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.
Commercial in Middle East: The English Bar
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.
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.
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.
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' 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.
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.
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.