3 Verulam Buildings is a leading commercial set, and it is particularly well regarded for its expertise in banking and finance disputes and international arbitration in the Middle East. In Abu Dhabi, Rajesh Pillai KC has been acting as lead counsel for Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in the ADGM, London and BVI courts in the ADCB v Shetty cases concerning the collapse of NMC Healthcare; David Quest KC and Ewan McQuater KC continue to act for the banks in NMC Healthcare v Dubai Islamic Bank, another case on the same theme in the ADGM. On the other end of the E11, Saima Hanif KC has a strong DFSA regulatory practice. Farhaz Khan KC took silk in the 2022 round.
Commercial in Middle East: The English Bar
‘Stuart Pullum and Stephen Penson are world-class clerks who are dedicated, responsive, and a pleasure to deal with.’
‘Stuart Pullum is excellent and offers consistent and dedicated support.’
‘Stephen Penson runs a tight ship, and is always available and accommodating.’
‘Stephen Penson and Stuart Pullum are a delight to deal with. Responsive, commercial, and practical. They are very good at identifying potential counsel for a matter.’
‘Ed Tolfts provides a good service.’
‘Stuart Pullum is very likeable and easy to work with.’
‘Stephen Penson and Stuart Pullum are both excellent. They are consistently excellent at finding the right barrister for the job.’
‘The clerks provide clear, honest, and sound recommendations, which is greatly appreciated by instructing solicitors.’
Quadrant Chambers is a top tier set with a strong overseas practice and expertise across a range of specialist sectors, including international trade, trade finance and shipping, alongside a well-regarded international commercial disputes practice. Yash Kulkarni KC has been acting for the claimants in RAK Real Estate v Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait in a $1 billion fraud and conspiracy claim with elements in both the Emirati and English courts. Robert-Jan Temmink KC is another standout name and has acted on large-scale international arbitration matters across the Middle East region.
‘Simon Slattery is brilliant to work with and a firm favourite.’
‘Daniel Westerman is very prompt. You never have to wait for an answer, no matter the question.’
‘The all-round service of the clerks’ room is excellent.’
‘The clerks are very helpful, supportive, and always available to assist. Their proactiveness is very appreciated.’
‘Very prompt, efficient, and friendly service.’
‘The clerking team are very good; commercial and reasonable.’
‘When the requested barrister was not available, they have always been able to match us with another barrister and we have never been disappointed with the suggestion, both at junior and more senior level.’
4 Stone Buildings has a prominent commercial disputes offering in the Middle East, with particular expertise in the DIFC and ADGM courts. Numerous members of chambers are involved in Sawhney v Credit Suisse AG, a substantial DIFC litigation involving a range of regulatory breach allegations, with Richard Hill KC acting for the claimant and Sharif Shivji KC acting for Credit Suisse. Shivji KC also acted for several defendants in Emirates NBD v Advanced Facilities Management, which concerns a $500m claim under a syndicated loan agreement. Richard Hill KC, leading Andrew Rose, has also been acting for the claimants in Al Masah Capital v DFSA, a case which raised important questions on the meaning of ‘funds’ under DIFC law.
‘Ben Lashmar is fantastic; pragmatic and very commercial – he understand the lay client’s needs and demands.’
‘David Goddard and Ryan Tunkel are always willing to help. Work is turned around quickly, and they are transparent on fees.’
‘David Goddard is a class act; a superb clerk.’
‘Ben Lashmar has been excellent.’
‘The clerks are fabulous at identifying the right barrister for the task and not simply servicing the internal food chain.’
‘The clerks are very helpful, responsive, and efficient.’
‘4 Stone Buildings are a go to set for chancery and commercial arbitration matters. They have an extremely strong bench at all levels of seniority – they are commercial and understand the client needs and dynamics.’
‘Chambers offers a wide variety of counsel, all of whom are highly skilled and extremely dependable.’
Outer Temple Chambers has a well-established presence in the Middle East, with a registered office and members on the ground. It has particular expertise in commercial litigation and arbitration, company and employment law, shipping, and regulatory issues. David Russell KC and Stephen Doherty successfully acted for the third defendant in Massun v Mousi and ors, a multi-million dollar fraud case in the DIFC Court. Andrew Spink KC is also a key name of note, and was previously instructed by DIFCA to advise on the establishment of the Dubai Employee Workplace Savings Scheme. Philip Punwar, who joined from Baker Botts L.L.P.‘s Dubai office, and Sean Yates, formerly in-house at China State Construction Engineering Corporation in Dubai, joined in October 2022. David Holloway, who remains a door tenant in chambers, is now Head of Advocacy at Al Tamimi & Company in Dubai – prior to this development he successfully represented the claimant in Fal Oil Company Limited v SEWA, a $300 million enforcement case in the DIFC involving issues of state immunity.
‘Sam Carter is straightforward to deal with and very responsive, whatever the time and wherever he happens to be.’
‘The clerks are sensitive to our business needs, and we feel looked after. We also feel valued as a client, not like we are a one-off job.’
‘The clerking team are proactive and friendly.’
‘Outer Temple Chambers has many excellent barristers with a very broad range in terms of specialism.’
‘Good visibility and profile in the jurisdiction, and well known amongst firms.’
‘Having Outer Temple Chambers on the ground in Dubai is invaluable for us; we can access them at short notice and meet physically with them. The juniors are particularly impressive, and we can call on the big guns when necessary.’
XXIV Old Buildings is well regarded for its expertise advising on matters throughout the Middle East region, with a particularly strong presence in Dubai. Steven Thompson KC acted for the defendants in Credit Europe Bank v New Medical Centre, which concerns a bank debt claim before the DIFC Courts against the backdrop of a major alleged fraud in the UAE. Before the same forum, he has also acted for the claimants in StormHarbour v Noor Bank, a dispute concerning the agreement of the sale and purchase of aircraft financing bonds, which saw a rare case of a bank seeking rectification of a written contract it signed. Other standout names include Elizabeth Weaver, Arshad Ghaffar and Edward Knight. Key changes in the set include Michael Black KC being appointed as judge in the DIFC Court of Appeal.
‘The clerks at all levels are excellent.’
‘Helpful and accommodating clerks that responsive.’
‘XXIV Old Buildings is a go-to set of chambers. Excellent for all commercial litigation and arbitration.’
39 Essex Chambers has a wide spanning commercial litigation and arbitration practice, covering banking and finance, civil fraud, asset trading, and company disputes, as well as international trade and commodities finance disputes. Key highlights include Jonathan Bellamy acting for the defendants in Orient Insurance v Hazel Middle East, which is the first case in the DIFC Courts concerning the enforceability in UAE law of trade credit insurance policy. Karishma Vora, who is also qualified in India, is defending Spectrami DMCC in Emirates NBD Bank v KBBO CPG Investment and others, which concerns a $294 million freezing injunction claim in the DIFC courts. Karim Ghaly KC has also been active in the region acting on high-profile disputes.
‘Mark Winrow provides excellent service and is very pro-active.’
‘Mark Winrow is one of the best clerks I have come across. He is very client focused and is trouble-shooter.’
‘The clerks are friendly and accommodating – easy to work with.’
‘Mark Winrow is well known in the UK market and internationally. He is considered one of the most prominent practice managers.’
‘Mark Winrow provides prompt constructive responses to the clients’ queries. His dedication is highly appreciated.’
‘Mark Winrow is an excellent clerk – one of the best I have dealt with.’
‘An excellent chambers with a great number of highly respected counsel.’
‘The chambers are well respected and offer a large range of barristers and silks.’
Littleton Chambers has particular expertise in employment and commercial disputes in the UAE offshore courts. Mohinderpal Sethi KC appeared in the first ever restrictive covenant and confidentiality injunction in the DIFC, ED&F Man Capital Markets MENA Ltd v Hussain, RJ O’Brien MENA Capital Ltd, acting for a senior energy broker, Sayyed Hussain, following his move from ED&F to RJ O’Brien. James Bickford Smith is acting for the claimants in Health Bay Investment in Healthcare Enterprises & Developments LLC v Akkach, a high-value business protection dispute.
‘Scott Hersey always answers emails and returns calls quickly, and is always happy to help.’
‘The clerks are very helpful.’
‘Littleton Chambers are a reliable and experienced set, and a go-to set for employment matters.’
‘Littleton Chambers is excellent.’
Serle Court has a substantial UAE offering, with a particular focus on DIFC court work and commercial arbitration. Rupert Reed KC, James Weale and Gregor Hogan acted for the claimant in SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd v Renish Petrochem FZE and Prime Energy FZE, which involved a $31 million trade finance fraud claim. Reed KC also acted for the claimant in Credit Europe Bank (Dubai) Ltd v. New Medical Centre Trading LLC and NMC Healthcare LLC, obtaining the first worldwide freezing order against NMC Healthcare entities in the UAE in the litigation concerning the company's insolvency in controversial circumstances.
‘Daniel Wheeler is excellent clerk and really nice to deal with.’
‘The clerks are always very responsive and pleasant to deal with. We have had a positive experience with Paul Ballard and Dan Wheeler.’
‘Dan Wheeler is very approachable and always willing to assist.’
‘Dan Wheeler is top-notch – very professional and a good networker.’
‘The clerks are accessible, responsive, and user-friendly.’
‘The clerking team are very responsive.’
‘There is a significant strength-in-depth in Serle Court.’
‘Serle Court is a go-to set, especially for DIFC litigation.’