammed Saqub

Other key lawyers:Nick Sanderson; Christopher von Strandmann; John Archer; Andrew Stevens

Testimonials

'Mohammed Saqub really understands the value of speedy feedback.'

'Competitive on fees when necessary, and always makes sure the clients are protected.'

Key Clients

Al Rayan Bank

Gatehouse Bank

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC

ADIB UK

Habib Bank AG Zurich

Qatar Islamic Bank

UBL

Masraf Al Rayan

Work highlights

  • Over a period of 12 months the department advised clients including Al Rayan and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank on close to £500m worth of retail Islamic mortgages.
  • Assisted Al Rayan Bank with drafting a commodity murabaha facility to two British Virgin Islands companies and related security documents, to refinance two London residential properties.
  • Acted for Al Rayan Bank in the provision of shari'ah-compliant financing to a customer for the refinance of a property for development purposes.
  • Advised a client on the incorporation of 188 buy-to-let properties from the existing dual partnership structure to two SPV company vehicles alongside a refinance of all properties.

Working in conjunction with its Middle East offices and its Saudi association firm, Shearman & Sterling LLP's London finance group handles Islamic bond issuances, secured lending mandates and conventional finance matters for major GCC corporates and investors. The practice group is particularly active for Saudi-listed corporates including real estate and infrastructure developers and natural resources companies. Key contacts include Iain Goalen, 'a very good all-round finance lawyer'.

Practice head(s):Iain Goalen

Work highlights

  • Advising a Saudi-listed company on its SAR2bn sukuk programme through a private placement, including legal due diligence, offering memorandum, sukuk transaction agreements and local regulatory advice.

The banking group at Taylor Wessing LLP has experience of handling shari'ah-compliant components of larger real estate finance and commercial lending deals. The firm also has lawyers based in the Middle East with expertise across a range of Islamic products including Islamic bonds. Jonathan Marks is a key figure in the debt finance group.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Marks

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