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Leading Silks

Michael Black QC - XXIV Old BuildingsA tough and aggressive advocate who rarely takes prisoners. He understands the legal politics of the Gulf Region and has a first-rate grasp of the issues of jurisdiction and enforcement that often arise in that region.
Guy Blackwood QC-Quadrant ChambersHe identifies how to win a case and how to neutralise any weaknesses. He advises on difficult areas and how to overcome them so there are no surprise, and has experience of the Dubai International Financial Centre courts and its judges. '
Nicholas Craig QC - 3 Verulam BuildingsA very talented advocate in hearings that is able to quickly come to grips with fact heavy matters. Very easy to work with.
Yash Kulkarni QC - Quadrant ChambersVery calm and considered, he knows what appeals to tribunals and is unflappable under pressure.
Ali Malek QC - 3 Verulam BuildingsA very effective advocate with an authoritative and persuasive style. As well as being a strong team player who understands the competing pressures within a legal team, he has very strong client-facing skills and is responsive, dependable and inspiring to work with.
Hodge Malek QC - 3 Verulam BuildingsKnown globally for his astuteness and razor-sharp intellect, his brilliance comes to the fore in complicated cross-border matters.
Tom Montagu-Smith QC - XXIV Old BuildingsVery few QCs have the same experience and knowledge on local law and procedure. Although a clear leader in procedural matters in the DIFC and ADGM courts, Tom is easy to work with and values input from the entire team.
David Quest QC - 3 Verulam BuildingsAn outstanding legal mind and a talented cross-examiner and advocate - he has a great grasp of financial issues and an easy manner in explaining these in an understandable way.
Rupert Reed QC - Serle CourtRupert is extremely calm under pressure, personable and has strong analytical and drafting skills. His oral advocacy skills are also strong and he is able to think on his feet and he has in-depth knowledge of English and DIFC law and DIFC Court procedural issues.
David Russell QC - Outer Temple ChambersSolicitors appreciate his practicality - and he always seems to have an answer ready.
Mohinderpal Sethi QC - Littleton ChambersA go-to employment barrister - he exudes confidence and is extremely knowledgeable.
Robert-Jan Temmink QC - Quadrant ChambersA great advocate in every sense, he rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in - he has a great presence in court, able to read the mood and is listened-to attentively.
Stephen Cogley QC - 4 Pump CourtTenacious, strategically astute, commercial - a good advocate with an incredible intellect.
Ewan McQuater QC - 3 Verulam BuildingsA real heavyweight and an excellent advocate. A top choice for a difficult case.
Andrew Onslow QC - 3 Verulam BuildingsDedicated to the cause, flexible and a great advocate - judges really liusten to what he says.
Christopher Smith QC - Quadrant ChambersHis advice is extremely informative, and tailored to provide all possible arguments that could be run by the parties, including any potential counter arguments to address the legal issues. Further, his knowledge and expertise in understanding pure marine technical issues are also very helpful.
Robert Thomas QC - Quadrant ChambersHe has the sort of strong of overall academic and technical abilities which are to be found in any top class commercial silk allied to an ability to draft quickly and concisely, and backed up by persuasive and instinctive advocacy skills. A first class communicator, both in writing and orally.

2021 Silks

Saima Hanif QC - 3 Verulam BuildingsVery bright, she tends to specialise in cases in the DIFC and has a good knowledge of financial services and the relevant regulatory framework.

Leading Juniors

Ali Almihdar - Outer Temple ChambersExtremely knowledgeable of matters of Saudi law, he has a keen understanding of international arbitration.
Tariq Baloch - 3 Verulam BuildingsTariq is powerful advocate with a commanding presence and shows great poise in delivery.
Yash Bheeroo - 3 Verulam BuildingsYash is very hard working and gets on well with the clients and he has a good understanding of the local culture and customs which few barristers do.
Edward Kemp - Littleton ChambersA first choice of counsel - fantastically precise and you can rely totally on him to get a handle on the details of a matter.
Farhaz Khan - 3 Verulam BuildingsAttentive to the needs of law firms in the busy jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts, he is responsive and easy to work with,.
Timothy Killen - 2 Temple GardensHe has an exceptional knowledge of English commercial law, combined with an unparalleled experience of commercial litigation in the Middle East. His style as an advocate is calm, assured and attractive - he always looks to persuade the judge rather than batter them into submission.
Laurence Page - Hardwicke ChambersBright, practical and invaluable on significant issues - he will become one of the DIFC regular go-to counsel in the next few years.
Karishma Vora - 39 Essex ChambersVery thorough and very committed - she knows her stuff, istactically aware and sees the bigger picture and where we are going with it.
Matthew Watson - XXIV Old BuildingsMatthew has a sharp legal mind and is able to master complex legal issues quickly and with ease. His experience and knowledge of DIFC law and practice means that he can always be relied upon to provide precise, clear and well structured advice and drafting.
Elizabeth Weaver - XXIV Old BuildingsShe brings a wealth of experience to the table for complex disputes and her persuasive writing skills are particularly impressive.
Jonathan Bellamy - 39 Essex ChambersHe has ample international disputes experience and is very practical in his approach and is aware of the culture of businesses in Dubai and the region.
David Holloway - Outer Temple ChambersHe is seriously clever and a true expert on matters of international trade, oil and gas and the procedure and tactics in high value international arbitration matters.
Ian Meakin - XXIV Old BuildingsIan is a hugely experienced advocate both in common law and civil law matters.
James Potts - 3 Verulam BuildingsHe is extremely bright and produces excellent submissions, and has done a great deal of Iran-related work.
Mark Wassouf - 3 Verulam BuildingsHe is highly intelligent with strong experience in commercial litigation and arbitration. Also, he is an excellent team-player who works well with experts and other lawyers.
James Weale - Serle CourtJames demonstrates strong work ethic and is solutions orientated. He manages to focus on the relevant issues and address them in a simple manner in the arbitration papers.

Commercial in Middle East: The English Bar

2 Temple Gardens

2 Temple Gardens' Timothy Killen  has an active DIFC Courts practice, including representing the claimant in Sky News Arabia v Kassab Media, a long-running contractual dispute concluding with issues as to the award of interest on damages.

3 Verulam Buildings

3 Verulam Buildings continues to be a well-regarded set for banking and finance disputes, as part of a broader commercial disputes offering taking it to free zones and international arbitration in the Middle East. Ali Malek QC heads a team from chambers representing ED&F Man Capital Markets, a defendant which has not been accused of fraud, in the leviathan SKAT v Solo Capital Partners litigation. Saima Hanif is involved in some of the most visible DFSA regulatory investigations, and in addition to involvement in the Abraaj liquidation and related matters, Hodge Malek QC  is well-connected in Oman.

39 Essex Chambers

As part of diverse and international practices, at 39 Essex Chambers' Jonathan Bellamy and Karishma Vora are instructed in a range of Middle Eastern matters including high-stakes and novel DIFC Courts litigation. Vora represents a DMCC-based co-defendant in Emirates NBD Bank v KBBO CPG Investment, a matter referred to the Joint Judicial Tribunal involving an allegedly forged guarantee, while also in the DIFC Bellamy is instructed for the defendant in Orient Insurance v Hazel Middle East, concerning the public policy limits on exclusion clauses in trade credit insurance.

4 New Square

4 New Square's Timothy Chelmick is a regular in the DIFC Courts, handling cases including both contractual disputes and matters with complex jurisdictional issues.

4 Pump Court

At 4 Pump Court, Stephen Cogley QC handles a range of matters with Middle Eastern connections, with areas of interest including international trade and aviation.

Gatehouse Chambers

Gatehouse Chambers includes Nigel Jones QC and Laurence Page, who are instructed to represent Sanjay Shah and his companies in the DIFC leg of the Skat v Shah litigation, concerning the Danish tax authority's allegations of a "cum-ex" fraud. Page also handles matters as sole counsel against silks in other DIFC court matters and arbitrations, including ones concerning corporate governance and M&A disputes.

Fountain Court Chambers

Among other professional negligence matters, Anneliese Day QC of Fountain Court Chambers represents Deloitte in defending a claim brought by minority shareholders of Lebanese Canadian Bank, who claim that the auditors failed to detect alleged funding of Hezbollah carried out through the bank.

Littleton Chambers

Littleton Chambers' reputation for London employment law carries through to a number of practitioners having expertise in this space in the DIFC and ADGM. Edward Kemp is instructed to defend in what is understood to be the first whistle-blowing claim in the DIFC courts, as well as handling equally novel commercial matters, while Mohinderpal Sethi QC's workload has included a number of highly sensitive cases concerning the free zone's most prestigious financial and professional services firms. In addition to those areas of expertise, James Bickford Smith  is active in company and partnership matters.

Outer Temple Chambers

Outer Temple Chambers' Middle East presence is most visible in the UAE, where it is well-connected with free zone authorities. David Russell QC has expertise in the trusts law of the DIFC, including representing the DIFC Authority in representations to the DIFC Courts on such themes, and Andrew Spink QC has been involved in legislative drafting projects for the DIFC Authority. Among the set's juniors, Ali Almihdar is also qualified in Saudi Arabia, a jurisdiction where he is well-connected. Cementing the set's connections to the region, Peter Smith of Al Tamimi & Company in Dubai became a door tenant in April 2020.

Quadrant Chambers

Marine work is a key area for Quadrant Chambers in the Middle East, with Chirag Karia QC among members of chambers handling arbitrations on instructions from firms in Dubai and elsewhere in the Gulf. Guy Blackwood QC 's cases of late have included insurance matters, and other recent instructions include working with UAE firms on litigation before the London courts. The set's arbitrator wing also includes Sir David Steel, Deputy Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts from 2011 to 2018.

Serle Court

Serle Court's Arabic-speaking Rupert Reed QC is held in high esteem in the DIFC. He regularly works alongside James Weale of the same set.

XXIV Old Buildings

XXIV Old Buildings, in addition to a creditable international arbitration practice, is well-known for its long track record in free zones, with a number of members having lengthy histories in the DIFC Courts tracing back to the drafting of the institution's very rules. Steven Thompson QC represents litigation funder Burford Capital on its role in the DIFC Courts proceedings that form a part of the global asset hunt following the Akhmedova v Akhmedov divorce in London, and Tom Montagu-Smith QC represents Skat, the Danish tax authority, in litigation concerning what it alleges is a tax reclaim fraud involving search a search order producing millions of documents. Michael Black QC, who is based in the UAE, has a lengthy track record in the DIFC Courts, as well handling international arbitrations with their origins in the region, both as counsel and arbitrator.