Construction in United Arab Emirates

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP 'provides a complete service and offers its clients their best chance of success in any of their objectives'. The practice handles disputes over projects ranging from mega-developments through to major ports and airports. Mark Blanksby (whose 'gravitas and personable nature both reassure his clients and make him a pleasure to interact with') and senior associate Alexa Hall handle subcontractor disputes concerning agenda-setting infrastructure in the region, with Matthew Heywood also representing heavyweight contractors. Heather Nevin in Abu Dhabi handles disputes including some matters for employers and contractors on projects outside the GCC; her clients include major Korean construction companies. Michael Grose represents employers in leading infrastructure disputes, including government-backed clients. Clients also include major Chinese contractors. Previously a legal director at the firm, Alan Henderson is now senior legal counsel at Multiplex.


At Dentons, Ian Dalley in Abu Dhabi is advising Al Farwaniya Property Developments on the $1.2bn Reem Mall project in Abu Dhabi. Also in transactional work, Jon Nash is acting for Emirates Global Aluminium on upgrades to its smelters. Dalley, who is based in Abu Dhabi, also handles contentious work and his caseload includes Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Centre (ADCCAC) ad hoc arbitrations. Alastair Young in Dubai handles construction disputes, including matters for contractors concerning large infrastructure projects.

DLA Piper Middle East LLP

At DLA Piper Middle East LLP, Trevor Butcher handles non-contentious construction work, such as advising the Saudi Ministry of Culture on the construction elements of creating a new cultural district in Jeddah; his other Saudi-related work includes assisting Saudi Airlines Cargo Company with developing a new cargo terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport. Suzannah Newboult handles work concerning major infrastructure projects and other developments, including representing Korean contractors. Daniel Jude also represents main contractors in regional infrastructure disputes, with Simon Palmer another notable name for contentious projects. In addition, Henry Quinlan and Wissam Dagher act for Hircon International in a dispute before the Dubai courts concerning the 23 Marina development. Gulf Related and Carillion are other clients.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is 'strong, well organised and professional in the sector - the advice is persuasive and useful from a business viewpoint'. Erin Miller Rankin, who heads the firm's broader Middle East and Asia construction practice, is 'formidable; her frank advice to clients and pragmatic and innovative approach is to be applauded' - she handles work concerning major energy projects, as well as transnational work concerning critical infrastructure. Sami Tannous is a new partner promotion, with his workload including construction disputes. Counsel Kim Rosenberg is another notable name. Clients include governments, Korean engineering contractors and several oil and gas majors.

Pinsent Masons LLP

At Pinsent Masons LLP, Mark Raymont handles work for well-known contractors in energy-related projects, while Jed Savager represents joint ventures in  major infrastructure disputes. In the non-contentious arena, Bill Smith advises Kier on its role as management contractor of the Dubai Arena project. Clients include Korean and Turkish contractors. Sachin Kerur and Michelle Nelson are now at Reed Smith.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's team has 'great attention to detail and the ability to understand the complex nuances of the cases it deals with'. Charles Lilley is a 'stand-out lawyer: very focused and resolute'; he handles disputes work concerning well-known developments in the UAE. Non-contentious highlights include Richard Davies advising a joint venture between Yoma and Mitsubishi on the redevelopment of a ten acre site in central Yangon, including the redevelopment of the historic Burma Railway Company headquarters into The Peninsula Yangon. He also handles disputes, some of which are subject to DIAC arbitration. Majid Al Futtaim is another client, which the firm is advising on a new gated community development in Sharjah and also the Sharjah Mall project. Anna Gee is a key senior associate.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance handles a range of work in the construction space, including contentious matters concerning high-profile projects in the GCC region as well as large non-contentious matters. Inaamul Laher in Abu Dhabi heads the firm's MENA construction group - he handles various non-contentious construction projects including advising Qiddiya Investment Company on developing an entertainment district in Saudi Arabia. Paul Coates handles construction disputes concerning, among other matters, renewable and conventional energy projects.

Hadef & Partners LLC

Hadef & Partners LLC fields 'a number of real specialists in the region across a wide range of work - it has a huge amount of experience and expertise both in the UAE courts and also in international and DIFC arbitration'. John Smy, the firm's head of engineering and construction, is 'highly skilled at managing large-scale complex construction litigation while keeping a grip on the detail of the case, a rare and unusual skill'; he represents subcontractors, contractors and developers in matters with leading London counsel instructed concerning major building developments, towers, hotels and infrastructure. Consultant Anthony Edwards is also a name of note. In Abu Dhabi, Basil Siddiqi advised Global Gate Way Properties on a construction project for several towers with a value of AED359m; he also represents Folcra Beach Industrial Property in a dispute with Commodore Contracting concerning the aluminium and glazing subcontract for the Ipic Headquarters building. Patrick McPherson is now at CMS.

White & Case LLP

At White & Case LLP in Abu Dhabi, Michael Turrini acts both for governments and main contractors on large projects such as airports and major power infrastructure. Luke Robottom advises procurers of projects, including advising the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy on developing its request for proposals for the Taweelah Reverse Osmosis desalination plant.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard has 'a very strong knowledge of the law and is able to provide practical and helpful advice' on construction arbitrations. Andrew Greaves and the 'outstanding' Bevan Farmer  ('a gifted lawyer with great commercial sense who can't do enough for his clients') handle disputes ranging from subcontractor matters on major infrastructure projects to large towers disputes involving main contractors. Clients include British, GCC and Spanish contractors.

Al Tamimi & Company

At Al Tamimi & Company, senior counsel Euan Lloyd advised Emirates National Oil Company on drawing up contracts for an 80-floor tower in Downtown Dubai, and assisted Bin Yousuf group on a 60-floor five-star hotel to be operated by Rotana on Sheikh Zayed Road. He and John Gaffney, another senior counsel, also handle disputes work, as does Thomas Snider, the firm's head of arbitration. Scott Lambert is now at Beale & Company Solicitors LLP.

Allen & Overy LLP

At Allen & Overy LLP, Sachin Karia handles construction elements of major projects. 2018 partner promotion Yacine Francis' arbitration practice includes various construction disputes, acting for both employers and contractors. Nick Jackson is a key counsel. Christopher Mainwaring-Taylor has relocated to the firm's Paris office.

Baker Botts L.L.P.

At Baker Botts L.L.P., Stephen Burke in Dubai, working with the firm's London office, represents Samsung Engineering in an ICSID case against the Saudi government concerning the termination of an EPC contract for a power plant, as well as more conventional construction disputes. John Lonsberg and Philip Punwar also handle infrastructure disputes work - Punwar, who handles contractor-subcontractor disputes, among other matters, is qualified as a barrister.  Jonathan Sutcliffe is now at K&L Gates.

Beale & Company Solicitors LLP

Beale & Company Solicitors LLP's practice, which handles all manner of construction arbitrations, is 'reliable, and a full-focus on the client is a given - the team has the ability to know at all times the right balance between taking weight off the client's shoulders and making matters straightforward while ensuring that the most minute details have been thoroughly studied.' Office head Claire Miller 'stands out as someone who can provide advice on complex disputes with a pragmatic and helpful approach' - she handles cases concerning, among other matters, major infrastructure projects and developments. Scott Lambert, who was a new hire from Al Tamimi & Company, represents Laing O'Rourke as contractor for several packages of a theme park construction; the employer took over possession of the work and commenced opening of the theme park, failing to give taking-over certificates and to release its retention. The firm also acts for leading local contractors and employers.


CMS 'has a genuine interest in getting to know its clients in order to provide better solutions: such a mindset is very rare'. Nicholas Kramer is 'distinguished, and advanced beyond his years having spent over a decade in the region' - he advised EY on fit-out contracts for new offices in Emirates Towers and ICD Brookfield Place. Patrick McPherson, who joined from Hadef & Partners LLC, handles construction disputes, including insurance matters and cases with decennial liability issues. For some, the firm's strongest point is its 'understanding of the energy and construction sectors internationally'. Randall Walker handles energy infrastructure construction disputes 'delivering recommendations rather than just advice'. Jeremie Witt is now with HWL Ebsworth in Brisbane.

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP is 'outstanding in terms of service, with partners conscientious about reviewing each and every work product to ensure a consistently high quality'; the team 'works well as a close unit, and is nimble and flexible in responding to client needs'. Ravinder Bhullar is 'a stand-out partner who combines a commercial approach and clear legal advice - his down-to-earth nature means he gets on well with clients and other members of the team'; he handles various property development disputes concerning residential and industrial properties, among other matters.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has 'a very pragmatic approach and is good at managing client expectations'. Craig Shepherd, the firm's global head of contentious construction, is 'excellent at running complex arbitrations efficiently, which is a key skill with increasingly large document-heavy cases' - his cases concern energy, rail and water project disputes. Anthony Ellis is responsible for non-contentious construction. Caroline Kehoe has expertise in energy-related construction disputes, including matters for Russian clients. Below partner level, senior associate Sean Whitham is 'a trusted expert'.


HFW has 'an excellent team with breadth of knowledge across the entire range of construction disputes and sectors, and a good knowledge of the Middle East and other jurisdictions'. Beau McLaren is 'first rate: a hands-on partner, great with clients and an excellent lawyer'; he was joined by James Harbridge, whose 'humbleness belies a legal killer instinct', from Trowers & Hamlins LLP in July 2018. The pair handle disputes concerning high-profile buildings and major infrastructure projects, with Alstom in particular a cornerstone client. Senior associate Humayun Ahmad is 'a first-rate, high-class construction lawyer who provides excellent legal and commercial advice'; he represents an Omani group of companies in several ad hoc arbitrations following its termination from a project managed by another Omani company.

Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP

At Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP, Nabeel Ikram handles non-contentious work, as well as disputes concerning alleged non-payments, extensions of time and final account disputes. The firm handles non-contentious work, including advising King's College Hospital on creating hospitals in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

King & Spalding LLP

At King & Spalding LLP, Adrian Cole in Abu Dhabi, who frequently performs the advocacy in his cases, handles arbitrations concerning energy developments and major construction projects in the UAE, elsewhere in the Middle East and also in the CIS region. Previously a senior associate at the firm, John Packer is now in-house at Bechtel.

Reed Smith

Reed Smith's contentious construction offering radically changed in 2018 following the recruitment of Sachin Kerur and Michelle Nelson from Pinsent Masons LLP. The two were also joined by Shourav Lahiri from Lahiri LLC in Singapore - he represents Sime Darby in a dispute over a wellhead project, necessitating Indian law advice.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, Alex Bevan in Abu Dhabi handles construction disputes concerning major office developments, major oil and gas developments and other asset classes. The firm has a number of "Abu Dhabi Inc" clients. Alexander Nordang and David Hume are notable senior associates.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

At Trowers & Hamlins LLP, Cheryl Cairns handles disputes work, as does consultant Michael O’Reilly. In the transactional space, O'Reilly is project counsel for the construction of the Shuaibah 3 water plant in Saudi Arabia and is also advising Southern Power Generation on a power plant in Johor. James Harbridge is now at HFW.

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst LLP's Dyfan Owen is instructed by both employers and contractors on disputes concerning the region's leading infrastructure developments. Mandates largely concern power plant developments and transport infrastructure.

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla

At Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, Andrew Mackenzie, who joined from Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP, handles various arbitrations concerning subcontractor disputes, as well as disputes with insurers. Habib Al Mulla is also involved in disputes involving infrastructure projects, including document-heavy arbitrations. Arabtec and Efeco are clients, among others. Charlotte Bijlani is now at Watson Farley & Williams.

BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP

At BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP, Antonios Dimitracopoulos represents a number of Emirati contractors and subcontractors in DIAC and ADCCAC arbitrations. Asim Ahmed also handles disputes work, including for employers.

DWF Middle East LLP

DWF Middle East LLP handles a range of disputes, including a number of cases concerning hotels. Steven Hunt, who transferred from the London office in May 2018, acts for contractors and developers concerning towers in Dubai. Other names include Dean O’Leary, who is qualified as an English barrister, and director Faisal Attia. Slava Kiryushin was a new arrival from CMS in 2019.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Eversheds Sutherland LLP's Paul Taylor and legal director Roberta Wertman - both of whom joined from Reed Smith - handle various disputes, including those concerning tower and energy infrastructure. Shalagh Massingham is also a notable name.

Fenwick Elliott LLP

Fenwick Elliott LLP is 'very approachable and considers all of the client's views and concerns'. Ahmed Ibrahim handles EPC contracting disputes and performance bond cases, among other matters. Nicholas Gould is 'very well mannered and conducts all his business in a professional manner' - he and Jeremy Glover, who divide their time between London and Dubai, handle disputes for lead contractors concerning iconic buildings in the region.

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG's James Foster 'leads an efficient and hardworking team specialising in construction and related disputes, the smaller team allows it to develop a closer relationship with its clients'. He handles cases for government entities as well as employers, contractors and subcontractors. Director Courtney Rothery 'leaves no stone unturned and is particularly good at getting into the detail of cases'. The firm also acts for litigation finance funds.

Horizons & Co

Horizons & Co's Areen Jayousi represents employers and contractors in a range of cases, including DIAC and ADCCAC arbitrations. Ali Al Zarooni handles construction litigation, including representing NSH in a case concerning the development of an ethane cracker facility in Ruwais.


Kennedys 'puts complicated points of law into plain English so the lay client can understand them'. Mark Wilson handles arbitrations concerning defective designs and terminations and other construction issues, representing contractors and employers. Several matters cross over with the firm's well-known strength in insurance. Andrew MacCuish has been appointed a district judge in England and Wales.

King & Wood Mallesons

At King & Wood Mallesons, Shawn Davis, who is 'a very sharp lawyer with profound and diverse experience in construction projects in the Middle East', joined from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in January 2018. He advises China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation on various matters, and also assists a number of other Chinese contractors in this space, as does the Singapore-qualified Daniel Xu. Xu, who 'fills a niche in the market with his Mandarin language abilities and experience working in international firms, meaning he has carved out a strong following of Chinese inbound work into the Middle East', is primarily notable for construction disputes, which are also areas of practice for Tim Taylor QC and Joanne Strain.

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

At Simmons & Simmons Middle East, David Risbridger and Philip Norman handle various contentious construction matters, acting for contractors, including architects and MEP contractors.

Squire Patton Boggs

At Squire Patton Boggs, Thomas Wilson represents number of government-backed employers in complex disputes over major infrastructure projects.