Construction in United Arab Emirates
Clyde & Co LLP
For many 'the pre-eminent construction deparment in the region', Clyde & Co LLP represents main contractors, employers and some subcontractors on pre-dispute and dispute resolution matters, co-ordinating cross-border litigation and handling FIDIC-contract dispute adjudication boards and arbitration. Projects the firm advises on range from airports and hospitals through to energy pipelines outside the UAE. Michael Grose, Mark Blanksby and Matthew Heywood are key names in Dubai, and Heather Nevin heads the Abu Dhabi projects and construction team - her practice includes both contentious and non-contentious work - among others, they are supported by 'stand-out' senior associate Alexa Hall. Greg Sibbald departed to CMS in late 2019.
‘The team is very sensitive to the business practicalities and advises beyond the basic legal position. They are also able to work alongside the commercial team as well as the in-house legal team, adjusting to the client’s requirements.’
‘Michael Grose is a stand-out partner: enormously experienced, he gives clear advice tailored to clients’ commercial objectives.’
‘Alexa Hall is very experienced in construction disputes.’
‘Mark Blanksby is sensitive to the context in which problems arise as well as the problems themselves. His advice and strategy are sound and clear.’
China State Construction Engineering Corp
ACC (Arabian Contracting Company LLC)
Hyundai Engineering & Construction
Dentons 'is first class on both front-end and back-end construction'. Alongside heavyweight disputes work concerning major infrastructure projects, Ian Dalley in Abu Dhabi handles significant back-end construction mandates, with Kanishka Singh a notable associate for this line of work. Alastair Young in Dubai handles billion-dirham construction disputes regarding major infrastructure projects.
‘An holistic approach to construction makes them uniquely placed to handle matters both from a risk and commercial perspective.’
‘Ian Dalley leads by example and can always be relied upon to provide accurate advice when called upon. Kanishka Singh is without doubt a future partner in the making, combining both legal, commercial and practical advice.’
Al Farwaniya Property Developments LLC
PrivatAir Saudi Arabia
Gulf Investment Corporation
Korea Electric Power Corporation
Emirates Global Aluminium
Oman Power and Water Procurement Company
Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones
Arabian Construction Company
Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre
- Advised Al Farwaniya Property Developments on the construction contracts for the $1.2bn Reem Mall in Abu Dhabi, scheduled to include 450 shops and 85 restaurants.
DLA Piper Middle East LLP has expertise in Dubai covering both front- and back-end construction, including showpiece projects both in the UAE and elsewhere in the GCC region. Trevor Butcher heads the non-contentious side of the practice and Simon Palmer the contentious team, which also includes Suzannah Newboult and Daniel Jude. Its broad range of clients include employers, MEP subcontractors and European and Korean main contractors.
Simon Palmer; Trevor Butcher
‘DLA Piper has a very strong construction team. It understands the real issues relating to construction projects, and also has a very good understanding of local practices in the market, which is very useful when it comes to dealing with local subcontractors.’
‘The gathering of information from across the legal team appeared clear and allows expert witnesses to do their job more efficiently and address the issues appropriately.’
‘Simon Palmer projects confidence and is a pleasure to work with and rely on – he ensures that the team is aware of where things stand in terms of the process, allowing the ability to plan and deliver when required.’
‘Suzannah Newboult is a pleasure to work with – she really wants to fully understand the detail of often highly complex technical matters and has an ability to drive to the crux of a matter like a good barrister.’
‘Trevor Butcher is commercially savvy, astute and knows how to guide you not just on the right path, but the best path.’
DAS Real Estate
Sharjah Environment Company (“Bee’ah”)
Consolidated Contractors Group SAL (CCC)
Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (“RTA”)
Saudi Airlines Cargo Company
- Representeing Hircon International in a dispute with Dubai Civil Engineering concerning the 23 Marina development, featuring both litigation and DIAC arbitration.
- Advising Gulf Related on the Al Maryah Central development in Abu Dhabi near the Abu Dhabi Global Market.
- Advising Saudi Airlines Cargo Company on the construction of a new cargo terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Pinsent Masons LLP
At Pinsent Masons LLP, Mark Raymont and Jed Savager are active in complex construction disputes, including those concerning projects in challenging frontier markets. Gurmeet Kaur has front-end expertise. In terms of new partners, Catherine Workman relocated from the firm's London office in May 2019, joining new partner promotion Nesreen Osman and Faisal Attia, who joined a month earlier from DWF Middle East LLP. Clients include Turkish, Korean and European contractors.
‘Above average for international law firms – their advice is very good, able to focus on key points and communicate key concepts, and flexible in coming up with solutions for points raised by lenders.’
‘Legal discussions often require clear explanation of legal mechanisms in plain English, and Gurmeet Kaur is able to do this to an audience of non-lawyers very well and without posturing.’
- Advising the EPC contractor at the $4bn, 950MW concentrated solar power and photovoltaic project in Dubai.
Reed Smith, led by Sachin Kerur and Michelle Nelson (who both joined in 2018 from Pinsent Masons LLP ) represent main contractors in heavyweight construction disputes concerning some of the regions most high-projects. Shourav Lahiri is notable for energy-related construction disputes work, including geopolitically sensitive cases. The firm acts for contractors from Europe, Turkey, the US and Latin America as well as ones from the GCC, and some employers. As well as Kerur, Simon Harvey has front-end expertise.
‘Reed Smith is a dynamic and forward-looking practice, which is superb at providing clients with advice which reflects their practical and commercial objectives. The ethos is hands on, down to earth and practical.’
‘Michelle Nelson is a superb lawyer. She is very bright, extremely hard-working and a great strategist. She has a wonderful ability to put everyone at their ease, and her approach ability and common sense approach mean that she is terrific with clients, and always places their commercial and practical objectives at the heart of her approach.’
‘Sachin Kerur’s technical background, wealth of experience and commercial astuteness means he is a go-to for construction advice, ad-hoc, strategic and transactional.’
Alongside a range of front-end construction work on major projects, specialist firm Beale & Company Solicitors LLP handles disputes work concerning a number of projects, often representing main contractors. Among other work, the firm handles a range of work for local employers and contractors, including their projects outside the Gulf region. Claire Miller is the managing partner of the office and Scott Lambert's workload includes both contentious and non-contentious work. Among the firm's bench of senior associates, Sadaff Habib has experience of sitting as an arbitrator.
‘Beale & Co is a growing team, with talented lawyers, who are able to deliver successful results on large-scale international arbitration.’
‘The practice is among the very few that strike the right balance between taking into account the required commercial considerations of the client and the preparation of a thorough legal strategy. The practice distinguishes itself with a straightforward, pragmatic, down-to-earth and unpretentious, no-nonsense manner in which complex legal issues with important commercial considerations appear to be easily and rapidly untied.’
‘Claire Miller is a strong, very understanding and insightful leader. She is very sharp and fast and excels in strategic planning including out-of-the-box solutions. ‘
‘Sadaff Habib stands out as thoroughly informed and well-prepared.’
Laing O’Rourke Middle East (Holding) Limited
Acciona Infrastructure SA
Acciona Agua SA
Gulermak Heavy Industry & Construction Co
Acciona Industrial SA
Construccion SL, Acciona Industrial, SA and Ghella SP
- Advising the civil works joint venture for the Dubai Metro extension for Expo 2020.
- Advising Laing O’Rourke on the construction of the main pavilion at the Expo 2020 site.
- Advising City Land Real Estate Development, the developer, on the construction of Cityland Mall, a “nature-inspired” shopping centre.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
At Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, Richard Davies and Charles Lilley's workloads include representing a number of government-backed employer clients, and are in particular well-connected in Abu Dhabi, where the team is based. Other clients include Turkish contractors and Korean engineering companies. Anna Gee is a notable senior associate.
Majid Al Futtaim
Samsung Engineering & Construction
Aydiner Insaat Construction
Arabtec Construction LLC
Hyundai Construction & Engineering
Meeyahta Development Limited (Myanmar)
Électricité de France
Macro Contracting LLC
Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADAC)
China Petroleum Pipeline
ASO Louvre JV
S.C. D.S. Tofan S.R.L.
Pivot San Jose PJSC
GS Engineering & Construction
ICAD II and ICAD III
- Advising Meeyahta Development Limited – a joint venture between Yoma and Mitsubishi – on its planned redevelopment of the former Burma Railway Headquarters in Yangon.
At Clifford Chance, Paul Coates handles the contentious side of the construction practice - his work includes disputes concerning major natural resources-related projects. Counsel Inaamul Laher in Abu Dhabi heads a front-end practice, and in this space Tim Steadman, a consultant, is also active.
- Representing a joint venture employer in a dispute with a contractor concerning a mixed-use development in Lebanon stemming from a Lebanese law contract.
- Advising a consortium including Marubeni, Almar Water, Rawafid and Acconia on the EPC and O&M contracts for the Shuqaiq 3 IWP in Saudi Arabia.
- Advising a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on the construction of utilities for a luxury tourist development on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Hadef & Partners LLC's construction disputes practice handles a range of matters concerning large buildings, with a particular focus on representing subcontractors in significant disputes, with many instructions coming from MEP contractors in particular; however, many mandates also come from local employers. The team handles some transactional work concerning high-profile projects. John Smy and Matthew Page are key names in Dubai, as is Paul Suckling, who joined at the start of 2019 from the in-house team at TAV Construction. Oliver Dupenois is a notable senior associate.
‘The team has a deep understanding of the particular features, needs and sensitivities of clients working in the construction industry in the region.’
‘The construction team at Hadef is highly experienced and has an excellent grasp and understanding of technical issues. Matthew Page, John Smy and Paul Suckling are all highly professional and a credit to the firm.’
‘John Smy is exceptionally experienced in big-value disputes. He is unflappable even in the most trying circumstances, cheerful, calm and very client friendly. The attention to detail and preparation for hearings is magnificently impressive.’
‘What is extremely valuable is the Arabic-speaking lawyers that form part of the Hadef outfit. That is a unique selling point that they bring to the table.’
Star Cement Co LLC
- Representing International Electro-Mechanical Services, the mechanical and electrical subcontractors of the project, in claims brought by Arabtec in the wake of the New Year’s Eve 2015 fire at The Address.
At White & Case LLP , Michael Turrini handles heavyweight arbitration work concerning major infrastructure projects such as airports and planned cities. Front-end specialist Ibaad Hakim - who is qualified in both Pakistan and England - is a January 2020 partner appointment in Abu Dhabi, managing a team that includes Habeeb Rahman.
‘An unparalleled blend of legal and practical expertise, leading to well-grounded, commercially considerate solutions for clients.’
Emirates Water and Electricity Company
- Advising ADNOC on the EPC contracts for a 40m-barrel underground oil storage facility in Fujairah.
- Advising a regional government on the procurement of its pavilion at Expo 2020.
Addleshaw Goddard's Andrew Greaves and Bevan Farmer head a practice representing main and subcontractors in disputes concerning major infrastructure, major buildings and sensitive projects. Cross-border matters involving litigation in challenging jurisdictions are part of the firm's practice. Managing associate Emily Walters is notable.
‘Andrew Greaves is very knowledgeable and has deep experience.’
Arabtec Construction LLC
Al Turki Enterprises
Target Engineering Construction Company LLC
Murray & Roberts
Bahwan Engineering Co.
WS Atkins & Partners Overseas
At Al Tamimi & Company, Euan Lloyd, a senior counsel, is the firm's head of counsel and infrastructure; he is active working on building projects both in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other emirates for key local clients. Thomas Snider, who has a track record of work in East Africa, heads the firm's arbitration practice - his construction practice includes expert determinations, as well as ADCCAC and other arbitrations. Senior counsel John Gaffney, like Snider, also sits as an arbitrator. Naief Yahia's practice in the Arabic-language courts includes construction litigation.
‘An up and coming department in Abu Dhabi; always hungry to assist.’
‘Euan Lloyd is very responsive on front-end work: always available to bounce ideas off and keeps things easy and reflective of the practicalities of the local market.’
‘They provide different perspectives and run through all parts of the process and do a great job explaining exactly what was going on.’
‘Euan Lloyd is not only a good Counsel but he was, more importantly, a good person to have on a team – he is quick to respond to questions and provide legal advice in a way that is easy for clients to understand.’
Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC)
Electricitie De France (EDF)
Abu Dhabi Motorsports Company
Bin Yousef Group
RAK government entities including Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone & RAK International Airport)
Umm Al Qura
Ashurst has grown its team with the recruitment of Australian-qualified duo Cameron Cuffe, who handles disputes, and front-end partner Luke Robottom from White & Case LLP, and the May 2019 promotion of transactional specialist Yvonne Cross. The firm is particularly well-known for its relationships in the energy space in the UAE.
Jabal Omar Development Company
Indorama Fertiliser & Chemicals Limited
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)
Baker Botts L.L.P.
As part of Baker Botts L.L.P.'s disputes practice, solicitor-advocate Stephen Burke represents well-known contractors in a range of arbitrations, with many work examples concerning projects in Saudi Arabia. He often works with the firm's other offices, including in London.
‘The firm has substantial knowledge and experience in relation to contract and construction law and the laws of the Middle East.’
‘Creative thinkers, bang up to date on current laws and procedures and great to work with.’
‘Stephen Burke is experienced way beyond his years, well-versed in numerous disciplines and jurisdictions and an extremely bright lawyer.’
National Petroleum Construction Company
Jazan Energy & Development Company
Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, on top of Andrew Mackenzie handling construction arbitration, is equipped to handle construction disputes thanks to its litigation capability. The firm represents prominent local employers and contractors, among others.
‘A hard-working team that works efficiently and has great knowledge of the construction sector and arbitration disputes.’
‘Andrew Mackenzie is very knowledgeable when it comes to construction disputes, how to run these matters efficiently and cost effectively and makes the client feel that they can trust his team with its case.’
Gulf Piping Company
- Representing Gulf Piping Company in a Singapore arbitration and Abu Dhabi litigation concerning the construction of a floating oil terminal for use in Bahrain.
- Representing Barents Re in a coverage dispute concerning two called-in construction bonds.
- Representing EFECO in a dispute over unpaid work, variations and wrongful calls on performance bonds in the Abu Dhabi courts.
At CMS, Patrick McPherson and Randall Walker represent civil engineers, EPC contractors, Korean main contractors (often working alongside Seoul's top firms) and employers in a range of disputes, many of them concerning projects in Saudi Arabia. Legal director Greg Sibbald joined the firm from Clyde & Co LLP in late 2019.
Dechert LLP represents employers, many of them well-connected in Dubai, in a range of disputes with contractors concerning large developments. Ravinder Bhullar and Alex Freeman left the firm in 2020.
At Eversheds Sutherland LLP, Paul Taylor handles a mix of work, including high-stakes subcontractor disputes concerning major infrastructure projects. Shalagh Massingham's work includes energy construction disputes. Roberta Wertman is a notable legal director active in construction and engineering matters. The firm has a number of Korean and Japanese clients among others, and is well-connected in Iraq.
‘Eversheds offers an excellent depth of quality and industry knowledge. The team is very experienced in international arbitration and the particular norms of arbitration in the UAE. It provides good resourcing and has a great fortitude for difficult disputes.’
‘Paul Taylor has a beautiful manner with clients and experts. He has rock solid knowledge of the construction sector particularly in the Middle East. He and his team team prepare the case meticulously, deal robustly with difficult opposition and work all hours to get the results.’
‘Roberta Wertman puts on a great display as an advocate – her grasp of the technical issues is second to none, through the information analysis and expert report writing phases to the arbitration process itself.’
HFW's construction practice, headed by Beau McLaren, handles a mix of work, including representing local and foreign contractors. Formerly based in the sultanate, James Harbridge has an Omani following and experience sitting as an arbitrator. Humayun Ahmad is a key senior associate.
- Representing Hedley International Contracting in an ad hoc arbitration concerning the termination of a project in Dubai Maritime City.
In Abu Dhabi, King & Spalding LLP's Adrian Cole represents contractors and employers, in disputes concerning significant infrastructure projects, handling matters involving challenging jurisdictions as well as his own advocacy, sometimes against silks. In addition, finance specialist Tim Burbury handles front-end construction. The firm is well connected in Saudi Arabia in particular.
Advance Water Technology
Abu Dhabi Transmission & Despatch Company (Transco)
Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions & Benefits Fund
Dhahran Techno Valley Company
Power and Water Utility Company for Jubail and Yanbu –
Sharjah Asset Management Holding
Shuaa Energy 2 PSC
Thakher Real Estate & Investment Company
Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar)
ALDAR Properties PJSC
Booz Allen Hamilton
Dubai World Trade Centre
Électricité de France
Etihad Rail DB
Jeddah Economic Company
Mubadala Investment Company
United Eastern Medical Services
As part of Shearman & Sterling LLP's broader arbitration practice, Alex Bevan, who has a following among clients from Abu Dhabi, handles construction disputes concerning landmark developments in the Emirate.
Guinea Alumina Corporation
Contrack (Cyprus) Ltd.
Samsung C&T Corporation
Qatar Building Company
Emirates Global Aluminium
Stephenson Harwood's construction practice, led by James Willn, handles a range of disputes across the region, many of them concerning landmark energy projects. Sean Angle contributes non-contentious expertise, as part of a practice which is active in Iraq. Below partner level, senior counsel Jong Suk Kim brings expertise of senior in-house roles at Korean contractors.
‘Stephenson Harwood is a well-known and highly respected name in the Middle East region largely due to their in-depth expertise in the construction sector.’
‘The firm has a heavyweight and wide offering of fantastic lawyers who cover onshore and offshore construction projects including everything from regular onshore contractor disputes to power, oil and gas and maritime construction projects. They have a global reach and have invested in the future by training and promoting a new band of junior modern partners in UK and International offices.’
‘The impressive James Willn is the face of the Dubai construction offering. He is cool, calm and collected and the go-to man to lead big offshore construction disputes in the region.’
‘Associate Paul Hofmeyr is tipped for great things.’
The government of Iraq
BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP 's construction practice, which is headed by Antonios Dimitracopoulos handles work for a range of sub- and main contractors. Asim Ahmed has relevant litigation expertise.
At DWF Middle East LLP, Iain Black, who joined from the firm's Singapore office in May 2018, handles a range of construction disputes for employers, including government-linked matters, hotel developers and others, as well as specialist contractors. Slava Kiryushin joined as a partner from CMS, where he was a counsel - formerly the MENA general counsel of Lukoil, he has a following among key CIS natural resources players. Maria Deus is a notable director.
‘In terms of arbitration matters they are very knowledgeable and responsive on issues that arise in all aspects of DIAC arbitration cases. The team mix is good, with suitable people at the different levels required for the arbitration procedure.’
‘Maria Deus provides excellent support to the partners and is knowledgeable on the various arbitration procedures and pitfalls.’
Ahmed Ibrahim spearheads the construction team at Fenwick Elliott LLP, which has a track record of DIAC, DIFC-LCIA and other arbitrations, concerning both significant projects in the UAE and key emerging markets spanning from East Africa through to Central Asia. Patrick Stone, a new partner promotion in 2019, joined from the firm's London office; Nicholas Gould is now primarily based in London. Clients include joint ventures contractors and specific engineering specialists, with a number of British, European and Chinese clients.
‘The team mobilized by Fenwick Elliott LLP is highly qualified and resourceful in the subject matter that we deal with them. They are always dedicated and committed to delivery.’
‘Outstanding problem solving ability and the ability to review and assimilate large volumes of complex information in compressed and tight time frame.’
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
At Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Nick Oury, an April 2019 partner promotion now heads the practice. Having been based for eighteen months in the firm's Tokyo office before relocating to Dubai in 2018, he has a commensurate following among Japanese contractor clients. Projects partner Anthony Ellis has some front-end expertise. Craig Shepherd has moved to the firm's Tokyo office; Caroline Kehoe has retired from the firm and is now active as an independent arbitrator.
‘Compared to other firms, they are stronger at the associate level with senior associates who understand the industry, the market and can provide good solid advice.’
At Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP, Nabeel Ikram represents contractors, employers and subcontractors in DIAC, ICC and other arbitrations concerning projects in the region. Ikram is also active in a range of front-end mandates concerning large office, hotel and infrastructure developments in Dubai. Jodie Reindorf (who, like Ikram, is English-qualified) is a key associate.
‘Consistently responsive, consistently excellent advice headed by an extremely able and capable partner who has the gift of presenting complex concepts in a digestible format.’
‘Nabeel Ikram is an expert on the construction industry in the UAE. He has a talent for explaining complex legal nuances to clients in a clear and cogent manner that makes him the ultimate trusted adviser to senior management. With a depth of knowledge and a calm disposition, he is the ideal lawyer to have in the room for contentious discussions.’
King’s College Hospital
Kennedys' practice head Mark Wilson was joined by Celine Abi Habib Kanakri in April 2019 from Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla. The two handle construction disputes, often for professional services consultancies, with a number of matters meshing with the firm's insurance expertise.
‘Kennedys’ construction practice led by Mark Wilson offers solid no-frills commercially-focused legal advice.’
‘Mark Wilson is a very competent and knowledgeable construction lawyer who knows how to strategically manage disputes.’
At King & Wood Mallesons, Tim Taylor QC and Joanne Strain's dispute practice includes a number of complex mandates concerning the construction industry, covering both arbitrations and litigation in the DIFC courts to enforce awards. Shawn Davis, who handles broader projects work, handles front-end work as well, and is popular with Chinese clients.
China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation (Jiangsu) Development and Management
China State Energy Engineering Corp. Ltd.
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Shanghai Electric China Railway Construction Corporation Limited
- Advising China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation (Jiangsu) Development and Management on preparing a FIDIC Yellow Book contract to be used for a project in Khalifa Industrial Zone, a free zone in the UAE designed for Chinese industiral companies.
- Advising the Australian government on the construction of its Expo 2020 pavillion.
- Represented Meydan Group in DIFC Court litigation surrounding the enforcement of an arbitral award by WCT Berhad, a Malaysian contractor.
At Norton Rose Fulbright, Paul Stothard heads the contentious construction practice and represents employers and contractors as part of a broader dispute resolution practice. The non-contentious construction group is now headed by Nicholas Kramer following his arrival in early 2020 from CMS.
Standard Chartered Bank
Korean Development Bank
Squire Patton Boggs' disputes practice handles a number of heavyweight disputes involving large infrastructure projects, primarily acting for employers including ones involved in the largest pieces of infrastructure in the GCC. Thomas Wilson heads the team and Scott Hutton is another key partner. Ravinder Bhullar and senior associate Alex Freeman were new arrivals in June 2020.
Investment Group Private Limited