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- 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)
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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.
BSkyB announced on 25 July 2014 that it had entered into agreements with 21st Century Fox to acquire 21st Century Fox's 57.4% stake in Sky Deutschland AG (SkyD) on a fully diluted basis and its 100% stake in Sky Italia. BSkyB also announced its intention to make a voluntary public takeover offer to the shareholders of SkyD for the purchase of their ordinary registered shares with no par value in SkyD against payment of a cash consideration of €6.75 per SkyD Share. The acquisition of 21st Century Fox's 57.4% stake in SkyD is for a consideration of €3.6bn, valuing SkyD at €6.75 per SkyD share. The total consideration for the acquisition of Sky Italia is £2.45bn with approximately £2.07bn to be paid in cash and the balance to be satisfied through the transfer of BSkyB's 21% stake in National Geographic Channel International to 21st Century Fox at a value of £382m. Subject to the number of SkyD minority shareholders that accept the offer, the total cash consideration overall may be up to approximately £7.0bn. The transactions are subject to regulatory and independent BSkyB shareholder approval. Read more...
Newly-established Opel Group GmbH assumes full responsibility as Single OEM Manufacturer for the Opel/Vauxhall business in Europe including Russia. Read more...
DONG Energy signed an agreement to sell 50% of the German offshore wind farm project Gode Wind 2 to a consortium of Danish pension funds (PKA, Industriens Pension, Lærernes Pension and Lægernes Pensionskasse). The total purchase price amounts to approximately €600m. According to the agreement, the wind farm will have a total capacity of 252 MW. DONG Energy will construct the wind farm, provide operation and maintenance services and will provide a route to market for the power production of Gode Wind 2. The purchase is subject to approval by the cartel authorities. Read more...
Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen has concluded a €500 Mio. syndicated loan for the purpose of refinancing existing financing. ZEISS is an internationally leading technology group in the fields of optics and optoelectronics with more than 24,000 employees and about €4.2bn in revenues. Read more...
Dürr AG, via its wholly-owned subsidiary Dürr Technologies GmbH, has reached agreement with several major shareholders of HOMAG Group AG (HOMAG) to acquire a total of 53.7% of HOMAG shares. The purchase price for the 53.7% of the HOMAG shares is € 219 million. An agreement was also reached with the Schuler family and the Klessmann foundation, who have so far held a 25.1% stake in HOMAG in the form of a share pool, on Dürr joining the pool. The share pool will consent to the completion of a control and/or profit and loss transfer agreement by Dürr. The execution of the purchase contracts is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities. Dürr will submit a voluntary public takeover offer to the HOMAG shareholders to acquire all of the shares.
Gide's Warsaw and London offices have successfully completed another project for KGHM Polska Miedź. The largest Polish mining company officially announced an investment loan agreement for USD 2.5 billion for general corporate purposes which was signed on 11 July 2014. This is one of the most significant transactions of its type carried out in Europe this year.
Arbitration is a mechanism of binding dispute resolution which entails resolving disputes outside court in accordance with procedures and standards as determined by the parties in dispute. Arbitration is therefore an alternative to traditional litigation and is distinct from non-binding forms of dispute resolution such as mediation.- Ogier
As part of the Cayman Islands longstanding commitment to tax transparency and meeting international standards (most notably reflected in the fact that the Cayman Islands are on the G-20's 'white list' of compliant jurisdictions), the Tax Information Authority (International Tax Compliance) (United States of America) Regulations, 2014 (US Regulations) and the Tax Information Authority (International Tax Compliance) (United Kingdom) Regulations, 2014 (UK Regulations and together the Regulations), were gazetted and therefore brought into force in the Cayman Islands on 4 July 2014.- Ogier
The Gulf-based investor, Khalaf Al-Habtoor chose Lakatos, Köves and Partners again for a new hotel transaction in Budapest