Firms To Watch: Dispute resolution: arbitration and international litigation

Galadari Advocates & Legal Consultants‘ growing disputes team has seen a wave of internal promotions as well as a new partner and junior hire over the past twelve months, boosting the group’s capability to act on varied international litigation and arbitration proceedings. Ahmed Galadari, Abdulla Galadari and Fadi Hassoun head the practice.
CMS launched its practice with the arrival of James Abbott in early 2024 from Clifford Chance.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP launched its UAE presence by hiring Joanne Strain and Parnika Chaturvedi from King & Wood Mallesons in December 2023.

Firms in the Spotlight Dispute resolution: arbitration and international litigation

Motei & Associates

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We do understand that litigation and business disputes are costly, time-consuming, stressful, and may cause mental and emotional strain for our clients, whether you are running a private business or managing a local or multi-national company, a shareholder, an employee, an investor, or an individual seeking justice.

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Dispute resolution: arbitration and international litigation in United Arab Emirates

Al Tamimi & Company

Lauded for its ‘dedication, expertise, and professionalism’, regional powerhouse Al Tamimi & Company is a popular choice for banking and financial services clients who rely on the firm’s extensive knowledge of the international legal market and a variety of local markets in the GCC. The firm’s deep bench of advisers are well equipped to tackle an array of shareholder disputes, insurance claims for both claimants and defendants, contentious real estate and construction projects, and criminal proceedings, including substantial international fraud cases. The group is noted for its ‘real strength in depth when it comes to DIFC litigation’ and also has a proven track record in a number of international disputes centres, including the ICC, LICA, Uncitral  and LMAA, with strong technical excellence in arbitration proceedings. Hassan Arab and Rita Jaballah, who are key names for banking and energy disputes, and David Holloway, who also sits as an arbitrator are key names. Senior counsel Jonathan Brooks is integral to the team’s asset recovery work and Khushboo Shahdadpuri ‘displays a deep understanding of the law and an unwavering commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for cases’.

Practice head(s):

Hassan Arab; Rita Jaballah; David Holloway

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Brooks; Khushboo Shahdadpuri


‘The lead partner on our case is David Holloway who is one of the best litigators we have ever worked with. A highly impressive advocate.’

‘Strong knowledge of corporate and commercial law.’

‘A helpful team that has deep knowledge of arbitration and attention to the details.’

A&O Shearman

A&O Shearman stands out for its ‘high professional approach and collaboration between offices’ and has a considerable international reach that sees the team advise states, public bodies, and financial and corporate clients on a range of disputes, with a particular specialism in infrastructure and construction disputes, commercial arbitration, and investment treaty arbitration. A highly respected practitioner in his field, team head Yacine Francis has an ‘excellent strategic mind’ that allows him to handle complex, multi-faceted cross-border litigation cases, with an eminent reputation in corporate fraud and regulatory investigations. Kirsten O’Connell is the go-to in the practice for construction and infrastructure disputes, and has often acted for states in ICSID proceedings. Arash Koozehkanani continues to build an impressive portfolio of high-value commercial litigation and international arbitration cases, helped by a strong understanding of both international and local institutional rules. David Odejavi and David Berman are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Yacine Francis

Other key lawyers:

Kirsten O’Connell; Arash Koozehkanani; David Odejavi; David Berman


‘The team is very good at managing both arbitration and court cases, with the help of local firms’

‘David Berman is a very strong player. Easy going and approachable, he works very hard and is creative and business-minded

‘Yacine Francis is very respected, he has an excellent strategic mind and can guide clients through the complexity of litigation in the region’

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has a strong track record in local, DIFC and ADGM Courts and utilises its exceptional market understanding and sector knowledge to act on disputes across a range of industries, particularly shipping, construction and insurance. The near-unrivalled size of the firm’s disputes team allows the group to handle a significant volume of work that pertains to fraud, project fallouts, contractual disputes and purchase agreements – among others. Practice head Susie Abdel-Nabi has extensive experience litigating before the Dubai Courts and is noted for her stellar counsel in complex and landmark cases. Mark Beswetherick is a key figure for professional liability defence cases, and is also proficient across regulatory investigations and civil litigation cases, often involving directors and senior managers. Nassif Boumalhab is chiefly recognised for his arbitration work, with a wide focus that includes banking, real estate and shareholder disagreements and Keith Hutchison regularly defends clients before the DIFC courts, leveraging experience in the debt recovery team – where he leads the department – to act in complex financial and investment disputes. Alexandra Lester is widely sought by clients – particularly tech and telecoms businesses – for both litigation and arbitration proceedings, and Sherif Maher is predominantly active in domestic cases.

Practice head(s):

Susie Abdel-Nabi

Other key lawyers:

Mark Beswetherick; Nassif BouMalhab; Keith Hutchison; Alexandra Lester; Sherif Maher



‘They are well respected by insurers in a complex and evolving geography for litigation.’

‘The team are friendly, professional and efficient. ’

‘They are comprehensive, responsive, listen to the corporate direction / strategy we want and they make effort to stay connected.’

Key clients

Union Properties PJSC and UPP Capital Investment LLC


Work highlights

  • Act for Union Properties PJSC and UPP Capital Investment LLC in seeking to recover the misappropriated funds (in excess of AED 320 million).
  • Counsel for Stantec International Inc and Stantec UK Limited, defendants and joined parties in a AED 320 million dispute with Truck Way LLC (Truck Way) and its mother company Al Saharaa Holding Group LLC (Al Sahraa).

DLA Piper

Demonstrating an ‘in depth knowledge of both the local region and the international environment’, DLA Piper is trusted by some of the biggest corporates in the Middle East and beyond for onshore and offshore litigation, international arbitration, regulatory and compliance matters. The team notably stands out through its specialist sanctions practice, as well as its ability to competently handle corporate investigations and white-collar criminal law cases. Construction, energy, infrastructure, restructuring and complex post M&A disputes round off a strong and diverse book of work. Practice head Andrew Mackenzie acts on a range of arbitration and litigation cases, from engineering and construction issues to intellectual property and life sciences-centered disagreements. Henry Quinlan has extensive arbitration experience, representing international banking groups, government entities, and leading industry corporates across a range of issues and Wissam Dagher is particular focused on commercial, banking and finance, and shareholders’ disputes. Senior legal consultant Adam Bradshaw’s practice covers acting for both public and private organisations and legal director Andrew Massey regularly represents clients in both the DIFC and ADGM Courts.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Mackenzie

Other key lawyers:

Henry Quinlan; Wissam Dagher; Adam Bradshaw; Andrew Massey


‘Excellent communication and in depth knowledge of both the local region and international environment.’

‘We get excellent and swift service from Wissam Dagher and his team, always pro-active and never miss a deadline.’


‘They are easy to deal and talk with and a strong team with both legal and industry knowledge and make your life easier.’

Key clients

Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (“SQM”)

Al Dahana


NCB Capital



HSBC Bank Middle East Limited (HSBC)



First Fund Management Limited & Paresh Khlara

BAM Higgs & Hill LLC

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has notable credentials in commercial litigation, arbitration, and regulatory and investigatory work, and represents a stellar list of clients in complex disputes. The group has seen an uptick in professional negligence claims, restructuring work, and fintech and data protection cases and is also recognised as a go-to for construction and energy disputes. The ‘excellent’ Paul Coates has been largely active in large-scale energy and infrastructure project disputes across various Middle Eastern states, as well as handling cases for pharmaceutical companies and governmental bodies. Senior associate Prachi Trivedi has provided additional recent support in disputes concerning the energy, construction and financial sectors. Former team lead James Abbott left the firm to join CMS in January 2024.

Other key lawyers:

Paul Coates; Prachi Trivedi


‘One of the strongest law firms in the region, with the benefit of reach or support from around the world when required.’

‘Paul Coates is exceptional. He is extremely intelligent and articulate. He is a very strong lawyer but he is also very client focused as well as being highly effective at managing his team. His style is the exactly correct mix of (a) cooperation and professional courtesy towards the other side and (b) protecting and furthering his client’s interests.’

‘Prachi Trivedi was brilliant. She did a great job marshalling the evidence in the run-up to the trial.’

‘The team in Dubai is very experienced and knowledgeable compared with other firms.’


Dentons has a diverse practice, with a group of dedicated specialists who handle commercial, banking, construction, regulatory and employment disputes. The team has a strong track record in front of courts in the DIFC, and have been active across a range of domestic and international arbitration centres. Dean Ryburn is a proficient dispute resolution expert, representing a wealth of clients in a range of cases and is regularly sought out by contractors, developers and investors for his construction acumen. Christopher Brennan is singled out for his skill in compliance and regulatory investigations, often handling highly sensitive financial crime, money laundering, fraud and corruption proceedings. Newly promoted partner Suzannah Fairbairn is principally noted for her large-scale arbitration work. Senior associates Faris Shehabi and Zahra Rose Khawaja provide additional support. Andrew Cheung left the firm and Alastair Young retired.

Practice head(s):

Dean Ryburn

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Brennan; Suzannah Fairbairn; Faris Shebabi; Zahra Rose Khawaja


‘Well-rounded team that brings expertise from different legal fields to provide a specialized service and advice on complex transactions.’

‘Faris Shehabi and the arbitration team are very responsive and supportive in coordinating the required expertise to assist with the situation.’

Key clients

The State Bank of Mauritius

Haulotte Middle East FZE

Work highlights

  • Successfully obtained an immediate judgment for the  State Bank of Mauritius against the defendants for US$30m in debt in May 2021, followed by a finding of fraud before the DIFC Court in December 2021.
  • Acting for a syndicate of leading Middle Eastern banks in an LCIA arbitration seeking recovery of more than AED2.5 billion under the financing documents for a Middle East infrastructure project.
  • Acting for a global hospitality operator in relation to several disputes including an ICC arbitration in relation to allegations of fraud, bribery and gross negligence as well as claims for breach of intellectual property rights and recovery of sums owing following termination of the hotel management agreement.

DWF Middle East LLP

DWF Middle East LLP has significantly bolstered its team with the arrivals of Bill Evans and Victoria Clucas from Kennedys in April 2023, Paul Suckling and Oliver Dupenois from Horizons & Co in August 2023, and Adam Pryor from Clyde & Co LLP in the same month. The group acts for blue-chip corporates, multinational financial institutions, and high-net-worth individuals, principally excelling in complex financial, banking and insurance cases. James Fox is highly reputed for his experience acting on precedent-setting cases in the DIFC. Legal director Donal Scott and associate Jessika Stadwick provide additional support in commercial litigation and international arbitration. Slava Kiryushin left the firm.

Practice head(s):

James Fox

Other key lawyers:

Donal Scott; Jessika Stadwick; Bill Evans; Victoria Clucas; Paul Suckling; Oliver Dupenois; Adam Pryor; Brian Boahene


‘James Fox and the team are expert across the whole UAE legal landscape, both before the onshore and offshore Courts and able to provide a seamless service across all. In particular, their experience and knowledge of the local market when it comes to advocates to use is a real lifeline to those not as present in the region.’

‘Unrivalled knowledge of the UAE legal landscape. Good strategic litigators with a strong eye on how to maximise the diverse advantages of the civil & commercial court systems. Commercially minded and able to focus in on the key issues.’

‘I have been continuously impressed by the firm’s professionalism and meticulous grasp of the intricacies of cases. James provides clear, concise advice and masters the most complex cross-border asset recovery issues that we require assistance with. He is supported by a pleasant, responsive team with excellent attention to detail. Donal and Tarik are well versed in the surrounding legal and commercial environment relevant to our matters (both domestic and international) and consistently demonstrate their ability to develop creative and innovative strategies for resolving our complex issues.’

Key clients

Neoma Private Equity Fund IV

Cesfin Ventures LLC

Emirates NBD Bank PJSC

Cerner Oracle

The Saudi British Bank

Cesfin Ventures LLC

Mulla/Al Meeza

The Saudi British Bank

Work highlights

  • Acting on a claim (c. USD 250m) against KPMG for failures in various audits of NPEF IV when NPEF IV was part of the Abraaj Group.
  • Acting on a multi-jurisdictional asset recovery case following an arbitration award granted to Cessna Finance Corporation / Textron Financial Corporation relating to the leasing of three jets to a UAE private jet operator worth approximately USD 110m, in which DWF has recently achieved an outstanding settlement of USD $50m.
  • Acting for ENDB in a claim in excess of AED 218m to locate and retrieve dissipated assets, in which the firm was successful in obtaining (1) the recognition and enforcement of a UAE judgment in the High Court of England and Wales valued at c. USD 100m, and (2) exceptional orders under Section 423 of the Insolvency Act to unwind various transfers of assets on the basis that these were executed with the explicit intention to defraud creditors.

Hadef & Partners LLC

Hadef & Partners LLC has an international reach that sees the team act for leading corporates and governmental bodies across Europe, the US, Africa and Asia. The group has core expertise in employment, engineering, construction, transport, and trade-related disputes, and part of the group's portfolio of work includes substantial fraud, asset recovery and compliance cases. Adrian Chadwick is noted for particular strength in arbitration and ADR proceedings, with astute knowledge of the maritime industry. Walid Azzam stands out for his experience in cross-border litigation and Abdulrahman Juma plays a key role in many of the firm's high-profile disputes. Karim Mahmoud is well regarded for shareholder disagreements, banking, and real estate disputes. Matthew Page, James Harbridge and Alexander Wagg are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Abdulrahman Juma; Adrian Chadwick; Walid Azzam

Other key lawyers:

Karim Mahmoud; Matthew Page; James Harbridge; Alexander Wagg


‘The team has a broad range of experience, which allows them to steer disputes in the right direction for their clients.’

‘Matt Page is very good at managing the dispute process.’

‘A great depth of understanding of the construction, energy, and infrastructure industries in the region gives Hadef a strong grasp of the technical and commercial issues facing their clients. They have enormous experience of large-scale complex arbitration and litigation in the Middle East region and have an in-depth understanding of how to run big cases successfully to get the best result for the client. They combine this with market-leading experience of the local courts.’


HFW fields an extensive bench of litigators and arbitrators who regularly handle work for premium domestic corporates and financial institutions. Practice head Nick Braganza represents a range of clients in commercial disputes, particularly cases with a fraud and insolvency nexus. Yamal Al Hawamdeh has substantial knowledge of the UAE courts system and has a book of work that includes banking, civil, and commercial cases. Legal director Rami Al Tal is another name to note and is a key figure for criminal proceedings. Robert Lawrence is also noted. Slava Kiryushin was a new arrival from DWF Middle East LLP in April 2023.

Practice head(s):

Nick Braganza; Yaman Al Hawamdeh

Other key lawyers:

Robert Lawrence; Slava Kiryushin; Rami Al Tal

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

National Bank of Fujairah

Tasneem Cars – Import & Export Enterprises LLC

National Bank of Kuwait (Dubai Branch)

Ramziq Technologies Limited and seven other related individuals

Al Buhaira International Shipping Inc

Expresso Telecom Group Limited

Sajjad Haider Chartered Accountants

Work highlights

  • Representing Ramziq Technologies Limited and successfully resisting an urgent injunction application regarding setting up a competing business and misappropriation of confidential information in the cryptocurrency sector.
  • Successfully acting for the Defendant Expresso Telecom Group Ltd in relation to a claim brought by a former employee for end of service entitlements and penalties for the late payment of dues in the DIFC Court of First Instance.
  • Advising National Bank of Fujairah on recovering AED 45 million through a payment order application before the Dubai Courts under a facility agreement.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright‘s team has ‘the confidence, experience and skills to undertake difficult cases’. It draws on the expertise of its deep bench to handle high-value local and international dispute resolution, operating across banking, real estate, hospitality, construction M&A, and energy and infrastructure – among others. The team also includes a number of certified mediators. Deirdre Walker handles all forms of litigation, mediation and arbitration and also assist with DFSA regulatory and internal investigations and Yaroslav Klimov is routinely sought out by CIS countries for representation in disputes. Shabnam Karim is a key figure for healthcare malpractice, D&O, and cyber liability cases, and newly promoted partner Aarti Thadani is a key name for construction litigation. Nick Sharratt joined the practice from Stephenson Harwood Middle East LLP in October 2023 and now leads the practice following Paul Stothard‘s move to the firm’s London office. Orlando Vidal left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Nick Sharratt

Other key lawyers:

Deirdre Walker; Yaroslav Klimov; Shabnam Karim; Aarti Thadani


‘Excellent team including partners and associates. Perfect communication skills as well. ’

‘They have the confidence, the experience and the skills to undertake difficult cases.’

‘ Extraordinary strength in depth. Phenomenally dedicated and hard-working for their clients.’

‘ Deirdre Walker is a tough litigator who plays hard ball. Rarely takes prisoners.

‘Partners are ably assisted by up and coming senior associates.’

Key clients

Dmitry Glukhov


Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP has impressed with its ability to handle tax disputes, landmark aviation cases, and its strong credentials in infrastructure, energy and construction disputes. The group frequently works alongside colleagues in the firm’s regional offices to handle multi-faceted cases spanning multiple jurisdictions. Department lead Damian Crosse, who is ‘a highly effective and respected negotiator’ provides ‘thoughtful and practical commercial advice‘; he acts on many of the firm’s most significant disputes. Mark Raymont is an energy expert, particularly oil and gas, and Seema Bono specialises in regulatory work, including investigations and technology disputes. Amelia Cave is noted for her retail and technology work and Sammy Nanneh is praised for her ‘excellent knowledge of the region‘. Andrew Cheung joined the firm in January 2023 and brings capabilities in international disputes, compliance issues, and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Damian Crosse; Mark Raymont

Other key lawyers:

Seema Bono; Amelia Cave; Sammy Nanneh; Andrew Cheung; Gregg Hammond


‘Pinsent Masons is a market-leading firm, which understands clients’ needs but also the complications of litigation in the DIFC.’

‘A dependable team for DIFC litigation and arbitration in the region. Good depth of knowledge and experience amongst the team and excellent value.’

‘Seema Bono is a great up and coming partner. Delightful to work with, and excellent with clients and at managing the team.’

Key clients


Qatar Airways

Infracare Maintenance and Cleaning Services LLC (part of the GEMS Education group)

Dr Kamal Akkach

Work highlights

  • Represented the Danish Tax Authority in its multibillion-dollar, multi-jurisdictional claims against multiple defendants for tax fraud.
  • Advised the Qatar Airways Group in high-profile litigation proceedings commenced against global aircraft manufacturer Airbus, valued at USD 3 billion.
  • Advised Infracare Maintenance and Cleaning Services LLC in DIFC Court proceedings against Kent College in the context of a dispute concerning a maintenance and services agreement, which involved breach of contract claims and a counterclaim of conspiracy.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP excels in shareholder, contractual, banking and financing, and technology-related disputes, and the team includes a number of construction specialists who are well positioned to act on complex cases in this area. The 'exceptional' Matthew Showler is a 'first-rate litigator' who heads the practice, often acting on high-profile cases before the DIFC and is a go-to for fraud disputes as well as investigations and crisis situations. Cheryl Cairns handles complex infrastructure, real estate and construction issues and Alex Burton is a proficient mediator who is also a major supporting presence in high-level litigation. Senior associate Daniel Smith has provided support on disputes for multinational corporations and high-net worth individuals that are frequently cross-border in nature.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Showler

Other key lawyers:

Cheryl Cairns; Alex Burton; Daniel Smith


‘A growing Dubai disputes team with real regional veterans. ’

‘Alex Burton is a robust litigator with a focus on arbitration.

‘Very responsive, good communicators, will go the extra mile and excellent quality of work. Daniel Smith is very reliable and an excellent support to Matthew.’

‘Matthew Showler has been exceptional to deal with and a pleasure to work with on a case.

‘The Trowers team in Dubai has been excellent with international arbitration we are conducting. Detailed, timely updates and advice, along with a very competent junior lawyer and paralegal support. ’

‘Matthew Showler is a first-rate commercial litigator, with many years of experience in working with Courts and tribunals in the Middle East. He never gets lost in the detail and he develops a consistent strategy by which he guides the client home.’

‘Extraordinarily engaged and responsive; easily able to navigate and coordinate various legal systems; great client handling.’

‘Matthew Showler is an outstanding individual. Easy to work with, but extremely dedicated and focused.’

Key clients

Sandra Holdings Limited

The Administrators of the International Banking Corporation

SpaceCom International LLC

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

Pearl Petroleum Co Ltd

Sayacorp B.S.C.

Power and Integrated Projects Company

First Energy Bank

GEMS Education Limited

Coffee Planet Group/ William Allan Jones

John Cockerill Group

Export – Import Bank Of Malaysia Berhad

Yousif Alkooheji & Bros

AAL Group Limited

Jonathan Ing

Moon Iron & Steel Co SAOC

His Excellency Sadiq Marafi

NEBA Financial Solutions

Accuracy Middle East Advisory Ltd

Miclyn Midad Marine company Limited

Indus International FZC

Dantar Technology Consultancies Company W.L.L

Trade X ME LLC

Petromin Corporation

Partners Group


Dalma Capital Management Limited

Saudi Selevision Company

Permodalan Nasional Berhad

I2 Capital Markets

Virgin Mobile Middle East

ACWA Power

Al Waha Capital

Asian Cricket Council

Rayad Emrit (well known West Indian Cricketer)


Bahrain Cinema Company

Kanoo Travel Group

Mohammed Bakhtiari

Redington FZE

Currie & Brown

ICL 5 Air Italy

Knight Frank

Malayan Banking Berhad

Mukhsen Mokhammad

Orea Mining Corporation

Farshad Rezaie

Standard Chartered Bank

Screen GP Europe BV

WPVM Limited

Twofour 54

Work highlights

  • Advise the Administrator of The International Banking Corporation in its claims against Ahmed Hamad Algosaibi Brothers Company (AHAB) worth USD 2.5 billion and involving multi-jurisdictional proceedings with claims in the DIFC, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Switzerland, the US and other jurisdictions.
  • Acting for Sandra Holdings Ltd in proceedings before the DIFC courts in a case worth in excess of USD 200 million and involving proceedings in the DIFC, onshore UAE, England, France, Switzerland, Kuwait, Cayman Islands, BVI and the US.
  • Acting for Sadiq Marafi in his claim against his ex wife and associated family companies for over EUR 150m involving proceedings across a number of jurisdictions and in which a worldwide freezing order has been obtained for the client.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard‘s team acts for a range of global blue-chip clients including multinational financial services providers. The group stands out for its credentials fraud cases, as well as major insolvency and restructuring proceedings. Team head Shane Jury is highly regarded for complex, cross-border disputes, particularly financial services and fraud claims. Emma Tormey has strong knowledge of the tech sector.

Practice head(s):

Shane Jury

Other key lawyers:

Emma Tormey


‘A premier commercial litigation team with a focus on substantial banking, financial services and professional negligence claims.’

‘The team that supported our dispute were incredibly skilled, knowledgeable and professional in their approach. They were able to provide not only exceptional advice, but also a really great support system during a difficult process. The team went above and beyond what you would expect from legal advisors and were on call at any time to help plan the next course of action. One of the most notable positives was how well they collaborated as a team. They were fully aligned and united in their approach which came across really well during the meetings with the other party. True experts at what they do and all-round great people!’

‘Shane Jury is an exceptional partner who, when dealing with counsel, is thorough, insightful, detail-orientated and always fully across the matter. In my experience, when dealing with clients, Shane has the ability to cut-through the issues and deliver commercially minded, client-centric, advice – all whilst working to very tight deadlines. Shane is very effective when it comes to staffing his matters – always able to pick out the appropriate balance of personnel.’

‘AG provides fantastic technical dispute resolution advice across a wide spectrum of areas. Their advice is always practical and clear but covers all technical aspects. The advice is always of the highest quality and is good value for money, especially as compared to other firms in the market. ’

‘Emma Tormey is exceedingly bright and has significant experience in dealing with complex disputes with a multi-jurisdictional element.’

‘Shane’s expertise and local knowledge is second to none. To my mind, he is clearly one of the pre-eminent disputes lawyers in the UAE and is trusted by clients across the GCC and beyond. Shane is now my “go to” lawyer for any disputes in the DIFC, ADGM or onshore Dubai. Emma Tormey is another standout performer from the disputes team at Addleshaw Goddard. She is extremely knowledgeable and dedicated and always a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Emirates NBD Bank

HSBC Bank Middle East Limited


ICIC Bank Limited

Union Bank of India

Bank of Jordan Company

National Bank of Bahrain BSC

Ahli United Bank BSC

Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC

Warba Bank KSCP

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Act for ENBD and a syndicate of 9 banks in relation to the recovery of a $300m loan to KBBO CPG Investment LLC in the DIFC Courts.
  • Acting for ENBD and a syndicate of 9 international banks in the defence of a Part 8 claim in the DIFC Courts (CFI-085-2021) brought by a panel of trustees seeking recognition of parallel restructuring/ bankruptcy proceedings in the Abu Dhabi Courts.
  • Defending Standard Chartered Bank against a claim for discrimination, harassment and victimisation in the DIFC Courts brought by the bank’s ex-compliance offer.

Afridi & Angell

Afridi & Angell has an extensive track record acting in cross-border litigation, DIFC litigation and international arbitration. With established strength across the full range of sectors, the group is particularly noted for its work in banking, bankruptcy, and insolvency-related cases, as well as construction. Department lead Haider K Afridi's expertise ensures he is sought out by clients including government entities and public bodies, and he is a proficient across litigation and institutional and ad hoc arbitration proceedings. Chatura Randeniya is well regarded for her knowledge of shipping and maritime law. Recently promoted partner Mevan Bandara has a considerable cross-border focus and senior associate Sulakshana Senanayake has handled employment cases of a significant calibre. Senior associate Nazim Hashim is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Haider K Afridi

Other key lawyers:

Chatura Randeniya; Mevan Bandara; Sulakshana Senanayake


‘The practice is well run and well-staffed. The combination makes for a uniquely attractive client proposition: complex international arbitration and litigation handled well and affordably. Clients are in safe hands.’

‘The practitioners at Afridi are meticulous, conscientious and able. There is an eagerness and agility about the Afridi & Angell legal team.’

‘Afridi are very responsive and provide advice and representation on dispute resolution in a very effective and timely manner. The flexibility they have to accommodate the client is remarkable and this in particular at partner level’

‘ Chatura Randeniya has a wealth of experience on all aspects of international dispute resolution, enforcement of judgments and arbitral awards in the UAE and maritime law. He has an analytical approach and deals very constructively with complex matters.

‘Sulakshana Senanayake is very thorough and displays a high level of knowledge in particular of procedural law. He is very accessible and engaged.’

‘Strong, fast and flexible lawyers. Their advice is always useful’

‘Afridi prove themselves strong through understanding the matter and handling it to the satisfaction of the client. In-depth knowledge of the staff, adhering to the timelines, and providing optimal solutions makes them stand apart. ’

‘Chatura Randeniya’s prompt responses, advice, in-depth knowledge of the law, regulations and practice makes him stand apart from his competitors.’

Key clients

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)

Properties Investments LLC

Dubai Investments PJSC

Al Etihad Energy Services Co.

Intercare Limited

China Railway Construction Corporation Limited


Lanka Orix Leasing Company Limited (LOLC Group)

Gulf Business Machines (GBM)

Landmark Group


Vestey Holdings

Work highlights

  • Successfully enforcing two arbitration awards with a combined value exceeding USD 200 million through the DIFC Courts.
  • Acting for three subcontractors of the multibillion-dollar Abu Dhabi Airport Midfield Terminal project, following the bankruptcy of Arabtec, the party forming the main contractor joint venture.
  • Acting for a client in the first application filed for compulsory wind up of a company in the DIFC Courts under the DIFC Insolvency Law 2019.


Akin fields ‘one of the most experienced complex commercial dispute resolution teams in the region’ with the ability to provide ‘innovative litigation strategies’. The team is frequently called upon to represent clients in complex, multifaceted cases in both the AGDM and DIFC, while also demonstrating an active international arbitration practice. Team lead Graham Lovett ‘gets the bigger picture and significant aspects of complex disputes’ and is particularly well-regarded for his work regarding shareholder, banking and finance, and fraud issues. The ‘exceptional’ Ryan Whelan is a ‘go-to person for complex disputes’, often acting on enforcement, sanctions and infrastructure-related cases. Michael Stewart has experience handling multi-jurisdictional arbitrations.

Practice head(s):

Graham Lovett

Other key lawyers:

Ryan Whelan; Michael Stewart


‘Ryan Whelan is an exceptional lawyer. He is able to understand complex technical issues easily, simplify and add value to clients.’

‘Clients particularly appreciate Graham and Ryan’s “hands on” approach and case management. Because of their considerable experience in construction disputes they are able to quickly grasp the implication of technical issues as they arise and respond accordingly.’

‘Ryan Whelan has star quality. Our company had a difficult dispute which had not been going particularly well. Ryan turned the matter around and delivered the first success on the matter in 2 years. He is the go-to person for disputes, and a trusted advisor to the business. He is absolutely relentless in pursuing the client’s interest.’

‘The Akin dispute resolution practice in Dubai distinguishes itself from the competition through a blend of having one of the most experienced complex commercial dispute resolution teams in the region, innovative litigation strategies with an unparalleled focus on the broader outcomes for clients and the finer details of matters, and a willingness to go the extra mile for clients.’

‘Graham Lovett is one of the most experienced and respected litigators in the industry. He gets the bigger picture and the significant aspects of complex disputes, and communicates that to clients very well.’

‘With Graham and Ryan, Akin is a powerhouse of litigation experience and knowledge, and a critical strategic partner. Some of the projects which Ryan, in particular, has been involved with in the past has been a driving factor in our desire to work with the firm.’

‘Ryan Wheelan is a rare gem in the legal industry. Ryan is impressively sharp, commercial and strategic, and extremely passionate about what he does (whether for the firm or on socially important legal projects). Ryan is incredibly modest and his stellar reputation, deep understanding of the law firmly places him on the platform alongside the big hitters in the region.’

‘ Graham Lovett is probably the most experienced DIFC disputes and Dubai arbitration lawyer in the business. Real strategic nous. A very canny operator, with a clear vision as to how to play his opponent’s last move. Michael Stewart is a rising star in the same field. Super bright in his assessment of any case and the best points for argument.’

Key clients

DIFC Authority

DIFC Investments

Iraq Telecom Limited


Work highlights

  • Acted for DIFC Authority/DIFC Investments on a very large claim for US$500 million brought by Hexagon, the DIFC Authority’s JV partner, who alleged that the DIFC was in breach of an obligation under the JV Agreement to develop a site in the DIFC.
  • Acting as project counsel in connection with a US$1.4 billion+ development and representing the employer in subsequent arbitration proceedings following termination of the main contractor.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird's wide-ranging practice covers the full gamut of litigation and arbitration work, with specific expertise in the energy, manufacturing and technology sectors, and strong engagement with complex fraud investigations. The group acts for a strong roster of clients including multinationals, government and public bodies - both domestic and foreign. Lucas Pitts is chiefly recognised for handling aviation, finance and fraud matters, and has a wealth of experience acting across the ADGM and DIFC courts as well as the DIAC. Senior associate Yannick Hefti provides support on international litigation, arbitration and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Lucas Pitts

Other key lawyers:

Yannick Hefti


‘Excellent team dedicated to the client’s interests.’

‘Very skilled professionals, always anticipating the client’s needs.’

Key clients

Stormharbour Securities LP

Sheikh Alesayi Will Establishment

Work highlights

  • Advising Sheikh Alesayi’s Will Establishment on high-value matter in respect of attempts by a guardian of the Will Establishment to dissipate assets in breach of fiduciary duty

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Construction and real estate disputes form the cornerstone of the practice at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, with the team also handling cases related to the aviation, defence, hospitality and energy sectors. The firm has also established itself as a key contact for a number of major Chinese developers and investors seeking advice on claims pertaining to their UAE construction claims. Team head Richard Davies acts for a mix of leading industry players, government departments, and lenders. Charles Lilley has recently been active in infrastructure project disputes across the Middle East and Africa, and also assists with forensic investigations. Senior associates Richard Dupay and Jack Ticehurst provide additional support.

Practice head(s):

Richard Davies

Other key lawyers:

Charles Lilley; Richard Dupay; Jack Ticehurst


‘BCLP took a calm and collected approach and presented a detailed advice that distilled a significant amount of information and history into easily digestible parts to enable us to take the most appropriate course of action.’

‘Richard Davies and Richard Dupay were hands-on, responsive and a pleasure to work with. A very credible team.’

‘A best in class arbitration practice that understands our market, the issues we have and the advice we require.’

Key clients

J&H Emirates LLC (J&H)

ALEC Engineering & Contracting (ALEC)

Stallion Partners

China State Construction Engineering Company

China State Construction Engineering Company – Ethiopia

China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation (Dubai Branch) (CATIC)

Jewers Doors

Majid Al Futtaim (MAF)

Zhejiang Communications

Yoma Land/Meeyahta Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation (Dubai Branch) (CATIC) as project counsel for all of its projects in the UAE.
  • Represented a HNW individual in DIFC litigation against a DIFC-registered REIT.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP bolstered its practice with the 2023 arrival of Thomas Snider, who serves as the firm's global head of arbitration, from Al Tamini & Company. Patrick Gearon handles banking, IP, and insolvency disputes, and Sara Sheffield focuses on fraud, asset tracing and recovery issues. Ghassan El Daye is often called upon to act in a range of cases regarding local civil law, international litigation, enforcement of arbitral awards, and shareholder contentions. Legal directors Peter Smith and Max Davis provide additional support.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Gearon; Ghassan El Daye; Sara Sheffield; Thomas Snider

Other key lawyers:

Peter Smith; Max Davis


‘Rapidly growing firm in Middle East disputes space, and are steadily becoming the preeminent litigation and disputes lawyers in the country. Strong mix of disputes practitioners. ’

‘Paddy Gearon has great depth and breadth of knowledge.’

‘Sarah Sheffield is a diligent and hard working lawyer with great eye for detail.’

Work highlights

  • Advising Huobi OTC DMCC, a UAE cryptocurrency trader in a claim before the Technology and Construction Division of the DIFC Court against a DIFC investment company for its alleged failure to prevent the loss of a significant amount of Bitcoin during a sale and purchase transaction.
  • Represented an individual in enforcement proceedings brought by the Dubai Financial Services Authority for failings in respect of the audit of the Abraaj Group entity, Abraaj Capital Limited (ACLD).

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Eversheds Sutherland LLP has a ‘growing prominence in the region for complex financial litigation and arbitration work’, with a prestigious list of financial service providers and banks turning to the team for complex cases. The group is also proficient in handling high-value civil and common law disputes, as well as multi-faceted construction disputes, working with government and public bodies, multinational corporates, and a range of developers, contractors and lenders. Rebecca Copley, whose experience extends to global commercial disputes, local civil and criminal court cases, and institutional arbitrations, heads the team. Nasser Ali Khasawneh leverages his considerable TMT knowledge to focus on disputes pertaining to IP and media rights and Shalagh Massingham is noted for the full range of construction and real estate disputes. Legal director Roberta Wertman and senior associate Shibani Kapur are other names to note. Daniel Xu was a new arrival in late 2023 from King & Wood Mallesons.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Copley

Other key lawyers:

Nasser Ali Khasawneh; Paul Taylor; Shalagh Massingham; Robert Wertman; Daniel Xu


‘Eversheds has a growing prominence in the region for complex financial litigation and arbitration work, offering coverage of onshore, DIFC and ADGM disputes. A responsive, knowledgeable and dedicated team with impressive resources across the region and internationally.’

‘Rebecca Copley is a standout practitioner with an impressive experience of litigating across the DIFC, ADGM and onshore courts. A calm head and strong strategic focus even in the most difficult of litigation.’

‘Roberta Wertman is energetic and creative, and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Philip Morris International Management S.A.

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC

Arab Bank PLC

Work highlights

  • Representing Dubai Islamic in various proceedings arising out the NMCH Administration.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP advises on high-profile, complex, and precedent-setting disputes with the ‘underlying experience and ability to gain the competitive advantage and win cases’. The group’s construction, engineering and real estate expertise ensures it is sought out by numerous corporates and governmental bodies, but the team is also active in TMT, consumer, leisure and retail, and financial and professional services work. One of the ‘sharpest, smartest, and most innovative litigators around’, Stuart Paterson co-leads the practice alongside construction specialist Nick Oury, with both individuals wielding an impressive international reach. Of counsel Sean Whitham, senior associate Janine Mallis, and of counsel Benjamin Hopps are also key names to note.


Practice head(s):

Stuart Paterson; Nick Oury

Other key lawyers:

Sean Whitham; Benjamin Hopps; Janine Mallis


‘Stuart Paterson is so down to earth and very approachable. He thinks outside the box.’

‘HSF is a leading law firm in the Middle East region and for good reason. They have built an international practice that understands local regional laws and nuances involved in litigating and investigating. Their team in Dubai is highly responsive, intelligent, diligent and fun to work with.’

‘Stuart Paterson is not only the managing partner for HSF in the Middle East but also one of the sharpest, smartest, and most innovative litigators around. He has built a strong team that addresses clients needs and guides them through troubled waters.’

‘Janine Mallis is a senior associate at HSF and one of the most diligent lawyers around. She understands local law as well as cross-border jurisdictional nuances. She is always available and her attention to detail is second to none.’

‘HSF’s global reputation as a disputes firm is very much apparent in their Middle East team. They have the underlying experience and ability to gain the competitive advantage and win cases, but always with effectiveness and resolving disputes efficiently.’

‘Nick Oury has become a prominent name in the market in recent years. He is very personable, responsive and reliable.’

‘Stuart Paterson is peerless in the skill with which he brings to both arbitration and DIFC litigation. He is ably assisted by Benjamin Hopps, who quietly gets on with whatever is required to achieve the best outcome for his client.’

Key clients

A Ghurair Investment



Ernst & Young

Sumitomo Corporation

Tihama Power Generation Company Ltd

Jones Day

Jones Day‘s team covers a wide spectrum of high-stakes litigation and arbitration proceedings, with strong work in construction, infrastructure, energy, life sciences and the financial services sectors. The group has a strong track record before the DIFC and has also been involved in a number of consequential investigations – an area which is a real strength for team head Sheila Shadmand. Pierre Heitzmann is chiefly recognised for his skill in global arbitration and has been active in a number of large-scale energy and construction cases across the Middle East and of counsel Heather Martin is primarily focused on litigation and regulatory issues. Philip Devenish is a key figure for a number of financial institutions and financial services providers, and ably handles politically sensitive disputes.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Shadmand

Other key lawyers:

Pierre Heitzmann; Heather Martin; Philip Devenish; Jodie Martyndale-Howard


‘Boutique in size in this market, but with very strong senior disputes and investigations professionals. Market-focused, creative, and world class experience.’

‘Phil Devenish is a clever, accomplished, strategic, and pragmatic, and a genuine expert in his field.’

‘The Disputes team is exceptionally available and engaged.’

‘Sheila Shadmand is one of, if not the, best attorneys I’ve worked with in the Middle East. She is very knowledgeable, level-headed, and engaged. ’

‘The team has extensive experience and works efficiently to deliver excellent results. They are proactive and offer various strategies to achieve the most advantageous outcome for their clients. Additionally, they have an extensive network and strong relationships with individuals who can provide support for cases related to their areas of expertise.’

‘Pierre Heitzmann, has contributed immensely to the case and helped us secure a winning position. Pierre has an extensive personal network of individuals with expertise in different disciplines, which enables him to get effective consultations when needed.’

‘Jodie Martyndale-Howard is an enthusiastic and hard-working associate.’

Key clients


MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc.

Windoor AS

Mr. Abed El Jaouni

Gold Pool JV Ltd.

KBH Limited

KBH Limited hired experienced UK barrister Simon Perhar to act as a senior counsel in the firm’s Dubai office to further bolster the team’s capabilities, with Perhar well-positioned to advise on a full range of issues. DK Singh is primarily focused on banking and financial services litigation and Bushra Ahmed is an esteemed arbitrator. The team represents large-scale corporations and high-net-worth individuals in sensitive and multi-faceted cases that require engagement with dispute centres including the LCIA and ICC, as well as before foreign courts.

Practice head(s):

DK Singh; Bushra Ahmed

Other key lawyers:

Simon Perhard; Helen Dent


‘DK Singh is a superb legal tactician who never loses sight of the wood for the trees. Always knows precisely where he’s going in any proceedings.’

‘The partners are very hands on and involved in the litigation process. There is a strong collaborative approach between solicitors and counsel which is very helpful from counsel’s perspective. The team are sharp, commercially focused and have a good relationship with clients.’

‘Bushra Ahmed and DK Singh are excellent team players and have an intimate knowledge of the jurisdiction. They are exceptional strategists and have extensive experience of litigation.

‘The team has been strengthened with the recent additions of Simon Perhar and Helen Dent. The firm is going from strength to strength.’

‘KBH is a truly unique legal practice, offering an exceptional blend of legal expertise, innovative solutions, and a strategic vision that sets it apart from other firms. it has a track record of remarkable successes in complex cases. KBH’s unwavering dedication to client-centricity and professional growth makes it a top choice for referrals and clients seeking excellence and success.’

‘Bushra Ahmed is a seasoned litigator known for her strategic vision and in-depth understanding of complex legal matters. Her leadership has been pivotal in securing significant victories.’

‘Simon Perhar, a senior Barrister from the UK, has strengthened their capabilities with his vast experience in banking, insolvency, and shareholder disputes. His strategic insights and international perspective will be invaluable.’

‘They have an ability to see the issues, mull it and then come up with the right strategy to help in the situation.’

Key clients

Sanjeev Sawhney and Alka Sawhney

Parag Gupta, Rajender Makhijani and Devika Makhijani

ARJ Holding Limited (ARJ) and Mohammad Ahmad Ramadhan Juma

MARJ Limited (MARJ) and Mohammad Ahmad Ramadhan Juma

Tabarak Investment Capital Limited (Tabarak)

Robert Jones

Paramjit Kahlon

Work highlights

  • Represented Tabarak in the first cryptocurrency case in the Technology and Construction Division of the DIFC Courts. The claim related to the transfer and storage of bitcoins and the DIFC Courts determined (in line with other common law jurisdictions) that Bitcoins are (tangible) property.
  • Represented Robert Jones in the first case before the DIFC Courts to consider the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction to grant free-standing freezing injunctions, in circumstances where there are ongoing proceedings in the Dubai Courts.
  • Represented Paramjit Kahlon in a contractual claim concerning the termination of his employment with the Liberty Steel Group.

Reed Smith

Reed Smith's disputes team is 'extremely knowledgeable with wide experience and expertise' and handles a consistent stream of complex disputes. The group is well regarded for its track record in shareholder disputes, post-M&A and real estate disputes, as well as contentious insolvency mandates, with an extensive international reach. Antonia Birt, who has a focus on commercial disputes, and Waseem Khokhar, who has a strong practice handling insolvency and restructuring cases and regulatory investigations, co-head the team. James Willn's 'knowledge of the local market and laws is exceptional'; he combines leading work in arbitration with asset tracing and recovery litigation work and Michelle Nelson is a go-to for energy and infrastructure disputes - an area that Sachin Kerur is also active in alongside fraud, insurance and shareholder disputes.

Practice head(s):

Antonia Birt; Waseem Khokhar

Other key lawyers:

James Willn; Michelle Nelson; Sachin Kerur


‘Their genuine and authentic focus is greatly appreciated by clients, as well as the long-term strategy to understand and accompany a client and the client’s in-house legal department as a partner. The firm provides efficient and practical advice based on a deep understanding of the client, the client’s industry, structure and staff ’

‘The legal team handling the case demonstrated a high level of experience and provided invaluable support by outlining the specific tasks I needed to contribute. Their managing partner. Mr. Sachin Kerur was actively engaged in discussions, offering a well-defined strategy to protect the client’s interests.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable, with wide experience and expertise, coupled with a practical and commercial approach.’

Stephenson Harwood Middle East LLP

Stephenson Harwood Middle East LLP fields a sizeable team of experienced partners on the ground in Dubai that provide an ‘effective and efficient service’. Clients include international and domestic corporates, state-owned entities, and governmental institutions, and it is particularly strong in financial services, energy and tech disputes. Practice head Rania Tadros is well regarded for complex and high-value cases, especially for maritime and construction clients, and Mark Lakin specialises in sensitive cases with fraud and sanctions elements, with clients praising him for his ‘excellent knowledge of the market and considerable experience of shipping and commodities disputes’. Saif Almobideen lends expertise to a number of cross-border cases, and is another key maritime advisor. Managing associate Magda Kofluk provides additional support. Mohamed El Hawawy, Khurram Ali, Mehtab Kassam and Mahmoud El Sayed joined the firm in March 2024 from Ince & Co. John Lewis was a new arrival in March 2024 from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP; he heads the firm's Middle East general commercial litigation and international arbitration practice. Nick Sharratt left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Rania Tadros; John Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Mark Lakin; Saif Almobideen; Magda Kofluk; Sam Martin; Mohamed El Hawawy; Mehtab Kassam; Mahmoud El Sayed; Khurram Ali


‘The team is competent. Providing the expected legal advice in a timely fashion. Mark provided us with great support in several cases, and they give us also out of the box solutions.’

‘Highly professional with vast pool of resources, makes them unique which is quite comforting.’

‘Experience working with Saif Almobideen and his associates was very good. His helping nature, positive attitude and pleasing personality greatly assisted in decision making and problem solving.’

‘Great diverse team to work with.’

‘Magda Kofluk & Sam Martin are great to work with and full of energy. ’

‘The team is approachable, rightly prides itself on excellent client care and provides an effective and efficient service.’

‘Mark is an absolute pleasure to work with. He is a shrewd litigator with excellent knowledge of the market and considerable experience of shipping and commodities disputes.’

Key clients

Samsung SDS ME & Africa

ICICI Bank Limited

TA Private Capital Limited

Primal Capital and Housing Finance Limited

MOG Holding Limited

Sahara Energy Resource Ltd

Grant Thornton

Cancrie Investments

SPL Guernsey ICC Limited

Aggregates Manufacturing Trading

Svitzer Salvage BV.

Work highlights

  • Representing a provider of testing, inspection and certification services in bringing criminal proceedings against a company and the individual representing the company, among others as a result of a cybercrime incident in which the client lost the amount of US$5,000,000.
  • Acting for the main contractor in a construction dispute against the employer, which has arisen under a turnkey EPC contract.
  • Representing ICICI Bank Limited in relation to its claim against Mr Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty.


‘An experienced team for dispute resolution in the middle east’, AMERELLER handles a range of disputes, including shareholder and services disputes, ancillary litigation and enforcement of awards, and construction and employment contractual contentions - among others. Alexander Lutgendorf heads the practice and also serves as an arbitrator. Christopher Gunson is routinely called upon by North American and Japanese multinational corporates, and is skilled in handling white-collar criminal law procedures and Jonathan Noble is frequently engaged by hospitality, tech and energy clients. Senior associate Baika Altymukhamedov provides additiona support.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Lütgendorf

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Gunson; Jonathan Noble; Baika Altymukhamedov


‘An experienced team for dispute resolution in the Middle East.’

‘Good experience with Alexander Lütgendorf as arbitrator. Experienced and reliable.’

‘Alexander is a thoughtful and articulate arbitrator. I would happily work with him again.’

‘What sets apart Amereller from its rivals is the assistance, professionalism, and excellent counsel it provides in a way that strengthens the bond with the clients. Both on an individual and organizational level, our firm has benefited much from their confidence and outstanding legal competence during the several ordeals we are dealing with together.’

‘Jonathan Noble is an excellent lawyer, with high professionalism and attention to detail when it comes to the work provided for. We are always supporting one another, not just by referral of work, but from a business development perspective as well. He is extremely reliable and to the point when it comes to the knowledge and insight that he shares.’

‘Alexander Lutgendorf is great. He has been in the UAE for a long time, knows the market and local issues inside and out, and always has practical solutions.’

Key clients

thyssenkrupp Materials Trading


Fabtech International Group


Baker McKenzie LLP

Baker McKenzie LLP hired Luka Kristovic-Blazevic from White & Case LLP in October 2022 as head of the practice; he is a proficient arbitrator with a strong focus on international construction disputes. The group is well regarded for its work in the energy and infrastructure, media and technology, and pharmaceuticals and life sciences sectors. Senior associate Taisiya Vorotilova and associate Marlize Dumas provide a crucial supporting presence to a range of cases. Andrew McKenzie left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Luka Kristovic-Blazevic

Other key lawyers:

Taisiya Vorotilova; Marlize Dumas


‘I have experience with working with the head of the team, Luka Kristovic Blazevic. He is commercially minded, client centric, has a long history in construction and commercial arbitration.’

‘Luka is extremely responsive, commercially minded and takes his clients’ matters to his heart.’

Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP

Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP has significantly bolstered its dispute resolution offering through the hire of King & Spalding LLP duo Randall Walker and Patrick McPherson in December 2022 and January 2023 respectively. Together, they sit as joint practice heads and serve a regional and global client roster in both onshore and offshore court cases as well as in a variety of international arbitration centres. Walker is well versed in banking and finance, shareholder, asset recovery and joint venture disputes, and McPherson is well regarded for his construction, infrastructure and energy specialisms.

Practice head(s):

Randall Walker; Patrick McPherson


‘The team is amazing, especially Randall Walker. He is quite experienced in advising on the disputes and has advised to the fullest extent possible. The best part is his approach, which is at client’s discretion, meaning thereby one can enjoy both business-oriented approach for settlements and minute details discussion for trials.’

‘Randall Walker is an experienced disputes lawyer with a detailed knowledge of the energy sector. He provides clear legal advice but is also commercial in his approach.’

‘Excellent team, led by Patrick McPherson. Great support provided by the whole team. ’

Key clients

The Fatima Group

PakArab Fertilisers Ltd

MidWest Fertilisers Ltd

Brooge Petroleum and Gas Investment Company FZE

Willis Towers Watson

Work highlights

  • Acting for Watson Towers Willis and related Willis entities in claims brought against them by Al Futtaim.

K&L Gates

K&L Gates is able to leverage expertise from the firm's offices across Europe, US and Asia to handle complex and multi-faceted cases. The group receives a considerable number of instructions from clients interested in ADR, including mediation, as well as acting in onshore courts as part of major litigation matters. Jonathan Sutcliffe 'brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to bear' on a range of disputes, specialising in the energy and infrastructure, construction, real estate, and hospitality sectors and Nazanin Aleyaseen is the key figure for arbitration in the group. Jennifer Paterson has been kept busy handling commercial contracts and employment disputes; she has a wealth of experience in both local and international arbitration and litigation proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Sutcliffe; Nazanin Aleyaseen

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Paterson


‘Jennifer Patterson is a superb at analysing a legal problem and coming up with the solutions a client needs.’

‘Jennifer Paterson and Jonathan Sutcliffe: impressive lawyers with a real eye for detail and knowledge of both the industry in the construction sector in the UAE and wider region but also of the law of the UAE and other gulf states that impact the industry. The 2 partners and their teams are adept at managing large client and expert teams covering large numbers of technical issues, making them understandable and persuasive for arbitration tribunals.’

‘K&L Gates became a part of our team. They have an excellent client-centric approach, K&L Gates prioritized understanding our unique needs, goals, and challenges and tailored their legal strategies accordingly.’

‘Jonathan Sutcliffe is an exceptional expert in the dispute field. His unwavering commitment to client success was also impressive. I have consistently valued his dedication, creativity, and strong communication skills in achieving outstanding results for our project. ’

‘This is an excellent arbitration practice. Highly collegiate, very well integrated, and hence exceptionally effective in the delivery of complex arbitrations. ’

‘The K&L Gates Dubai team gives advice that is practical and on time, which is key for our business. They get on top of the material quickly. They are very professional, efficient, approachable and knowledgeable. I have been impressed by the resources the firm can bring to bear quickly when needed from its global network of offices. From the outside, the firm seems to have a genuinely collaborative culture.’

‘Jonathan Sutcliffe has been in the UAE a long time, and brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to bear as a result. He is highly intelligent, a technically excellent lawyer and a very good strategist. His advice is also practical, and business oriented, which is important. He is calm and unflappable, even in pressured situations. He is approachable and easy to work with.’

‘The team members’ roles are seamlessly coordinated, ensuring that the final advice is meticulously crafted by considering various legal perspectives. This approach provides a well-rounded and pragmatic view of the matter under consideration, combining technical expertise with practical insights.’


Respected for its counsel in both complex court cases and arbitration-related disputes, Kennedys is active in a range of sectors - including construction, energy, finance and insurance - for a wide array of clients. Managing partner of the Dubai office Peter Ellingham is an insurance expert and is routinely sought out to act on cases in this space; he heads the practice with Celine Abi Habib Kanakri, who is singled out for her experience in complex disputes before ICC, DIFC, and the DIAC. Rishi Sengupta and Khalil Mechantaf  have also been highly active and have wide sector expertise. Bill Evans and Victoria Clucas left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Peter Ellingham; Celine Abi Habib Kanakri

Other key lawyers:

Rishi Sengupta; Khalil Mechantaf


‘Peter Ellingham has a wealth of experience on which to draw and has excellent judgement as to the points which will resonate with arbitral tribunals.’

‘Rishi Sengupta has a brain the size of a planet and an encyclopedic knowledge of the insurance market.’

‘Peter Ellingham is a well respected practitioner within the region, providing well balanced advice based upon his extensive experience.’

Key clients

ExecuJet Middle East MRO Services FZCO

Global Aerospace Underwriting Managers Limited

AXA XL Insurance Company SE

Swiss Re International SE

Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality SE

Staff International (Europe) Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully advised the insurers who were responding to a USD 60 million claim.
  • Representing an international insurance broker, Global Aerospace, defending a professional negligence claim brought against it in the DIFC Courts by a group of retail companies.
  • Representing a leading regional health insurer in two proceedings brought before ADGM Courts and Dubai Courts respectively.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP leverages its considerable international network to handle multi-jurisdictional disputes, with a specialism in financial services, energy and construction cases. Professional negligence and fraud issues are other key components of the firm's work, and its strong bench of practitioners have a wealth of experience across domestic and international court systems. Ben Williams handles a range of cases for international energy companies and financial institutions. Associate Kateryna Frolova is also highly active, and has considerable experience acting in disputes involving governments and public bodies. Adam Gray relocated to Dubai from the firm's Austin office.

Other key lawyers:

Ben Williams; Kateryna Frolova; Adam Gray

Key clients

Hexagon Holdings (Cayman) Limited

Western Union


International AirFinance Corporation


Abdullah Mubarak Al Suwaiket & Sons

Sanitek S.a.r.l.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Hexagon in a multi-billion AED claim against the Dubai International Finance Centre (the “DIFC”) for breaches of a joint venture agreement concerning a building development project within the DIFC.
  • Acted for the claimants in a London Commercial Court case, Various Airfinance Leasing Companies v Saudi Arabian Airlines, a matter regarding the non-payment of circa half a billion US Dollars in respect of rental payments by Saudi Arabian Airline Corporation (“Saudia”) due to the claimants under the terms of fifty lease agreements.
  • Acted for Bateel in UAE and US court proceedings relating to a dispute involving franchises in Michigan and Texas.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown is well-positioned to act in high-value, large-scale oil and gas disputes, acting for a premium range of clients that include governments and state entities. Arbitration is another key strength of the practice, with the group able to handle investment treaty arbitration proceedings in the region, with group lead Alain Farhad especially well regarded in this space. Counsel Patricia Ugalde Revilla handles commercial, construction, energy and engineering disputes and senior associate Gerard Moore is predominantly noted for his strong work in construction cases. Raid Abu-Manneh and Dany Khayat support the UAE offering from the firm's London and Paris offices, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Alain Farhad

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Ugalde Revilla; Gerard Moore; Dany Khayat; Raid Abu-Manneh

MRP Advisory LLC

A ‘rising player in the arbitration and international litigation market in the Middle East’, MRP Advisory LLC is regularly instructed on multi-faceted construction, infrastructure and engineering disputes by clients operating across the globe. Rishabh Jogani standouts for his international litigation expertise and is noted for his engagement with shareholder and IP-related claims. Adarsh Ramakrishnan and Kanika Arora, who was a recent arrival from Advani & Co. in July 2o23, act on arbitrations that concern energy and infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

Rishabh Jogani; Adarsh Ramakrishnan; Kanika Arora


‘MRP Advisory are rising players in the arbitration and international litigation market in the Middle East. They have been involved in some very high profile disputes, in particular within the construction and energy sector.’

‘They have had significant successes against some established law firms in this area.’

‘Rishabh Jogani and Misbah Fazalbhoy are the stand out individuals for this firm. They knowledge of the market and their experience of efficiently guiding serious disputes from the start to conclusion is excellent.’

Work highlights

  • Represented Modern Executive Systems Contracting LLC  before the Court of Appeal of the DIFC in a dispute arising from a contract between the parties for the construction and completion of a residential tower, located in Al Furjan, Dubai.

OGH Legal

A team that consistently ‘thinks outside the box and is solutions driven’, OGH Legal has ‘established a name for themselves as a go to firm’ in the region and utilises local law and regional knowledge to act for clients in the local UAE courts as well co-counsel in the offshore courts. Mohamed ElGhatit, who is recognised for his strong track record on finance-related disputes, particularly tax and bankruptcy proceedings, and Sherif Hikal, who handles construction and engineering cases, jointly head the practice. Suzanne Abdullah takes the lead on a number of matters and is frequently sought out for her IP expertise.

Practice head(s):

Mohamed ElGhatit; Sherif Hikal

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Abdullah


‘They are very communicative and responsive. They are always at our disposal, even for unrelated smaller questions. ’

‘They think outside the box and are solutions driven. They have really established a name for themselves as a go to firm for international law firms with international clients. They are also very strong on FS sector work. They are accessible, solutions driven and always seeking to work collaboratively. Their reputation is rightly growing significantly.’

‘Mohamed Elghatit deserves exceptional praise. His enthusiasm, commitment, can do and solutions driven approach sets him apart from other civil lawyers in the region. He’s always on your side and delivers solutions in very challenging turnaround times.’

Key clients

DP Masters Manufacturing Co.

SKAT Danish Tax Authority

Alec Engineering and Contracting

Dubai Holding

Davidson Kempner

Siemens Process Systems Engineering

Burlington Loan Management DAC

Regera S.à.r.l

Finsbury Associates

Asia Royal

Meeras Holding



Aldar Properties


Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of a European Government Authority in claims being pursued in the UAE and 5 other jurisdictions globally.
  • Representing Burlington Loan Management DAC in bankruptcy proceedings before RAK Court.
  • Acting for the leader of a syndicated loan of a total in excess of US$1 billion, in its claims against the borrower currently in the midst of restructuring proceedings.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs‘ work in the disputes area spans litigation, arbitration, mediation, advocacy and risk and crisis management, and the group is particularly active in the construction and real estate space. Construction disputes specialist Thomas Wilson, who acts for contractors, manufacturers, and public and private companies on project and management disputes, heads the practice. Ravinder Bhullar is routinely instructed by energy and infrastructure clients for his arbitration expertise. Senior associate Sam Song has an impressive portfolio of work that includes white-collar criminal law, regulatory enforcement and money laundering issues.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Ravinder Bhullar; Sam Song


‘Proactive and personable team that acts quickly on urgent complex tasks.’

‘The team understands the commercial ramifications of their advice on the client’s business.’

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Vinson & Elkins LLP's disputes team handles engineering and construction matters before a range of courts. Global department head James Loftis, who divides his time between Houston and Dubai, handles a range of commercial and investor-state disputes. Nabeel Ikram, who has 'a depth of technical and local knowledge', is an accomplished arbitrator with experience of international and domestic forums, and also has a strong portfolio of court cases. Counsel Robert Reyes Landicho, who also splits his team between Houston and the UAE, is chiefly recognised for his energy and infrastructure disputes work.

Practice head(s):

James Loftis

Other key lawyers:

Nabeel Ikram; Robert Reyes Landicho


‘The lawyers in this firm have good communication skills, ability to give reasonable logical conclusions, analytical skills, and are creative. ’

‘Nabeel Ikram possesses a great intellect, is tactically shrewd, conscientious, creative, and has a depth of technical and local knowledge. I think his greatest strengths are his strategic mind and ability to present clear and unwavering advice.’

Key clients

Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq

Basrah Oil Company

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams has expertise across a range of cases. Transport and energy disputes form the cornerstone of the practice, while the team has also seen an uptick in tech-related cases that include data and cybercrime issues. Charlotte Bijlani is 'a lawyer who gets work done on time but with high quality' and is particularly renowned for her international arbitration work. Soraya Corm-Bakhos has been kept busy handling energy and transport disputes and Thomas Whitfield has been highly active in aviation cases.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Bijlani

Other key lawyers:

Soraya Corm-Bakhos; Thomas Whitfield


‘Charlotte Biljani & Thomas Whitfield provide excellent advice and responsive service’

‘This law firm provides decent quality of legal services in a timely manner reflecting their profound knowledge and experiences. Further, they are trying to be more flexible to meet client`s needs. ’

‘Charlotte Bijlani is a lawyer who gets work done on time but with high quality. In addition, she’s flexible as to meet client`s needs. ’

‘Watson Farley Williams boasts a highly exceptional dispute resolution team that is clearly very well versed in its expertise. The firm clearly invests heavily in its talent at the senior leadership level, which shines through their legal capabilities in the services they provide.’

‘ The team has extensive legal knowledge and are very well experienced and demonstrated that expertise throughout the case. Our case was handled very professionally by all means. Each step was thoroughly planned and explained to us at each stage. The teams tactical skills were very well demonstrated, they were able to draw reasonable, logical plans and conclusions and legal strategies that support our position.’

‘The team has a great deal of experience and were very dedicated, committed and responsive at all stages. One of their strengths is strategic thinking, building the case and planning ahead to resolve the case in our best interest.’

‘The WFW team have worked well with our team to understand the commercial issues around the cases they handled for us. They brought fresh insights for us, and of course, detailed technical input as it related to the jurisdictions we were enforcing in. Overall, very professional, approachable, and clear advice we could action.’

‘Charlotte Bijlani has provided excellent support to us during our case. Charlotte is supported by an excellent team, and has given excellent guidance supporting me. I take the technical excellence as read, I really value the clear way that technical advice is made actionable for the business.’

Key clients

Chinese State Construction

GASL Leasing Ireland No. 2 Limited (Genesis)

Gulf Wings


Sahara International Petrochemical Company (SIPCHEM)

Siraj Power Holding Limited

Société Générale

Yanbu Cement Company

Fortescue Future Industries Middle East Management Limited

National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Gulf Wings FZE in its claim against A&K Trading Limited before the DIFC Court of Appeal, securing a favourable judgement for the client.
  • Advised Yanbu Cement Company in a successful arbitration in relation to a challenge made to an LCIA Award in Yanbu’s favour.
  • Advised the lessor of an Airbus 319-100 commercial aircraft operated by a Russian airline/lessee in DIFC Court, English High Court and LCIA proceedings and successfully repossessed the aircraft following the imposition of Russian sanctions.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP is frequently sought out by large corporations and government entities active in a variety of sectors to assist with international arbitration and litigation and is particularly strong in the construction disputes space. Practice head Michael Turrini has an extensive cross-border practice that sees him active in disputes across the region, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as further afield in Europe, Asia and China. Aimy Roshan is adept at handling complex commercial and construction contract disputes and Karim Mariey has bolstered the practice since relocating from the firm's London office in March 2023.


Practice head(s):

Michael Turrini

Other key lawyers:

Aimy Roshan; Karim Mariey; Ibaad Hakim


‘Well-established team with a strong brand.’

‘Michael Turrini is great with clients and very commercial. He’s a very pragmatic and experienced arbitration lawyer.’

‘W&C is a solid well experienced team when it comes to construction disputes. The team works hard, checks every detail you provide them with, they perform a deep review of every single document provided to them, fill in all the gaps.’

‘Ibaad Hakim and Michael Turini continue to amaze me with their profound experience in this business.’

‘A very experienced team of dispute specialists.’ 

‘Michael Turrini has exceptional knowledge of the industry.’