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United Arab Emirates > Shipping > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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A go-to firm in the UAE’ for contentious and non-contentious shipping work, Al Tamimi & Company is ‘very responsive, understands clients’ needs and delivers good advice from both the practical and legal perspectives’. Omar Omar, who also handles shipbuilding and admiralty disputes, advised United Arab Shipping Company on re-registering its vessels in the light of its merger with Hapag-Lloyd. Yazan Al Saoudi is a key contact for insurance work.

Clyde & Co LLP has a team of ‘go-to lawyers for shipping and international trade, with good strength in depth’. Robert Lawrence is a source of ‘good, calm and practical advice’ on shipbuilding arbitrations; he is recommended alongside Christopher Jobson, whose expertise encompasses vessel collisions, Patrick Murphy, who ‘has carved out a niche on international trade and sanctions work’, and Ian Chung, who joined from HFW and advises the National Bank of Fujairah on vessel finance transactions.

HFW is ‘renowned in this area’, and its expertise covers wet and dry shipping matters, transactions and advice regarding port operations. Tien Tai handles transactional and vessel finance matters, including advising Topaz Energy and Marine on an $84m loan for two newbuild subsea vessels. Yaman Al Hawamdeh’s practice includes local court litigation on various shipping matters. Richard Strub advises on vessel collisions and arrests, as well as cargo disputes. The firm’s clients include leading port operators, shipping lines and P&I clubs.

Hadef & Partners LLC’s shipping practice primarily handles disputes, but also provides regulatory advice. Adrian Chadwick’s expertise covers vessel collisions, cargo disputes and debt recovery before the UAE, free zone and English courts, as well as international arbitration. Abdulrahman Juma and Omar Al Shaikh are regularly called on to handle local litigation. Clients include World Fuel Services, North of England P&I Association and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha.

Ince & Co stands out for its shipping litigation expertise. Mohamed El Hawaway represented North of England P&I Club in a vessel collision involving Emirati and English law. Rania Tadros is representing D’Amico in the enforcement of an English judgment in the UAE involving questions regarding whether the Dubai or DIFC courts are the appropriate venue. Pavlo Samothrakis acted for Polarcus in debt recovery claims concerning geophysical data services.

Stephenson Harwoodprovides practical and high-quality advice’ on contentious and non-contentious shipping matters. Key figures include James Willn, who handles charterparty disputes, Rovine Chandrasekera, whose clients include Steamship Mutual, Nijoe Joseph, who handles ship financing matters, and Edward Newitt, who joined from HFW and advises insurers and P&I clubs.

Fichte & Co. has ‘an excellent understanding of the industry’. Jasamin Fichte (‘outstanding in so many ways’) and Alessandro Tricoli are acting for a port services provider in a dispute with the Pakistani owner of a single-point mooring pertaining to a fatal accident which occurred after a contract between the parties had been terminated but while the client’s employees and equipment had been retained by the other party. Other areas of work include cargo claims and shipbuilding mandates.

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla’s lawyers handle transactional and contentious shipping matters. Litigator Tarek Saad is advising the UAE Federal Transport Authority on a review of UAE maritime law, while Gordon Prestige advised Zakher Marine International on post-closure matters following a $580m ijara financing for a vessel.

For some Watson Farley & Williams is ‘the pre-eminent firm for vessel finance’. Andrew Baird advises primarily banks but also some shipowners on ship finance transactions; highlights included advising Gulf International Bank on a $121.5m facility to Oman Shipping Company for the acquisition of two VLCCs.

At Afridi & Angell, Bashir Ahmed acts for a number of shipowners, and handles vessel arrests, superyacht transactions and limitation fund matters.

Dentons’ Paul Jarvis advises on various ship finance deals, covering conventional as well as murabaha and ijara structures. Clients include Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and HSBC.

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Legal Developments in United Arab Emirates

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • New Long Term Residency Visas

    After much media coverage, Cabinet Decision 56 of 2018 (the Decision ) has been gazetted which introduces new long term residency visas to, amongst others, four categories of persons in the UAE. 
  • Significant Changes to Civil Procedure Code

    Significant changes to Federal Law No 11 of 1992 (the Civil Procedure Code ) will soon be coming into effect. These changes are introduced through regulations (the Regulations ) issued under the Civil Procedure Code and will come into effect on 16 February 2019.
  • Merger Clearance Matters

    The United Arab Emirates (the UAE ) promulgated legislation to specifically address the regulation of competition (being Federal Law 4 of 2012, or the Competition Law ) several years ago but until recently, it has been the case that the requisite implementing regulations and processes were not in place. This is no longer the case. Not only have the much anticipated implementing regulations been issued, the UAE Ministry of Economy (the Ministry ) (being the regulator in charge of administering the UAE competition regime) has now formed the required committee and issued the anticipated guidance and forms to allow concerned parties to make merger clearance submissions to the Ministry where required to do so pursuant to the Competition Law. 
  • New Promotion Regime for Domestic Funds

    In late November 2018, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) announced that they had reached agreement on facilitating the licensing of domestic funds by each authority for promotion across the UAE. 
  • Federal Penal Code Amendments

    In the latest development in an eventful year, Federal Decree-Law 24 of 2018 introduces amendments to the Federal Penal Code, originally enacted as Federal Law 3 of 1987. 
  • New Anti-Money Laundering Law

    The new anti-money laundering ( AML ) law of the UAE took effect at the end of October 2018. Containing features recommended by the Financial Action Task Force ( FATF ), the new law introduces subtle but important changes to the AML landscape in the UAE. 
  • Confidentiality Under Renewed Focus

    The UAE federal government has recently issued a raft of important legislation, addressing and in many ways updating areas of law that are key to businesses in the jurisdiction. Amongst this legislation is Federal Decree-Law 14 of 2018 concerning the central bank and the organisation of financial institutions and activities (the New Banking Law ) and Federal Decree-Law 20 of 2018 concerning anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing (the New AML Law ). Both the New Banking Law and the New AML Law repeal and replace the previous legislation on their respective subjects. Importantly, the New Banking Law and the New AML Law have together enhanced the protection afforded to confidential information under UAE law, in particular where financial and legal service providers and their customers and clients are concerned. 
  • Get 100% Foreign Ownership Today in Dubai

    Freezones have always been the topic of discussion in the U.A.E. Amongst the various benefits, 100% foreign ownership is one of the advantages which is enjoyed the most by investors in these freezone companies. In the below article, our Company Setup Specialist, Neelesh Pillai talks about everything that you need to know about setting up a Freezone branch in Mainland.
  • Overview of the Bankruptcy Proceedings and Preventive Measures in the UAE

    Before the approval of the UAE Federal Decree Law No. 9 of 2016 (the “Bankruptcy Law”) by the UAE Cabinet on 4 September 2016, the bankruptcy proceedings were regulated under the Commercial Code and were limited to court-driven proceeding addressed to liquidate companies rather than assist in restructuring their debts. This new law puts some light on the regulation on how companies should deal with their financial issues. In below article, our Associate from the Dispute Resolution department, Ahmed Salih talks about the bankruptcy proceedings and the preventive measures in the UAE. With over 10 years of experience in the UAE and Sudan , Litigator Ahmed Salih specializes in Commercial Law, Corporate Law, Civil Claims, Labour Disputes, Shari'a Law, personal status cases, Real Estate Claims, and Bankruptcy.
  • Time-bars, time limits and deadlines for legal cases under UAE law

    Under UAE civil law – like in other civil law systems – not all time-bars are mentioned and dealt with in one particular statue. Our Partner, Alessandro Tricoli , and Senior Associate, Shehab Mamdouh explains the different time bars, time limits and deadlines for legal cases under UAE law.

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