The Legal 500

United Arab Emirates

Editorial

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.

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in United Arab Emirates

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to
  • P+P Pöllath + Partners berät die DATA MODUL AG, München, bei öffentlicher Übernahme durch Arrow

    Die DATA MODUL Aktiengesellschaft Produktion und Vertrieb von elektronischen Systemen mit Sitz in München („Data Modul AG“) steht vor einer öffentlichen Übernahme durch die Arrow Electronics, Inc. mit Sitz in Centennial, Colorado/USA. Deren Tochtergesellschaft Arrow Central Europe Holding Munich GmbH hat als Bieterin ein freiwilliges öffentliches Übernahmeangebot zum Erwerb sämtlicher Aktien der Data Modul AG zu einem Angebotspreis von EUR 27,50 je Aktie angekündigt. Dies entspricht einer Prämie von rund 36% auf den gewichteten durchschnittlichen Börsenkurs der Data Modul-Aktien während der letzten drei Monate.
  • VEGAS LEX continues to represent OGK-2 in its gas turbine engine quality dispute

    On January 14, 2015, the VEGAS LEX law firm won an appeal case in the Sixteenth Commercial Court of Appeals for the sake of the Second Generating Company of the Wholesale Power Market (OGK-2)* in a dispute over the quality of a gas turbine engine (GTD-110) supplied by NPO Saturn to compel the defendant to restore the equipment's operation after a breakdown. The court ordered NPO Saturn to repair the broken GTD-110, with the cost of repairs adding up to RUB1bln, which is comparable with the cost of new equipment.
  • VEGAS LEX helps collect lost profit for Khanty-Mansiysk Non-State Pension Fund

    On January 13, 2015, the VEGAS LEX Dispute Resolution Practice won a case in the Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals for the sake of the Khanty-Mansiysk Non-State Pension Fund* in a dispute over a trust management agreement with regard to the fund's pension reserves.
  • Positive Developments for the Economy of Cyprus

    Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 It has been around one year and a half since the Eurogroup decisions to recapitalise Bank of Cyprus via a bail-in on 25 th of March 2013. Cyprus has worked hard since then to exit the financial crisis and to maintain its status and reputation as an international financial centre. Within October 2014, several positive developments which took place suggest that Cyprus is on a good path. These positive developments include: /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";}
  • Avellum Partners Advised Nadezhda Group on Corporate Restructuring

    Kyiv, 29 December 2014  - Avellum Partners advised Nadezhda Group ("Group"), operating in the liquefied petroleum and gas industry, on tax planning for holding structure of the Group, all legal and tax aspects of corporate restructuring and acquisition finance issues, aimed at obtaining finance from international finance institutions ("IFIs").
  • Avellum Partners Advised on Exchange Offer of Metinvest

    Kyiv, 14 January 2015  - Avellum Partners acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch and ING Bank N.V., London Branch, who acted as Dealer Managers, in connection with the exchange offer of Metinvest B.V., the parent company of a vertically integrated group of steel and mining companies ("Metinvest") for its USD500 million 10.25% guaranteed notes due 2015, coupled with the new issue of USD289.7 million 10.5% guaranteed notes due 2017 ("Notes") under its USD1,500,000,000 Guaranteed Medium Term Note Programme and a 25% cash consideration. The Bank of New York Mellon, London Branch acted as the Exchange Agent. The Notes are listed and admitted to trading on the Global Exchange Market of the Irish Stock Exchange.
  • Gorodissky new practices

    In December 2014 the IP team of Gorodissky & Partners was joined by Valery Narezhny who will be in charge of the firm's new law practices such as taxes, customs and commercial laws. Valery graduated from Finance Academy under the Government of Russia (Moscow) majoring in "Finances and Credits" and the Academy of Law and Management (Moscow) majoring in "Civil Law", holds PhD degree in economics. He is specializing in taxes, currency, customs, labor and commercial laws and in court disputes. Valery started his carrier in the state bodies (Tax Policy Department, Ministry of Finance, and Government Administration), worked for a number of Russian and international law firms. He is author of more than 150 publications and 9 books on taxation and civil law issues. Valery Medvedev, Managing Partner, Gorodissky & Partners, commented: "It appears from our clients' enquiries that they are in the need to obtain consultations and professional advice relating not only to protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights but also to IP issues governed by taxes, labor, currency and commercial laws. Valery Narezhny having considerable experience and knowledge in these practices will no doubt enhance our team of lawyers and considerably enlarge the range of the firm's legal services"
  • HaoLiWen helps client resolve TP case with the customs

    HaoLiWen has advised a multinational client in a case of the customs challenge against import transfer pricing. Recently, this case was successfully closed. The customs has accepted the transfer pricing policies of the client.  The client has incurred no further import tax exposure, and the deposits put up with the customs for the shipments in question are to be refunded by the customs to the client.  
  • VEGAS LEX to support 2015 Jessup Moot Court Competition

    The VEGAS LEX law firm will support this year's Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the largest and most prestigious law school competition, which will take place in Moscow from January 28 through February 1.
  • P+P Pöllath + Partners berät die Deutsche Bank und DN Capital bei Investitionen in Onlineportal Wi

    Der Onlinehändler Windeln.de hat seine bislang größte Finanzierungsrunde abgeschlossen. Mit einem Investitionsvolumen von insgesamt etwa EUR 45 Mio. beteiligten sich neben dem Hauptinvestor Goldman Sachs auch die bisherigen Geldgeber MCI Management, 360 Capital Partners, die Londoner Beteiligungsgesellschaft DN Capital sowie mehrere Deutsche Bank Fonds.