Hall Of Fame

Islamic finance in London


Ashurst's 'exceptionally responsive and extremely commercial' London team acts alone, as well as regularly alongside colleagues in Jeddah and Riyadh, for stakeholders across a range of Shariah-compliant structures relating to bank finance, debt capital markets and structured finance mandates. Leveraging the firm's overarching infrastructure and energy prowess, a core strength of the team lies in its ability to structure complex project finance mandates in the Middle East, transactions which involve multi-source financings, with conventional debt frequently sitting alongside Islamic structures. 'Highly experienced' team head Conor Funston has a deep 'breadth of knowledge' and experience at handling transactions involving differing interpretations and application of Shariah principles in Islamic finance markets across the world. This knowledge is effectively implemented, not only on complex bank and capital markets structures, but also in the context of establishing Shariah compliant investment funds.

Practice head(s):

Conor Funston


The firm handles Islamic finance day-in-day-out and has the experience to structure complex products and knowledge to overcome challenges.’

The team is exceptionally responsive and extremely commercial.’

The team has strong experience and understanding of Shariah structures.’

Key clients

Bank of England

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy



Autarky Capital Ltd

Goldman Sachs

Vision Invest

National Center for Privatization and PPP

DP World


Vision Invest

Red Sea Gateway Terminal Company Limited

Al Mutlaq Group

Gulf International Bank

Al Rajhi Bank

Saudi British Bank

Saudi National Bank

Alinma Bank

ACWA Power

Work highlights

  • Advised a leading fund manager on the establishment of a Shari’ah compliant investment fund focused on pen-European infrastructure project investment.
  • Advised a UK based lender on the structuring of a Shari’ah compliant Trust Certificates platform.
  • Advising Vision Invest on Wave 2 of the Schools PPP programme.

Foot Anstey

With a deep bench of experts at partner and associate levels, spread primarily across its Bristol and Exeter offices, the 'very knowledgeable' team at Foot Anstey provides 'pragmatic and commercially realistic' advice to banks, investors and corporates seeking to utilise a variety of Islamic finance structures. Under the guidance of the vastly experienced Imam Qazi, the team's sweet-spot lies in structuring Shariah compliant transactions in the real estate sector, with the firm regularly picking up work for the majority of Islamic banks active in the UK on both new money and refinancing mandates in the space. Drawing upon a wealth of experience in both private practice, as well as during a stint as General Counsel at a privately owned shariah-compliant investment advisory firm, the 'commercial and approachable' Zahir Nayani  is also pivotal to the firm's success in the real estate sector, helping to grow and develop the firm's lender-side client base, as well as regularly handling work for investors as borrowers. As well as conventional banking advice, the firm has also successfully made in-roads into the burgeoning Islamic fintech arena, with Exeter-based head of retail financial services Alan Hughes well-placed to advise both Islamic banks and Islamic fintech start-ups on the relevant commercial and regulatory implications pursuant to new and often innovative products. 'Proactive and knowledgeable' senior associate Kate Heard  is also gaining traction with clients as a result of her aptitude at structuring a wide range of Islamic financing arrangements pursuant to real estate-driven banking and finance transactions and multi-tranche development transactions. All named practitioners are based in Bristol unless otherwise indicated.

Practice head(s):

Imam Qazi

Other key lawyers:

Zahir Nayani; Alan Hughes; Michael Evans; Karl Bradford; Lingxi Wang; Kate Heard; Laura Autiero


The team provides an amazing service and is always available to answer queries or updates requested.’

The very knowledgeable team provides a pragmatic and commercially realistic approach.’

‘They are truly collaborative and are able to field Islamic finance experts at each level from partner through to associate.’

The go-to-team for Islamic Finance transactions in the UK.’

‘The team has acted on some of the most innovative Islamic Finance matters and are leaders in their field.’

Zahir Nayani has the very rare qualities of being technically outstanding whilst also being extremely commercial and approachable. Zahir is always calm under pressure and is a joy to deal with.’

Zahir Nayani and Kate Heard are both proactive and knowledgeable in their fields and go above and beyond to deliver an excellent service.’

Key clients


QIB (UK) plc

Bank of London and the Middle East

ABC International Bank plc

Black Sand Real Estate W.L.L

Ahli United Bank (UK) plc


Sidra Capital

Riyad Bank (London Branch)

Gulf Islamic Investments

Al Rayan Bank

Urbium Capital

Oryx Real Estate Partners LLP

90 North Real Estate Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Riyad Bank, London Branch on a £64.6m Islamic refinance of the HQ of an international law firm.
  • Advised Sidra Capital on the £74m acquisition of the Cannon HQ in Uxbridge with Islamic financing from the National Bank of Kuwait.
  • Supporting Nester on the expansion of their innovative Islamic peer to peer financing platform.


Regularly forming part of a cross-disciplinary team which centres on new money and restructuring mandates in key areas of firmwide strength, including projects, energy and aviation, Milbank excels in structuring high-profile, multi-jurisdictional transactions, often involving complex inter-creditor arrangements involving conventional and Islamic finance structures. The vastly experienced John Dewar is pivotal to much of the firm's success in the area, acting for sponsors and lenders on big-ticket multi-source project finance transactions, many of which require highly bespoke structures. Alongside Munib Hussain, Dewar recently advised the underwriting banks in a first-of-kind $11.5bn Global Medium Term Note (GMTN) programme and a unique $1.5bn sukuk issuance, the proceeds of which were used to refinance the original bridge facility utilised by a BlackRock-led consortium to fund its minority interest in Aramco Gas Pipelines.

Practice head(s):

John Dewar; Munib Hussain

Other key lawyers:

Bader Thabti

Key clients

NCB Capital

Al Rajhi Bank

Alinma Bank

Riyad Bank

HSBC Saudi Arabia

MUFG (Malaysia)

National Bank of Kuwait

Islamic Development Bank

Abu Dhabi Pension Fund

Emirates Islamic Bank


Work highlights

  • Advised the underwriting banks on a first of a kind $11.5bn GMTN Programme (including a Formosa tranche) and an innovative first of a kind $1.5bn sukuk issuance which utilised a proportion of the shares owned by GreenSaif Pipelines SARL (a Blackrock entity) in Aramco Gas Pipelines Company LLC (owned 51% by Saudi Aramco and 49% by GreenSaif Pipelines) as the assets in a wakala-murabaha sukuk issuance.
  • Advised Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC in relation to the restructuring of the NMC Healthcare Group, the largest private healthcare provider in the United Arab Emirates and previously a FTSE 100 listed group. The restructuring was structured to facilitate Islamic lenders.
  • Advised Islamic banks, Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation as the lenders in connection with the $5.2bn financial completion of the Rabigh Phase 2 Project.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Led from London by Farmida Bi  and also able to leverage significant resources on the ground in Dubai, the ‘well organised, efficient and client focused team’ at Norton Rose Fulbright is well-positioned to advise investors, corporates, governments and banks across a broad range of Islamic finance structures pursuant to transactions in core areas of expertise for the firm as a whole, including energy, transport and real estate. A good deal of the work flow centres around debt capital markets transactions, with Bi recently advising ACWA Power on the update and second drawdown under its domestic sukuk programme, the proceeds of which were used to refinance its large equity investment in a high profile and strategically significant Jizan IGCC project. Yusuf Battiwala has made a strong impact to the practice (particularly in the context of derivates and structured finance matters) since his arrival from Dentons in March 2022, including handling a considerable number of mandates for large commercial/investment banks on Islamic repo transactions. Counsel Andrew Coote is also a key member of the team, regularly working alongside Bi for underwriters and issuers, including their continued work for Pakistan Ministry of Finance on its sovereign sukuk and bond issuances.

Practice head(s):

Farmida Bi

Other key lawyers:

Yusuf Battiwala; Andrew Coote; Mark Brighouse


‘It is a well organised, efficient and client focused team.’


Key clients

JP Morgan

First Abu Dhabi Bank


Macquarie Bank

ACWA Power Development

Bank ABC

Bank of London and the Middle East

Bank of New York Mellon

Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Finance

Islamic Development Bank

Save the Children UK

Mayer Brown International LLP

Led from London by Islamic finance specialist Barry Cosgrave and also able to draw upon the expertise of banking, securities and corporate lawyers throughout the firm's expansive international network, Mayer Brown International LLP is well-positioned to advise a myriad stakeholders, including asset managers and banks, on complex global mandates involving Shariah compliant structures or forming a part of hybrid structure alongside conventional debt. Eschewing the more commoditised mandates favoured by some of the ranked firms, the team's sweet-spot lies in structuring novel and often first-of-kind transactions requiring a partner-led approach and deep knowledge of Sharia principles. In this context, Cosgrave is not only active on new money loan and debt capital markets (including structured financings) mandates but also regulatory matters, in addition to work involving distressed debt/restructuring. Another strength of the team is on the development of products allowing Shariah compliant investors access to conventional funds and thereby affording them the ability of investing in individual assets using conventional leverage.

Practice head(s):

Barry Cosgrave

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Street; Hannah Davies

Key clients

Sidra Capital

Al Khair Capital


Pentavirate Global Investments

Work highlights

  • Acted as international counsel to Al Khair Capital (in its capacity as agent and delegate) in connection with a SAR 500,000,000 locally-listed Sukuk issuance by Saudi industrial company, Al Kathiri Holding.
  • Represented AfricInvest in connection with its $30m murabaha-structured investment into UAE-headquartered consumer engagement platform, ArabyAds.
  • Representing Pentavirate LLC on the structuring and documentation of a hybrid securitised Sukuk issuance to be backed by self-storage, senior living and multi-family real estate assets in the US.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Primarily centred from Birmingham and London, the 'commercial and driven' team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP is 'very experienced in dealing with Sharia compliant structures' for borrowers and lenders seeking or providing the financing to facilitate commercial and residential real estate in the UK. Although it is starting to picking an increased flow of work for foreign entities, including funds, looking to invest in the UK, the team has over the years been particularly successful in developing strong ties with banks (both wholly Shariah compliant entities and conventional lenders with an Islamic window), ensuring that it secures a huge flow of work, particularly in the context of retail mortgages. Recognised as a 'a leading figure in the Islamic market sector', team head Mohammed Saqub has been pivotal to the firm's success in the area with his expertise recognised not only by clients on transactional work but also the UK government, which he has provided guidance to in terms of growing Islamic finance within the country. Legal director Afreen Cole has 'a solid understanding of Islamic finance principles', which she deploys to good effect on real estate finance matters and in the negotiation of Commodity Murabaha facility agreements.

Practice head(s):

Mohammed Saqub

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Stevens; Nick Sanderson; Afreen Cole; Hannah Pickering; Nicola Storey-Wood; Fatema Ali


Shakespeare Martineau has an extremely strong Islamic finance practice and represents a wide range of Islamic banks and sponsors.’

The team is very experienced in dealing with Sharia compliant structures and clients looking to structure their facilities in a manner that is compatible with Sharia law.’

‘The lawyers are very easy to deal with and always go the extra mile. They are also very commercial and driven and focussed on getting the job done.’

Mohammed Saqub is a leading figure in the Islamic market sector.’

Mohammed Saqub and Afreen Cole are both exceptional lawyers with a solid understanding of Islamic finance principles. Not only are Mohammed and Afreen technically able, but they are also commercially-minded.’ 

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC


Al Rayan Bank plc

Gatehouse Bank plc

Habib Bank AG Zurich (Islamic and conventional)

Islamic Development Bank

Masraf Al Rayan


Qatar Islamic Bank PLC



Work highlights

  • Assisted Al Rayan on the refinance of circa £35m secured against real estate in the UK.
  • Undertook a significant acquisition and funding round with a Gulf sharia-compliant private equity investor based in the UAE in a UK Islamic Finance Fintech.
  • Advising a number of Islamic banks (e.g. Al Rayan and Gatehouse) on their retail mortgages, helping to add circa £500 million to their retail books.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Acting alone, as well as frequently forming part of multi-office teams with colleagues on the ground in key offices across the Middle East and South East Asia, Trowers & Hamlins LLP's London team provides 'high-quality advice' for stakeholders utilising a wide range of Shariah-compliant structures on both inbound and outbound investments. On the domestic front, Katharine Lewis regularly handles real estate work for inward investors, ensuring that their investment vehicles are Shariah compliant, as well as advising banks on Murabaha loans. Lewis is also currently involved, alongside lawyers from the firm's Oman, Bahrain and Malaysia offices, on the advice to Ahli United Bank on all aspects of its conversion from a conventional bank to an Islamic bank. Helen Fysh co-heads the 'highly professional and committed' London-based Islamic finance team alongside Lewis. Senior associate Jonathan Grosvenor is also recommended, particularly as it relates to Sukuk issuances and Islamic derivatives and repo work.

Practice head(s):

Katharine Lewis; Helen Fysh

Other key lawyers:

Neill Gibson; Moad Giebaly; Simon Valner; Jonathan Grosvenor


‘Katharine Lewis and Simon Valner have been core to our recent financing work. They work well as a team.’

‘The team provides high-quality advice.’

‘The team displays an outstanding level of professionalism and commitment.’

‘Great team with a good cross-disciplinary co-ordination. Personable and collegiate. Willing to think proactively.’

Key clients

Lembaga Tabung Haji

Apache Capital Partners LLP

90 North Real Estate Partners

Jade Merchant Bank LLP

Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB)

Warba Bank KSCP

Rasameel Investment Company KSCC

Dimah Capital Investment Company KSCC

Dubai Islamic Bank

First Energy Bank

Rasmala Investment Bank

SEDCO Capital

A’ayan Real Estate Company

Arbah Capital

Sidra Capital

Sohar Islamic

Oman Takaful Insurance Company

Meethaq Islamic Banking, bank muscat S.A.O.G. (Meethaq)

Al Muzn

Sohar International Bank S.A.O.G.

EFG-Hermes UAE Limited

Maisarah Islamic Banking Services

Sanvira Carbon SFZ LLC

Alizz Islamic Bank

Nama Holdings

Ahli United Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Sohar International Bank S.A.O.G. and EFG-Hermes UAE Limited as joint global co-ordinator and bookrunner, and Sohar as issue manager and investment manager on the IPO of 208,137,400 units in The Pearl Real Estate Investment Fund (Pearl REIF) to investors across Oman and the GCC, which have been listed on the Muscat Stock Exchange.
  • Advised the banking syndicate led by Al Baraka Islamic Bank B.S.C. (c) (Al Baraka), comprising Bahrain Islamic Bank B.S.C., Khaleeji Commercial Bank B.S.C. and National Bank of Kuwait S.A.K.P. (collectively, the Facility Participants) on the $200m syndicated Murabaha facility made available to Bahrain’s Oil and Gas Holding Company (nogaholding).
  • Acted for a Shari’ah-compliant fund sponsored by a joint venture between 90 North and Rasameel (the JV) in relation to a £52.7m property investment loan facility in relation to various student accommodation schemes spread across the UK: with properties in Exeter, Leamington Spa, Edinburgh, Leicester and Cardiff.

White & Case LLP

With a sizeable presence in London and also able to draw upon the the expertise of practitioners based in key international jurisdictions, including Dubai, White & Case LLP is well-positioned to advise lenders, funds, corporates and governments on transactions traversing product areas and geographies. Capital markets-related work informs much of the deal flow, and as well as regularly advising issuers and arrangers on large Sukuk issuances, the team, which is led by Debashis Dey (who splits his time between Dubai and London), is also adept at advising on regulatory issues and complex structured finance mandates.

Practice head(s):

Debashis Dey

Other key lawyers:

Ingrid York; Anthony Colegrave


The team is highly responsive and understood the product in depth which allowed us to easily reach terms with the borrower.’

It is a proactive team with a good approach to problem solving and addressing client requirements.’

‘White & Case has a very strong team led by Debashis Dey. They have a strong professional background and practical experience of Islamic finance.’

Key clients

Goldman Sachs International

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

SNB Capital Company


BNY Mellon Corporate Trustee Services Limited

Al Rajhi Capital Company

Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company

United Nations Development Program


Republic of Indonesia

Citi Group

Standard Chartered Bank

JP Morgan

Emirates NBD

KFH Capital

Moove Africa

Work highlights

  • Advised Goldman Sachs International on an up to $150m warehouse securitisation of buy now, pay later (BNPL) receivables originated by Nakhla for Information Technology Systems LLC (Tamara) in Saudi Arabia.
  • Advised SNB Capital Company on the establishment of its debut SAR 5,000,000,000 Short-Term Certificate Issuance Programme and the inaugural SAR denominated issuance in April 2022 and a follow-on issuance in November 2022.
  • Advised the Arrangers on the establishment of $4,000,000,000 Trust Certificate Issuance Programme of Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation and inaugural issuance of $1,000,000,000 Senior Sustainable Certificates due 2028 under the programme.

Clyde & Co

Led by Adil Hussain, who splits his time between London and Dubai, the 'responsive' team at Clyde & Co provides a 'high-quality and commercial service' to banks, funds and corporates across a range of Islamic finance structures, including Sukuk and Murabaha, to facilitate a broad array of commercial activity. Hussain, who provides added insight to clients by dint of his previous role as general counsel at a Shariah-compliant bank, has a strong reputation in the market, particularly in the context of UK real estate Islamic finance.

Practice head(s):

Adil Hussain


The responsive team provides a high-quality and commercial service.’

‘The service was of a high quality. Timing and budgets were provided and were met. Feedback was provided throughout the engagement. Interaction with the counterparty was constructive and all possibilities were considered – a very commercial approach.’

Key clients

Bidaya Home Finance Company

Bank ABC

Mizuho Bank

British Arab Commercial Bank



Riyad Capital (London branch)

Investra Capital

Bidaya Home Finance Company

Al Hail Holding Limited

Bank of London and The Middle East plc

Dubai Islamic Bank

Select Group

NEO Merchants Capital

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD)

FIM Partners


Qatar National Bank

Dukhan Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Bidaya Home Finance Company the establishment of a SAR1,000,000,000 Sukuk Programme and assisting with all four issuances under it over several years.

Druces LLP

Deploying a multi-disciplinary approach which leverages the expertise of lawyers with substantial Islamic finance expertise within core areas of focus for the firm, including corporate, M&A, real estate and banking, Druces LLP provides a very effective service to financial institutions, corporates and investors providing or seeking finance utilising a variety of Shariah-compliant products. Christopher Axford, who co-heads the team alongside Antony Cotton, handles a significant volume of Shariah-compliant property finance mandates for core client, Bank of London and The Middle East.

Practice head(s):

Antony Cotton; Christopher Axford

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Middleton-Lindsley; Claire Rigby; Rebecca Pinder


A responsive team.’

‘Good at Islamic real estate finance.’

Key clients

Bank of London and The Middle East

WIDR Group

Astute Capital plc

UV Cap3 Plc

Propiteer Capital plc

XVIR Healthcare Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Bank of London and The Middle East on a number of commodity Murabaha transactions ranging from £10m to £30m in value.
  • Advised Propiteer Capital Plc on its sukuk issuance programme.
  • Advised XVIR Healthcare plc on its sukuk issuance programme.

Hill Dickinson LLP

The arrival in July 2022 of 'exceptional' senior associate Afsor Ullah to Hill Dickinson LLP from Weightmans has hugely strengthened the firm's capacity in the area by dint of his 'great expertise and experience in Islamic finance'. Much of the work centres around the UK residential and commercial property sector, with Ullah deploying a 'technically able' and 'commercially-minded' approach for both banks and investors across a range Shariah-compliant techniques, including Diminishing Musharakah and Commodity Murabahah.

Practice head(s):

Jim Garton; Afsor Ullah


‘The firm has a strong Islamic finance practice and represents a wide range of Islamic bank and sponsors.’

The lawyers are very easy to deal with and always go the extra mile. They are also very commercial, driven and focussed on getting the job done.’

‘Afsor Ullah has great expertise and experience in Islamic finance.’

Key clients




International Investment Gate

Enferm Limited

100% Hotels UK Plc

Muntada Aid

Work highlights

  • Advised Qardus Limited with setting up an Islamic finance “secured lending” facility for financing up to £500,000
  • On the Islamic finance panel for BLME and continue to support the bank with its Islamic finance mortgages in the UK granted to individuals and companies. The deal sizes range from £1m to £25m.
  • Advising 100% Hotels UK Plc on the JV structuring and acquisition of real estate assets in the UK worth circa £900m.

Keystone Law

Drawing upon ‘in-depth knowledge and experience in Islamic finance across a variety of structures’, Keystone Law is a popular choice among banks, funds and corporates, particularly in the context of inward investment into the UK. Central to the firm’s success in the field is ‘very approachable’ Fara Mohammad, whose deep and broad knowledge in the space leads to a myriad instructions, both on the transactional and regulatory front. Mohammad is also a thought leader, and has been at the cutting-edge of the rapidly maturing UK  Islamic finance ecosystem, including as it relates to fintech.

Other key lawyers:

Martin Brown; Fara Mohammad


The team has excellent interpersonal skills, in-depth knowledge and experience in Islamic finance across a variety of structures.’

The team has in-depth experience in Islamic finance across all segments.’

‘Exceptional pro-active approach with focus on delivering on client need. Prepared do go extra distance to ensure they understand all of the issues at hand and offer alternate solutions.’

Fara Mohammad was very approachable. She was able to understand our requirement and suggest alternative solutions to meet our requirement.’

Work highlights