Dispute resolution: arbitration and international litigation in United Arab Emirates

This section covers a wide range of disputes before international arbitration bodies and the DIFC courts, as well as the project management of global disputes including, for non-UAE firms, coordinating UAE advocates. Construction is not included in this, neither are the contents of two new sections: compliance and investigations, and financial services regulation.

Al Tamimi & Company

At Al Tamimi & Company, Rita Jaballah  handles a range of heavyweight DIFC court cases, often involving jurisdictional challenges. Thomas Snider's arbitration practice includes a range of joint venture disputes; he is particularly well connected for African-related work. The firm also has an in-house silk: senior counsel Patrick Dillon-Malone SC, called to the Inner Bar in Ireland, adds additional advocacy firepower before the DIFC courts. Senior associate Peter Smith - called to the English Bar - is a key name below partner level in the DIFC courts, and Jane Rahman, an English solicitor, is a notable senior counsel.

Practice head(s):

Rita Jaballah; Thomas Snider


‘Al Tamimi’s arbitration practice is very active in the region. They benefit from their huge regional presence. The team is large and has particular experience in arbitrations relating to shareholder disputes.’

‘The USP of Al Tamimi is its UAE lawyers who can assist quickly and effectively on any issues of UAE and Dubai law that are relevant to matters that arise in DIFC litigation and arbitration.’

‘Rita Jaballah is an excellent lawyer who is both in command of the detail of any case on which she is working, and also has a good overview of where the client wants to get in terms of strategy. Working with her is always a pleasure.’

‘Thomas Snider’s cross-examination skills are excellent. He listens hard, is polite to witnesses and yet wields an iron first beneath his velvet glove.’

‘Peter Smith is very straightforward in his advice.’

‘Jane Rahman is quick to understand the factual issue at hand and is quick to come up with a practical solution.’

Key clients

Walch & Schurti Attorneys At Law Ltd

beIn Sports

Oman Insurance Company

Mashreq Bank

United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Dusty Tourani

Credit Suisse

Work highlights

  • Defending Oman Insurance Company in a claim brought by a third-party claims administrator concerning a transfer of insurance business.
  • Representing Mashreqbank in litigation against the defaulting borrower of an ijara mortgage concerning a property in the DIFC.
  • Representing Straight Establishment, a Liechtenstein entity which owns the superyacht Luna, in an asset tracing case following the divorce of Farkhad Akhmedov.

Allen & Overy LLP

At Allen & Overy LLP, Yacine Francis handles key DIFC cases, as well as arbitrations. Simon Roderick has investor-state disputes expertise, as does senior associate Kirsten O’Connell. The firm is well connected for work involving government-linked entities.

Practice head(s):

Yacine Francis; Simon Roderick


‘It is critical that clients are able to rely upon the team as a whole; not just the team leader. Allen & Overy meets this requirement, with each member of the team being responsive and able to provide clear direction on matters of urgency.’

Key clients

National Bank of Abu Dhabi / First Abu Dhabi Bank


Work highlights

  • In the DIFC courts, representing First Abu Dhabi Bank in defence of a claim brought by Das Real Estate concerning the termination of a loan relating to the construction of a hotel on The Palm Jumeirah.
  • Representing IDBI Bank in a case against a borrower involving one of the first cases using the DIFC Courts’ paperless trial technology.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP's disputes practice covers a broad range spanning from litigation in the UAE through to complex cross-border disputes with issues around challenging parts of the world. As well as international arbitration work, Keith Hutchison handles DIFC court litigation cases, involving matters involving complex jurisdictional issues. The firm has notable Arabic-speakers in the team, with Canadian-qualified Nassif Boumalhab active in commercial arbitration and English solicitor Susie Abdel-Nabi, who also sits as an arbitrator, is an English-qualified Arabic speaker who works with local advocates in UAE court litigation. Mark Beswetherick has professional negligence expertise, representing Big Four accounting firms and elite law firms. Alfred Thornton is a key disputes partner in Abu Dhabi. John Lewis is a key new partner promotion.

Practice head(s):

Mark Beswetherick


‘The Clyde & Co disputes team is extremely good in local, regional and international disputes. There is a wealth of legal knowledge within the team and they provide pragmatic and truly useful advice based on long term experience in the region.’

‘Nassif BouMalhab is very clever, extremely good at litigation strategy and easy to work with.’

‘Susie Abdel-Nabi is extremely approachable and pragmatic – a pleasure to deal with. She has an expert knowledge of the law, but is able to deliver advice in a down-to-earth manner.’

‘Keith Hutchison’s DIFC practice continues to grow.’

‘Nick Braganza is seen as a trusted and experienced advisor in the market.’

‘Alexandra Lester has an eagle eye. We are grateful for her detail-oriented approach to reviewing legal issues and highlighting risks and considerations.’

Key clients

GlobeMed Gulf Healthcare Solutions L.L.C

Sunteck Lifestyles Limited

Larmag Holding BV

Jai Narain Gupta, Mayank Kumar, Saroj Gupta and Re Point Ventures FZCO

Work highlights

  • Represented Larmag Holding in a case in which the DIFC court held it could injunct an Abu Dhabi-based bank whose sole connection to the DIFC is its status as a DFSA member.
  • Representing Sunteck Lifestyles in a joint venture dispute, in which a default judgement was set aside in favour of arbitration.
  • Represented a family owned-company and the family members in litigation before the DIFC courts agaisnt a brokerage; a key jurisdiction issue in the case being if the DIFC courts could assert jurisdiction on the basis that the defendant established itself in the DIFC after the fact.

DLA Piper Middle East LLP

DLA Piper Middle East LLP's Henry Quinlan  is the key contact for arbitration work from the Middle East and beyond, covering a mixture of commercial disputes including matters involving allegations of fraud. DIFC courts litigation is another area of expertise. Wissam Dagher is a notable name for Arabic-language disputes, including working alongside UAE advocates.

Practice head(s):

Henry Quinlan


‘The firm works well together towards a common goal under clear direction from the partners. There always appeared to be good relationships between the partners right down to the trainees. The information gathering and development of the information from across the legal team is clear.’

‘Henry Quinlan is absolutely outstanding when it comes to strategy of how to proceed in a matter based on the facts – he has a very reasonable assessment of anticipated risks and outcomes.’

Key clients

Das Real Estate

Hircon International LLC

ETI Specialized Resolution Company Limited

Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (“SQM”)

Credit Suisse AG

Stumpf Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Ecobank Nigeria, among others, in a debt recovery case against an international construction group.
  • Representing SQM in a shareholder dispute concerning a project in Abu Dhabi.
  • Representing Credit Suisse in DIFC litigation concerning from a borrower’s default on a trade finance facility.

Hadef & Partners

Hadef & Partners LLC has a strong arbitration and free zone litigation practice as part of its broader, integrated disputes offering. Adrian Chadwick is the key name at the firm for litigation before the DIFC Courts, handling matters ranging from the most complex debt recovery cases through to civil fraud. Walid Azzam is a notable name for cross-border cases as well, including arbitrations and the enforcement of arbitral awards. Omar Al Heloo handles Arabic-language arbitrations. Australian-qualified Pashto speaker Zarghona Fazal is a notable senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Abdulrahman Juma; Salih Ahnaish


‘The team is responsive, understands the underlying commercial objectives and works closely with clients to address critical issues.’

‘Hadef’s arbitration team is outstanding because of its in-depth study of cases and suggestion of solutions.’

‘Walid Azzam provides outstanding support and advice’.

‘Zarghona Fazal is a committed lawyer.’

Work highlights

  • Represented IDBI Bank Limited in a dispute with a borrower, Horizon Energy, concerning a ship mortgage – the matter involves both DIFC litigation and onshore litigation regarding security cheques.
  • Representing CAT in DIFC Courts litigation concerning non-performing loans totalling $12m.
  • Advising the liquidators of Limora Investments on the UAE elements of its liquidation in the BVI.

King & Wood Mallesons

At King & Wood Mallesons, Tim Taylor QC - a solicitor-advocate - and Joanne Strain handle a range of arbitration and DIFC Court disputes work. They have a particularly close relationship with Meydan Group and have represented it in cases setting the scope of the DIFC's jurisdiction. In addition, Singapore-qualified Mandarin speaker Daniel Xu has a following among several well-known Chinese clients.

Practice head(s):

Tim Taylor QC


‘KWM has serious strength in depth – a headliner in Tim Taylor, but they also have hugely skilled support from Jo Strain and Parnika Chaturvedi. The team works closely together and provides great balance, and has the capacity for innovation and for taking a novel idea and translating it into a useful and effective judgment for their client.’

‘The stand-out strengths lie in being adept at skilfully cutting through and narrowing the issues in dispute to formulate and implement a well thought out, intelligent, dispute resolution strategy.’

‘Tim Taylor QC is a veteran of the Dubai disputes world – he can draw on his huge experience to generate ideas which many would have dismissed, often with success.’

‘Jo Strain is a highly accomplished litigator and arbitration practitioner – she has really stepped out from Tim’s shadow and is a force to be reckoned with.’

‘Parnika Chaturvedi is an excellent technical lawyer. She is all over the detail of cases and a valuable asset to have on the team.’

Key clients

Five Hotel FZCO

R.J. O’Brien (MENA)

Capital Limited

Meydan Group LLC

Assas Investments Ltd

Mr Jaideep Anand

Mr Aloki Batra

Mahesh Tourani

Work highlights

  • Representing Meydan Group in a breach of claim against the Dubai International Arbitration Centre, following the invalid appointment of a tribunal chair.
  • Representing two companies and two private individuals in defence of contempt of court proceedings as part of the dispute over the Vicreoy Hotel on the Palm.
  • Representing Maheshi Tourani in a dispute with a high-profile DIFC restaurant, and an individual connected with it, concerning the repayment of a loan which the defendants alleged was a gift.

Afridi & Angell

Afridi & Angell covers a very broad range of commercial litigation and other disputes work, spanning from arbitration through to DIFC courts disputes and advising on broader issues in "onshore" UAE cases. Chatura Randeniya and senior associate Mevan Bandara, both of whom have experience at Sri Lanka's independent Bar, are key names, as is the English solicitor Stuart Walker. Practice head Haider Afridi is another key name in the practice, which also works with local advocates on Arabic-language court litigation.

Practice head(s):

Haider Afridi


‘Excellent individuals and team with great technical skills and well-able to hold their own against top firms from London and elsewhere.’

‘Haider Afridi is enormously experienced in international arbitration arising out of GCC states, with a calm, measured and authoritative approach.’

‘Chatura Randeniya is a very able lawyer with excellent analytical skills and very quick to see the weaknesses in the opposition’s case.’

‘Mevan Bandara is charming, massively hard-working and very clever.’

‘Both Stuart Walker and Sulakshana Senanayake work extremely hard – often at short notice and under considerable time pressure – and are prepared to go the extra mile for the client and the team. They also had a very good feel for the way that the DIFC court would receive submissions – whether a point is likely to fall flat or engage the court.’

Key clients

ED&F Man Capital Markets

Work highlights

  • Representing ED&F Man Capital Markets in proceedings against former senior employees, securing the DIFC’s first ever delivery up order.

Baker Botts L.L.P.

At Baker Botts L.L.P., Philip Punwar, alongside being active in a range of disputes, is notable for his expertise on DIFC legal professional privilege issues, which he often deploys as a supervising lawyer. Solicitor-advocate Stephen Burke's practice primarily includes engineering matters, some of which has crossover with public international law. Dustin Appel is a well-regarded senior associate.


‘They make client requests a priority, especially when cases do not go as planned.’

‘Dustin Appel works very hard to turn difficult cases around.’

Key clients

Samsung Engineering Co Ltd.

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla's Andrew Mackenzie is active in a range off arbitrated and litigated disputes. Areas of expertise include finance disputes and joint venture. Habib Al Mulla is also active in some matters, and is an ICSID panel arbitrator.

Practice head(s):

Habib Al Mulla; Andrew Mackenzie


‘The team is well organized and capable of dealing with complicated legal matters.’

‘Andrew Mackenzie brings great energy and commitment to every case.’

‘Andrew Massey is a pleasure to work with. Always cool-headed even under pressure and a wonderful team player who delivers great results.’

Key clients

BankMed (DIFC)

FIMBank P.L.C.

United Arab Bank


Barents Re

Work highlights

  • Representing BankMed in a  dispute concerning a loan to a telecoms company.
  • Representing United Arab Bank in a case against a borrower of an AED 750m loan, who alleges that the personal guarantee is forged.
  • Representing two FedEx subsidiaries in a multi-faceted dispute with Abdul Latif Jameel Transportation.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance's James Abbott acts for banks and accountancy firms in banking and professional regulatory matters, both handling advocacy himself and instructing top-flight London silks. Alongisde work of such a nature, Paul Coates also has technology and engineering disputes expertise, including IT services. Senior associate Arun Wisweswaran is an active name below partner level.

Practice head(s):

James Abbott


‘The sheer strength and depth of James Abbott’s team is hard to match. He himself has appeared in a large number of the leading cases in the DIFC.’

‘Paul Coates is incisive and quickly masters complex legal and factual issues, and especially skilled in analysing complex fund management structures. A delight to work with.’


Dentons' workload includes DIFC-LCIA and ad hoc arbitrations. Construction and engineering specialist Alastair Young heads the firm's broader disputes practice. Richard Clarke is a notable senior associate. Matthew Showler left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Young


‘Dentons conducts high-quality work and organises counsel teams efficiently, using juniors and leaders appropriately. They have great local knowledge with key personnel who have been present in the DIFC for many years.’

‘Richard Clarke is a senior associate who shows great promise as a very able administrator of any major piece of litigation. He has good legal judgment.’

Key clients


State Bank of Mauritius

Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co

Basin Supply Corporation

Airbus Defence and Space

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited

Ultra Electronics, 3eTI

Haulotte Group

Indus International FZC


Emirates Cricket Board


Jetex FZE

Lukoil International Services BV

Work highlights

  • Representing State Bank of Mauritius in DIFC litigation, securing worldwide freezing orders against Renish Petrochem and Prime Energy.
  • Representing ICBC in a $1.25m dispute against a defaulting borrower.
  • Advising Airbus on UAE litigation concerning a radar system located in Saudi Arabia.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer


Sara Sheffield, whose workload includes DIFC litigation and a range of global disputes, is the key contact for commercial litigation at HFW. Fitting with the firm's broader reputation on a global level, Sam Wakerley handles a range of insurance matters, as does Charles Cockrell who has aviation expertise. Richard Strub handles shipping disputes and Yaman Al Hawamdeh is a key name for working with local advocates on Arabic language disputes.

Practice head(s):

Sara Sheffield


‘The partners are at their clients’ side during the whole battle.’

Key clients

Cisco Systems International

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC

Joseph Ghossoub

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC


Alstom Transport

Denholm Yam

Work highlights

  • Representing Joseph Ghossoub in across-border shareholder dispute with WPP, the new owners of MENACOM, the company which he founded.
  • Representing Cisco Systems in a dispute with a defaulting debtor and guarantor, including enforcing a DIFC default judgment in the Abu Dhabi courts.
  • Representing Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank in a DIFC professional negligence claim against a Magic Cirlce firm.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

At Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, Raza Mithani has a wide-ranging practice, including commercial disputes involving distribution agreement matters. Working with other firms on Arabic language litigation, both in the UAE and in its GCC neighbours, as well as working on matters with South Asian elements, are other areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Raza Mithani


‘Raza Mithani is an exceptional lawyer and advocate.’

Key clients

Kellogg Brown & Root Limited (KBR)

Damac Group

Specon Group

Emirates Landscape

Arabtec Construction LLC

ICICI Bank Limited

Alistair James Company Limited

313 Velocity General Trading LLC

Work highlights

  • Represented logistics company Alistair James Company in a dispute concerning the transportation of an oil rig from Tanzania to Egypt, in which the DIFC court considered issues of economic duress for the first time.


Alongside a practice handling engineering and construction disputes for a similar clientele, CMS handles a disputes work concerning the energy industry, such as ones concerning sales of blocks. Randall Walker is a notable name.

Key clients

Dragon Oil

Lukoil Mid-East Ltd

Gazprom Neft Middle East BV


Sulzer Chemtech Middle East SPC

RNBVK (Rosneft Middle East)

Spie Batignolles International Contracting LLC

Oman Power and Water Procurement Company

Work highlights

  • Advising Lukoil on UAE Courts litigation, responding to a challenge to an arbitral award in its favour.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's Stuart Paterson handles a mix of arbitration and cross-border litigation matters, with many matters involving banks and crossing over with financial services regulation. Contentious construction specialist Craig Shepherd moved to the firm's Tokyo office and newly promoted partner Nicholas Oury now leads the Dubai contentious construction practice. Caroline Kehoe has retired from the firm and now sits as an arbitrator.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Paterson

Key clients

The Board of Control for Cricket in India

Leighton Offshore Pte Ltd

Amana Middle East Holdings Limited

Buharia International Holdings Limited

SMS Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing the BCCI in a dispute under with the Pakistan Cricket Board over a number of proposed bilateral tours.

KBH Kaanuun

One of few litigation boutiques in the market, KBH Kaanuun is trusted as a referral firm by a number of key US firms not present in Dubai. Bushra Ahmed - qualified as an English barrister - is a key contact and handles a broad range of DIFC litigation, as does DK Singh. In the banking litigation space the firm represents a number of claimants against banks, and the team is well-connected in South Asia. Senior associate Tina Asgarian joined in 2019 from Mourant.

Practice head(s):

DK Singh; Bushra Ahmed


‘These are really nice people to deal with who are attentive at all times.’

‘Traditionally, this firm has strong links with India and Pakistan, from where many of its clients do business.’

‘Within the DIFC Court, the firm has a historical reputation for its work for Claimants, often for relatively low fees or on a conditional fee basis. It has appeared it many of the leading cases by acting on that basis.’

‘DK Singh is a highly regarded, excellent lawyer, with a lot of experience in multi-jurisdictional disputes.’

‘Bushra Ahmed was formerly a barrister in England. She is a brave and determined advocate who punches above her weight, and is particularly good at cross-examining factual witnesses.’

Key clients

Liquidators of Orion Holdings

Al Khorafi & Others

Amit Dattani & Others

KBC Aldini Capital Limited

RAG Foodstuff Trading Limited

Re Point Ventures PZCO

Work highlights

  • Representing the liquidators of Orion Holdings in a matter with a number of cross-border issues involving asset tracing and Swiss law.
  • Representing a number of private individuals in a litigation-funded case against Sarasin-Alpen and Bank Sarasin concerning the alleged mis-selling of structured notes.
  • Representing KBC Aldini Capital in a dispute concerning the use of its name in a failed bid to take private Amaya, the company which owns PokerStars.

King & Spalding LLP

At King & Spalding LLP, Adrian Cole handles a range of disputes work, primarily focusing on international arbitration and DIFC litigation. New York-admitted Guillaume Hess is a notable associate.


“The King & Spalding team has a strong presence on the ground which in turn allows them to be particularly responsive to client needs. Other firms struggle to match the availability and accessibility to good work and the DIFC in particular.”

“Adrian Cole has an excellent knowledge of both legal and commercial matters and adopts a common sense approach to dealing with complex matters.”

Key clients


Delivery Hero

Berkeley Capital

Riyad Bank

Passport Special Opportunities Fund

Work highlights

  • Representing Passport Special Opportunities Master Fund in a dispute with a defaulting borrower, a Pakistani television channel whose launch the fund financed.
  • Advising Indigo Airlines on a dispute concerning the termination of its local agents.

Norton Rose Fulbright

At Norton Rose Fulbright, Paul Stothard handles DIFC litigation as part of his broader practice, which includes construction matters. Deirdre Walker's workload includes international arbitrations concerning hotel management agreements, among other matters.

Practice head(s):

Deirdre Walker

Key clients

The Unfinished Business of American Democracy Committee of the Harlan Group for Civil Rights

David Baazov

Work highlights

  • Representing a group representing Puerto Rican citizens in Inter-American Commission on Human Rights complaint concerning the territory’s lack of participation in US federal elections.
  • Defending David Baazov in proceedings brought by KBC Aldini Capital in a dispute concerning a bid to take Amaya Gaming (owner of PokerStars) private.

Pinsent Masons LLP

At Pinsent Masons LLP, Mark Raymont handles DIFC litigation, including heavyweight hotel management agreement disputes, as does Damian Crosse , whose practice includes large asset-tracing cases, both in the DIFC and working on litigation strategy in global disputes. Mahmoud Selim left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Damian Crosse


“Top-tier team, acting on large quantum cases – they are well known in the market.’

Key clients

Al Fahim Group



Al Zarooni Emirates Investments


Harlow International


Green Coast Enterprises

Amanat PJSC

FTI Consulting

Delta Capital Partners

Bareeq Capital

China Petroleum Engineering Corporation





Al Bahar Group

Dubai Aviation Corporation (Fly Dubai)



Work highlights

  • Representing Assas Opco in DIFC Courts litigation concerning the management of a hotel, previously known as the Vicreroy, on Palm Jumeirah.
  • Representing Tabarak Investment in a claim brought by two private individuals in the wake of the collapse of Drake and Scull.
  • Advising Honeywell on a dispute with its agent in Abu Dhabi.

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

Simmons & Simmons Middle East handles a range of disputes work, both in the DIFC courts and international arbitration, with a focus on representing banks. Payam Beheshti is a notable name for that, alongside acting in a number of cases involving allegations of mis-selling (often crossing over with his DFSA regulatory expertise) and cross-border debt recoveries.


‘They work very effectively across their offices, and are able to adjust their approach depending on the client requirements of the matter. They earn the confidence and respect of senior stakeholders.’

‘Payam Beheshti is very practical – he is strong on the strategy but equally willing to get in to the detail. He is also very personable and builds strong relationships.’

Key clients

Standard Chartered

Work highlights

  • Represented Standard Chartered in striking out a DIFC courts claim alleging mis-selling of financial products.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood's office managing partner Rovine Chandrasekera and James Willn handle a broad span of work covering from international asset tracing through to insurance litigation. The firm as a whole is well-connected in Iraq, and gets a number of referrals from respected US firms. Nick Sharratt joined from Winston & Strawn LLP as a partner in September 2019.


“In addition to the high level of knowledge and relevant experience, Stephenson Harwood has good insights and relations to the legislative side, so as to better understand relevant interpretation and development of applied practices.”

Key clients

Midtown Acquisitions LP

Emirates NBD

PDVSA, Venezuela

Ministry of Finance (Iraq)

Ministry of Electricity (Iraq)

Ministry of Justice (Iraq)

MOG Holding Limited

Petrogat Fze

Mondial (Dubai) LLC


SPL Guernsey

Work highlights

  • Working as co-counsel with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP to defend Iraq in an ICSID claim brought by a Kuwaiti contractor.
  • Representing MOG Holdings in a fraud claim against the former owner of a perfume company it invested in.
  • Representing Midtown Acquisition in DIFC Courts proceedings to enforce a New York judgement.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard's Paul Hughes handles DIFC court litigation, including complex cases involving availability of injunctions, as well as shareholder arbitrations and project managing "onshore" litigation across the GCC. Key names below partner level include Antonia Grieve and New York-qualified Khurram Khan.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hughes


‘Despite being a small team, they have handled some of the highest value and most complex cases in the DIFC courts.’

‘Paul Hughes is a superb legal strategist who has a strong grasp of the legal and commercial drivers in any case. He is relentless in pursuing the interests of his client in advancing their case.’

Key clients

Khaldoun and Zeina Tabari

RJ O’Brien

Hunkemoller International BV

Plafond ME LLC

Work highlights

  • Representing an individual commodities trader in ED&F Mann v Sayyed Hussain and RJ O’Brein, a DIFC courts case concerning the move of commodities brokers.
  • Represented Hunkemoller International BV in securing a default judgment against a Bahraini franchisee.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

At Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Lebanese-qualified Ghassan El Daye projects manages cross-border litigation across the Middle East.

Key clients

Etihad Airways

AXA Insurance (Gulf) BSC

GEK Terna (Terna Group)

DEAL Distribution International FZE

Gulf Chinese Trading Corporation

Lindsay Lohan

Hi Aloha FZE

DUAL Investments LLC

Haroon Karim

W.S. Atkins & Partners Overseas & W.S. Atkins International Limited

First Qatar Real Estate Development

Expertise SRL

Work highlights

  • Representing WS Atkins in an IP case brought by a French architect concerning the Sheth Tower.
  • Representing First Qatar Real Estate Development in enforcing an arbitral award in the UAE and several other Riyadh Convention countries.
  • Representing DEAL Distribution International in a criminal case initiated against several former employees.

DWF Middle East LLP

Many of DWF Middle East LLP's highlights include cases with large asset-tracing elements and allegations of fraud. James Fox is a key name for this, as is Haytham Alieh, who is admitted in Lebanon. Slava Kiryushin joined from CMS, bringing with him energy expertise.


‘James Fox’s years of experience in the region enable him to truly think outside the box in finding unusual solutions to complex problems. He leverages an exceptionally capable internal team and network of Emirati advocates and has consistently delivered results.’

Key clients

National Bank of Fujairah PJSC

Fujitsu Technology Solutions FZE

Majid Al Futtaim Hyper Markets

Trouvay & Cauvin Gulf B.S.C.

BearingPoint International BV

Scientechnic LLC

Borr Drilling

Work highlights

  • Advising the defendants in the case brought by SKAT, the Danish tax authorities, which alleges a $2bn “Cum-Ex” fraud.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Alongside the firm's expertise in specialisms such as construction disputes and regulatory investigations, at Eversheds Sutherland LLP Nasser Ali Khasawneh is a notable name for technology and media-related disputes.

Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP

Nabeel Ikram  is the key partner at a Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP disputes practice which handles a range of arbitrations concerning engineering and technology, property and commercial matters.

Practice head(s):

Nabeel Ikram


‘The Hogan Lovells dispute resolution team stands out for its excellent leadership and the quality of its offering in a very sensible and cost-effective manner.’

‘Nabeel Ikram heads the team and he has a wealth of experience, which he sensibly applies his subject matter expertise to given situations.  Nabeel takes on board the views of others and he will tailor approaches accordingly. Refreshingly, he also offers clear opinions on matters, coming off the fence when necessary, which is something other lawyers find hard to do, this comes from experience.’


Rania Tadros, Brian Boahene and the Egyptian-qualified Mohamed El Hawawy are the key litigation names at Ince, where a large proportion of mandates stem from the firm's key specialisms in the maritime and insurance sectors (and the team acts for a number of enviable clients in the latter).

Practice head(s):

Rania Tadros


Clients like the practical way that the firm approaches issues.’

Brian Boahene is frank and provides unbiased opinions which are vindicated by the courts.’

Rania Tadros is approachable but firm and clear in her reasoning which is essential in dispute matters.’

Key clients

Lamprell Energy Ltd

London Offshore Consultants

Al Sagr National Insurance Company

Union Insurance Company PSC

TT Club

Navis Claims Service (Reinsurers)

Work highlights

  • Representing Lamprell Energy in a dispute with a labour supplier over the capabilities of welders.
  • Representing London Offshore Consultants in a number of debt recovery cases.

Jones Day

Jones Day of counsel Pierre Heitzmann handles a number of heavyweight cross-border disputes, involving international arbitrations on a range of issues as well as DIFC litigation.

Practice head(s):

Pierre Heitzmann


“Pierre Heitzman is a very thoughtful and accomplished lawyer with broad knowledge of the region.”

Key clients

Consolidated Contractors International Company S.A.L.

Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited

Fives FCB and CPC Maroc



Work highlights

  • Representing Daiichi Sankyo Company in infringement proceedings in the wake of an ICC arbitration.
  • Representing Iraq Telecom – a joint venture of Orange and Kuwaiti company Agility – in DIFC litigation with the DIFC company which owns Korek, a network that operates in Iraqi Kurdistan.

K&L Gates

At K&L Gates, Jonathan Sutcliffe, who handles a range of primarily arbitration work including commercial and engineering disputes, heads the practice. Sutcliffe also sits as an arbitrator. Nazanin Aleyaseen, who is qualified in Canada, has expertise in both arbitration and internal investigations. Jennifer Paterson, an English barrister, is a notable counsel.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Sutcliffe

Key clients

Tobacco Products International FZ-LLC


Work highlights

  • Represented Tobacco Products International in an arbitration, as well as civil and criminal UAE court litigation, concerning allegations of fraud concerning the quality of tobacco.
  • Representing ENBD REIT in applying for DIFC Court sanction for a reduction in share capital.


Peter Ellingham and Nick Humphrey handle a range of work at Kennedys, primarily concerning insurance matters and for insured clients.

Key clients

Zurich Insurance Group No

Axa No

American International

Group (AIG) No

Liberty Mutual No

The New India Assurance Company Limited (Dubai Branch)



Argo Re


Orient Insurance PSC


LPA-CGR's Karim Nassif is active as an arbitrator in ICC, DIFC-LCIA and ad hoc arbitrations, frequently sitting among some of the world's best known arbitrators, and as an expert in ICSID arbitrations. He also handles some work in this arena for parties.

Practice head(s):

Karim Nassif


‘A well organized firm that reacts well to external input.’

‘Karim Nassif is very hands-on, holds excellent knowledge of the UAE local laws and is super responsive.’

Mayer Brown

Alain Farhad joined Mayer Brown in June 2019 from Squire Patton Boggs, bringing with him expertise in international arbitration, particularly investor-state disputes.

Practice head(s):

Alain Farhad

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP's Rebecca Kelly handles a range of commercial disputes, many of which involving fraud allegations or issues of asset tracing.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Kelly

Reed Smith

Reed Smith's Mahmoud Awad - who is admitted to the New York Bar and joined from Hadef & Partners LLC in 2018 - handles a number of commercial disputes in international arbitrations for both US and Middle Eastern clients.

Practice head(s):

Mahmoud Awad


‘Reed Smith have a dynamic and forward-looking approach, and the team is fortunate to have some outstanding lawyers with unrivalled experience of arbitration and international litigation in general.’

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams' Charlotte Bijlani handles a range of work spanning debt recovery, joint venture disputes and litigation against former senior employees.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Bijlani


“The team has an ability to deal with complex matters involving clients in different time zones, speaking different languages and having a lot of other demands on their time.”

“Being able to convey the complexities of litigation to clients and the need to deal with certain aspects at particular times in such circumstances is a very difficult skill, which this team manages very well indeed.”

“Charlotte Bijlani is very knowledgeable and hardworking. She leads her team really well and is very pleasant to deal with.”