United Arab Emirates > Dispute resolution
Index of tables
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
Hilal & Associates
- KBH Kaanuun
Al Tamimi & Company’s dispute resolution practice is ‘among the best as far as local law knowledge is concerned’, and ‘adopts the highest ethical standards and ensures that the team is available to the client at all times’. In 2012, it represented Dubai Islamic Bank in a criminal case against seven businessmen concerning the embezzlement of public funds. Deputy managing partner Hassan Arab heads the dispute practice regionally. Hussain Eisa Shiri, who leads the Dubai dispute resolution team, is ‘one of the best legal brains in the country’, and head of international arbitration Paul Turner is also recommended.
Clifford Chance’s contentious practice is ‘consistently on-the-ball’. Graham Lovett and James Abbott’s broad practice includes Dubai World Tribunal and DIFC court cases as well as major international arbitrations. Abbott is ‘a shrewd strategist and a formidable advocate’, who ‘works tirelessly for the client, and is always able to provide excellent and pragmatic advice’.
Clyde & Co LLP’s heavyweight contentious practice has the breadth and depth of expertise to cover a broad array of sectors and venues. The insurance and reinsurance sectors are key areas of strength, wherein the team represents a number of global insurers and reinsurers including Royal & Sun Alliance and Swiss Re. It also recently represented a car manufacturer in an application before the Indian courts to discharge an injunction against it by its Indian importer. Christopher Mills heads the practice, which includes ten other partners in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Hadef & Partners is ‘an invaluable resource when dealing with UAE court matters or with the UAE judicial authorities’, and fields an ‘extraordinarily receptive and immensely capable’ litigation team that is ‘among the best in the UAE’. In 2012, the team represented Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in various claims in the Abu Dhabi and Dubai courts against Saudi companies Saad and Al Gosaibi. Dubai practice head Richard Briggs has ‘an excellent reputation’, and is ably supported by Adrian Chadwick, Erik Muthow, and Abu Dhabi practice head Saleh Ahnaish.
Afridi & Angell’s well-respected contentious practice is particularly active in DIAC arbitrations with a construction component. It also handles DIFC court cases, where it can utilise its valuable local law knowledge. Shahram Safi is recommended.
DLA Piper Middle East LLP’s contentious practice handled a number of firsts in 2012, including the first QFC Appeal Court case and the first jurisdictional case in the DIFC Court of Appeal. Practice head Jim Delkousis acted in the aforementioned QFC case. Daniel Jude recently relocated from the firm’s Liverpool office, and Henry Quinlan joined from Norton Rose (Middle East) LLP.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s highly respected contentious practice has broad regional scope and can leverage world-class arbitration expertise through its international network. The relocation of Jonathan Rawlings from London has strengthened its arbitration capability in the UAE. The firm experienced an increase in its DIFC workload in 2012, and also broadened its offering to cover regulatory matters and internal investigations. Joseph Huse retired.
Habib Al Mulla & Company fields one of the largest litigation teams with full rights of audience before the UAE courts as well as the DIFC and tribunals. The team handled over 400 cases before the federal and Dubai courts in 2012, representing clients including individuals, government bodies, and UAE-based developers and companies. Founding partner Habib Al Mulla is a seasoned veteran. Karim Nassif joined Cotty Vivant Marchisio & Lauzeral.
Patrick Bourke’s contentious practice in Norton Rose (Middle East) LLP’s Dubai office was reinforced by fraud, asset and trade finance expert Adam Vause’s relocation from Bahrain. In addition to its arbitration expertise, the team also handles DIFC cases for clients including global financial institutions, local and regional corporates, and high-net-worth individuals. It continues to act for Nakheel in various Dubai World Tribunal construction disputes.
International arbitration remains a core feature of Allen & Overy LLP’s disputes practice, which has acted in ICC, DIAC and ADCCAC proceedings, as well as defending the UAE against ICSID arbitration claims brought by foreign investors. It also handles other forms of ADR, as well as court litigation before the DIFC. In 2012, it represented United Investment Bank (a DIFC-registered investment bank) in DIFC court proceedings. Regional managing partner Simon Roderick leads the contentious practice, and is supported by respected construction disputes expert Christopher Mainwaring-Taylor.
Dentons’s contentious capability spans construction, financial services and investment treaty matters for government entities and local and international corporate clients. David Risbridger now heads the team, after Paul Stothard relocated to London. Arbitration specialist Michael Kerr is well regarded.
Fulbright & Jaworski LLP’s ‘outstanding’ commercial litigation practice has ‘bench strength that few firms can match’, particularly in cases concerning the defence, infrastructure and oil and gas industries. International and domestic arbitration are key sources of work, as is DIFC court litigation. Jonathan Sutcliffe is ‘superb’ and ‘very responsive to clients’, and Philip Punwar is ‘an outstanding litigator’.
Galadari & Associates’ practice covers financial services and construction cases for local clients such as Dubai Holdings. Senior legal consultant Leonora Riesenburg focuses on project and construction disputes, and takes ‘a strategic approach to cases’.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP supplements its strength in international law with the UAE law expertise of legal consultant Diana Hamade. The practice has broad regional strength and a notable focus on contentious employment matters. In 2012, Craig Shepherd and Stuart Paterson represented Parson Electronics FZE in a $110m ICC arbitration alleging the breach of an exclusive distributorship and agency agreement.
Holman Fenwick Willan LLP’s broad commercial disputes practice has key strength in the shipping, insurance and trade sectors. The team includes experienced local lawyers, which gives it the ability to tap into work beyond its strong Dubai World Tribunal, DIFC and arbitration work. Hugh Brown relocated to Dubai to be managing partner of the office, offsetting Edward Newitt’s move back to London (although he still focuses on work in the Middle East). In addition, aviation litigators Richard Gimblett and Charles Cockrell arrived as part of the inheritance from legacy firm Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.
Although Pinsent Masons is best known for its market-leading contentious construction practice, its four-partner team also handles a broader range of commercial disputes. The arrival of Björn Gehle from Clayton Utz in 2011 strengthened the team’s international arbitration capability, adding to Michelle Nelson’s keen knowledge of local arbitration provisions (having played a role in drafting the DIAC regulatory provisions).
SJ Berwin LLP’s dispute resolution team had another strong year, thanks in no small part to ‘arbitration guru’ Tim Taylor QC, whose ‘knowledge is encyclopaedic’. Both he and Mark Hoyle sit as arbitrators and mediators in cases, and Hoyle is recommended for his ‘extensive knowledge of the region’. In 2012, the team acted for Meydan Group in a DIAC arbitration concerning a joint venture to conduct work on the Meydan Racecourse project.
Simmons & Simmons Middle East LLP’s ‘extremely professional’ contentious team is particularly highlighted for its ‘tactical acumen and practical approach to problems’. Practice head Adrian Cole is valued for his ‘deep understanding of key issues in litigation’, managing associate Raza Mithani ‘excels in arbitration hearings’, and Philip Norman is ‘a first-rate lawyer’. In 2012, the team acted for a European engineering company in a complex series of matters stemming from fraudulent conduct by its senior management.
Trowers & Hamlins enhanced its contentious construction practice and regional experience by recruiting Eric Teo from Al Tamimi & Company. In addition to its growing volume of construction arbitrations for international contractors, the team also handles financial services disputes. Nick White, who splits his time between Dubai and Malaysia, now heads the practice following Andrew Greaves’ move to Addleshaw Goddard (Middle East) LLP.
Eversheds LLP combines local expertise with an international footprint that few firms match. The team is currently involved in three multimillion-dollar arbitrations for regional companies and multinationals. Nasser Ali Khasawneh has notable arbitration and contentious IP expertise, and John Kemkers is noted for his real estate expertise.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s ‘professional’ dispute resolution practice focuses exclusively on major construction cases, and as such regularly handles large-scale arbitration mandates before all the major arbitral bodies. Its client base encompasses Dubai government entities, international and local engineering firms, and developers and contractors of major infrastructure projects. Thomas Wilson is ‘fast and thorough’.
Reed Smith provides ‘a very good level of service’, and its dedicated expertise in construction disputes has allowed it to profit from the stream of work emanating from that sector, where clients include Reem Developers and ASWAR Engineering. Paul Taylor gives ‘a sensible, commercial view’.
Al-Suwaidi & Company combines ‘expert knowledge of international arbitration and strong local law knowledge’ to deliver a rounded practice to both local and international clients, with construction continuing to be a key source of mandates. Head of arbitration Nigel Truscott has ‘a supportive approach’. Head of litigation Fahmy Hallag is also recommended.
Bin Shabib & Associates (BSA) LLP recently represented a Singaporean company in a dispute against its commercial agent. Practice head Asim Ahmad is the key figure.
Davidson & Co’s ‘small but highly competent’ team handles local and international arbitrations, as well as a significant number of DIFC cases. It represented a Dubai-based company in breach of warranty claims brought under separate actions before the LCIA and ICC. Managing partner Jonathon Davidson and Joseph Durkin provide ‘clear advice on the legal issues, but also understand the political and emotional stakes’.
Hilal & Associates’ Abdullah Rashid Hilal handles arbitration and local litigation.
Boutique commercial firm KBH Kaanuun handles DIFC work, international arbitrations and local court matters for international and local companies and private clients. It has a particular focus on financial services, media, employment and real estate matters, and in 2012 represented the manager of a property syndicate and its related entities in a dispute with DAMAC concerning the Park Towers Developments. Kaashif Basit is the key contact.