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Legal Market Overview

In response to dwindling oil prices over the past several years, the Kuwaiti government has been forced to take effective steps towards diversifying the country’s economy, which has historically been dependent on its oil and natural gas wealth. With the Vision 2035 programme, accompanied by a litany of business-friendly legislative initiatives, the government hopes to monetise untapped economic opportunities in Kuwait. New legislative orders have been introduced with the intention of transforming regulatory regimes governing private ownership, competition, private investment, bankruptcy and the creation of free trade zones. With these changes has come a wide variety of PPP projects to develop Kuwait’s commercial, social and educational infrastructure. Policymakers are especially keen to transform Kuwait into a banking and tourism hub on equal footing with other Gulf hubs such as Dubai and Manama.

Naturally, these developments will be largely funded by foreign investments, and the government has been particularly interested in attracting ambitious Chinese investors. Given the country’s emphasis on rapid infrastructure development and its need to attract substantial international investment, law firms with expertise in construction and administrative law, as well as those with experience of foreign direct investment, are anticipating a consistent flow of work over the coming years. The influx of new PPP projects has created opportunities for law firms acting on the government side, and also for those advising international development and investment groups, the most active of which have come from China.

International firms including Al Tamimi & Company and DLA Piper Kuwait in Association With (NEN) Al-Wagayan, Al Awadhi and Al-Saif have established a footing in Kuwait, while ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners and Al Markaz Law Firm are among the market’s dominant domestic firms.