- How do the awards work?
- The Legal 500 United Kingdom Awards 2013
- The Legal 500 United States Awards 2014 - In-house winners
- The Legal 500 United States Awards 2014 - Law firm winners
- The Legal 500 Latin America Awards (coming soon)
- The Legal 500 Germany Awards (coming soon)
- Frequently asked questions
- Legal market overview
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Legal market overview
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates bordering the Persian Gulf of which the larger two, Dubai and oil-rich Abu Dhabi, are important centres for local and international law firms. The attractions of these two cities to some 60 corporate law firms, half of which have offices in both, lies in the perception that the UAE provides the most stable political base for targeting the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets. The Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC), which was established in 2004, has all the characteristics of an offshore financial centre.
Firms such as Allen & Overy LLP, Clifford Chance and Clyde & Co LLP have a longstanding presence in the jurisdiction, but other law firms continue to establish offices. Recent arrivals include Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Morgan Lewis LLP. However, Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP has announced the closure of its Abu Dhabi office, and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has left the UAE. UAE firms such as Al Tamimi & Company, Hadef & Partners and Bin Shabib & Associates (BSA) LLP have raised aspirations to meet the international challenge. The merger which formed Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla is a significant and interesting merger.
The legal processes applicable in the UAE are complex. A federal legal system applies to the smaller emirates but each of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah has a civil code local court system with its own Cassation Court; all court proceedings are in Arabic and only UAE nationals have rights of audience. The DIFC Judicial Authority (DIFC Courts) provides an independent common law judicial system within the financial district. Other forums include the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) and the Dubai World Tribunal (DWT).
Recovery from the 2008 financial crisis is well underway: stalled construction projects are being restarted and major infrastructure initiatives including hospitals, roads, port facilities, railways and airport extensions are proceeding. M&A deals in the MENA region have picked up in certain sectors such as telecoms, and the hotel, hospitality and retail sectors are bullish. Litigation and arbitration in the construction sector arising from the financial crisis continues to keep firms busy.
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In financial transactions, the most common measure of protecting the rights of creditors is to have the transaction secured by assets or debts of the debtor or by other third party security creation methods. Taking effective security specifies that the creditor can, in the event of default of payment or on the bankruptcy of the debtor, take possession of that asset, sell it and use the proceeds to repay its debt. This strengthens the position of secured creditors over other unsecured creditors of the debtor.
IS IT ALL DOWNHILL...
Reece Leggett helps employers and employees understand their rights and obligations. In brief this article addresses the law surrounding annual leave. In particular it discusses:
The past year has seen a substantial improvement in the performance of banks and financial institutions in the UAE. Adequate provisions have been made for most nonperforming loans, banks are once again aggressively competing for good assets and 2012 bank results show substantial improvement in profits.
1. According to recently published statistics, the UAE’s medical tourism market was worth $1.58 billion in 2012 and this is expected to grow a further 6.5 per cent to $1.69 billion in 2013. The UAE- with its predominately expatriate population of around 8 million- and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are- it seems- the two jurisdictions in the GCC where the demand for medical services- and the appetite to cater to this demand- is booming. The two "senior" Emirates in the seven member federation- Dubai and Abu Dhabi- have broadly similar demographics, hospital beds and medical practitioners although in Dubai the private sector is substantially larger than the public sector whilst the reverse is the case in Abu Dhabi.
1. Construction industry overview for the jurisdiction
The Emirate of Dubai has long been a centre for trade and commercial activity and such activity will inevitably generate disputes. In Arabic culture, traders endeavour to settle their disputes by negotiation, either between themselves or under the guidance of a leading citizen. The growth of international trade and investment has brought a wider range of disputes and Dubai has sought recently to place itself as a centre for commercial dispute resolution. Parties to international contracts are generally unwilling to submit their disputes to the Dubai Courts, with proceedings conducted in Arabic, and therefore international contracts generally include provisions for disputes to be resolved by arbitration. The law is developing rapidly in Dubai and the purpose of this article is to provide an insight into current arbitration practice at this exciting stage of its development.
The Exempted Limited Partnership Law, 2014 (the New ELP Law ) has replaced the Exempted Limited Partnership Law (2013 Revision) (the Previous Law ). The New Law includes significant changes to the Cayman Islands' statutory framework regulating exempted limited partnerships ( ELPs ) that will increase the attractiveness of ELPs and will be appreciated by managers, investors and creditors alike. Private equity sponsors in particular will notice substantial improvements that are indicative of Cayman's continuing commitment to balanced and commercially sensible legislation. Read more...
RESTRUCTURING - COURT PROCEDURES
On 23 May 2014, the States of Jersey passed the Companies (Amendment No. 11) (Jersey) Law 201- (the Amendment Law ). This will now be sent to the UK Privy Council for consideration, then laid before the States of Jersey for a final time before coming into force. The latest information we have is that the Privy Council will be approving the law on 19 July 2014 and it may come into effect as soon as 4 August 2014.
The Hague, 4 July 2014 - BarentsKrans has appointed Joost Fanoy as a partner in the Antitrust & Public Procurement department, effective as of July 1, 2014. Joost specializes in European law in general with a particular focus on European and Dutch competition, public procurement and state aid law and is the head of the Antitrust and Public Procurement Practice Group. Joost is also a member of the Cartel damages team of BarentsKrans.
PineBridge Investments Middle East, a global multi-asset class investment manager with regional headquarters in Bahrain, and nearly 60 years of experience in emerging and developed markets, has acquired a 50% equity stake in Romatem, the leading physical therapy and rehabilitation services chain in Turkey.
Isbank issued 750 million USD notes under its GMTN programme established in 2013. The notes are listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and bear interest at the rate of 5 % with a maturity date 2021. Mr. Omer Collak (partner) and Mr. Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have acted for the joint lead managers Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
Halkbank issued five-year term fixed interest rate US currency notes, with a total amount of USD 500 million with an interest rate of 4.765 % and an annual coupon rate of 4.750 %. The notes offered the lowest borrowing rate in the first five-month period of 2014, and total demand rose nearly nine-fold due to high investor interest. The note issuance drew great interest from international investors settled in the Middle East and Asia, as well as those investors based in the US and Europe. Mr Omer Collak (partner) and Mr Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have advised the joint lead managers.
Turkiye Finans issued the first ringgit sukuk originating from Turkey. The bank initially raised MYR 1 billion with a five-year commodity sukuk on June 30, with an annual return of 6 %. The sukuk under the programme will have tenure of one to 20 years. Funds raised will go towards general corporate purposes. The sukuk will be issued through TF Varlik Kiralama A.S., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Turkiye Finans. Malaysia's RAM Ratings has accorded the programme an indicative long-term rating of AA3. HSBC Amanah Malaysia and Standard Chartered Saadiq were the joint advisers. Mr Omer Collak (partner) and Mr Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have advised Turkiye Finans and the issuer TF Varlik Kiralama A.S.
Ziraat Bank, the largest state owned bank of Turkey, established GMTN programme on 21 May 2014, for the notes to be issued up to USD 2 billion listed on Irish Stock Exchange. The notes are unconditional, unsubordinated and unsecured obligations, and rank pari-passu with Ziraat Bank's other senior unsecured obligations.
Vakifbank issued EUR 500 million 5-year unsecured and unsubordinated notes under the first GMTN programme of Turkey established in 2013. The notes are listed on Irish Stock Exchange and bear interest at the rate of 3.5 % p.a. with a maturity date 17 June 2019. This is the very first EUR denominated RegS offering of a Turkish entity.