Firms To Watch: Dispute resolution: arbitration and international litigation

Conselis Law was established in early 2022 and focuses on disputes and investigations. Raza Mithani is the key name.
Talal Al Qaisi and Charles Ingmire are the practice heads at Fatma Al Mutawa Advocates and Legal Consultants. The group's caseload includes disputes relating to construction, sport and real estate.
Ruthberg LLC acts for clients in the UAE and globally, and its caseload includes disputes relating to financial transactions, insurance-backed lending, professional negligence and regulation, among others. Leonard Scudder  and Tom Keya are the key names.
SOL International Ltd was established in 2018 by Sarah Malik, who is an associate member of 36 Stone. The team handles commercial litigation (including shareholder and partnership disputes), international commercial arbitration and mediation.

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

Al Tamimi & Company‘s clients include financial institutions, domestic and foreign corporate and government and semi-government entities, and the firm is particularly notable for its DIFC practice. Practice head Rita Jaballah  is well regarded for litigation and regulatory proceedings with a nexus to banking and finance. Senior counsel Peter Woods acts for clients in a range of industries, including financial services, insurance and reinsurance, construction and real estate. Essam Al Tamimi  is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Rita Jaballah

Other key lawyers:

Peter Woods; Essam Al Tamimi; David Holloway

Allen & Overy LLP

Key areas of focus for Allen & Overy LLP include major infrastructure and construction disputes, commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration. Yacine Francis specialises in international arbitration, particularly in relation to joint venture and shareholder disputes. For construction disputes, Kirsten O’Connell is the firm's main point of contact. Senior associate Arash Koozehkanani is also noted and has experience advising on commercial litigation and international arbitration proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Yacine Francis; Kirsten O’Connell

Other key lawyers:

Arash Koozehkanani; Edward McCullagh


‘The team understands the client’s requirements and can deliver a satisfactory outcome.’


Key clients


Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has a sizeable disputes and arbitration practice and specialises in representing clients in the insurance, shipping, construction and technology sectors. Mark Beswetherick heads the dispute resolution group and specialises in professional liability defence. The Middle East arbitration group is led by Nassif BouMalhab, who focuses on shareholder and real estate disputes, as well as financial crimes. Susie Abdel-Nabi is ‘exceptional‘ and has a similar practice, as well as covering disputes involving the energy and hospitality sectors. Richard Bell heads the firm’s Abu Dhabi dispute resolution offering. Other key names to note include Keith Hutchison and Alexandra Lester. Since publication, John Lewis left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Mark Beswetherick

Other key lawyers:

Keith Hutchison; Susie Abdel-Nabi; Nassif Boumalhab; Richard Bell; Alexandra Lester


‘Extremely good lawyers and very easy to deal with. Very effective at resolving disputes and always a great result. Brilliant in negotiations.’

‘Clyde’s litigation team is of very high quality. Their advice is always on point, realistic, and is creative in approaching complex matters.’

‘Susie Abdel Nabi, the litigation partner, is exceptional and a pleasure to work with in relation to complex litigation and dispute matters. Her advice is always actionable, comprehensible, and consistently correct.

‘Clyde & Co have a full service offering in the UAE to assist with the entire range of legal issues we face; they have specialists in each area, ensuring that our matters are handled by the most appropriate teams.’

‘They have demonstrated their ability to offer a quality service and be flexible in their pricing structure / billing, in particular on the disputes side.’

‘The team at Clyde & Co has great advocacy skills. They have extensive capabilities to deal with our matters and are well-positioned to handle complex matters.’

‘The team has extensive knowledge and experience which is valuable to support our litigation strategy.’

Clyde & Co has a strong knowledge and understanding of GCC law and how it is applied in practice. With offices in both UAE and KSA they were able to manage the jurisdiction issues comfortably.’

Key clients

Larmag Holding BV

Work highlights

  • Acted for Larmag Holding BV in a DIFC court case for the recovery of EUR70m bonds transferred to a buyer in onshore Abu Dhabi as a result of an alleged fraud, as well as damages and interest.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has an 'excellent' litigation offering which is led by international arbitration specialist Henry Quinlan. Adam Vause co-chairs the firm's global investigations group and advises clients on fraud, asset tracing and compliance matters. Suzannah Newboult and Daniel Jude are key points of contact for construction-related disputes. Wissam Dagher and senior associate Ahmed Hammadi are also recommended by clients and are 'enthusiastic and dynamic lawyers' with expertise in cross-border disputes including onshore and offshore litigation. Andrew Mackenzie was a new arrival in February 2022.

Practice head(s):

Henry Quinlan

Other key lawyers:

Wissam Dagher; Ramsey Jurdi; Adam Vause; Suzannah Newboult; Daniel Jude; Ahmed Hammadi


‘Excellent litigation team, both for civil cases and criminal cases in Dubai. They provide sound advice on the litigation strategy and deliver excellent results.’

‘Wissam Dagher and Ahmed Hammadi are enthusiastic and dynamic lawyers with a solid knowledge of the court system in UAE and a capacity to handle multiple cases. They also keep us abreast of the progress of the case on a regular basis, with regular complete reporting and follow up.’

Key clients

ETI Specialized Finance Company LLC

Ecobank Nigeria Limited


Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons represents a range of government entities, high-net-worth individuals, shareholders, and corporates, in commercial arbitration and litigation. Tim Taylor QC heads the practice and is a 'tenacious and imaginative' litigator. Joanne Strain is 'formidable' and has extensive experience acting for clients under a wide range of arbitral institutional rules. For construction, engineering and infrastructure-related disputes, Singapore-qualified lawyer Daniel Xu is a go-to contact. Counsel Parnika Chaturvedi has a broad international commercial arbitration and disputes practice.

Practice head(s):

Tim Taylor QC

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Strain; Daniel Xu; Parnika Chaturvedi; Brendan Palmer


‘In my experience, KWM’s construction claims team is very able and competent.’

‘They stand out from other international firms in the UAE as they have managed to combine their international experience and common law knowledge, with excellent knowledge of UAE laws and practice.’

‘Joanne Strain – an exceptional construction disputes lawyer, all over the detail, totally unflappable, detailed construction knowledge, very commercial when running an arbitration’

‘Joanne Strain – a stand out partner at the firm, intelligent, formidable and extremely well prepared.’

Parnika Chaturvedi – an excellent technical lawyer, authoritative and always on top of the detail.’

‘This is an incredibly creative and energetic team, with an entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit. It also has a great breadth of experience from multiple jurisdictions, and so is an obvious choice for international clients.’

‘Tim Taylor QC is as tenacious and imaginative a litigator as there ever was, and he is supported by team of highly industrious and diligent colleagues, including Joanne Strain, who is extremely capable and totally unflappable, and Parnika Chaturvedi, who consistently shows herself to be the master of any case, document or situation put before her.’

‘Great team to work with as an expert. Know what to instruct and how to add value. Know when to take pressure off. Everyone in the team is super smart.’

Key clients


Prasanth Manghat

Former senior management of Finablr Plc

Al Rihab

Work highlights

  • Advising NEOM on drafting and reviewing a range of laws, regulations and rules, which would form the legal architecture of NEOM.
  • Representing Prasanth Manghat, former CEO of NMC Group, in proceedings commenced by ADCB in the English High Court alleging fraud against senior management and shareholders.
  • Representing one of the largest developers in the region in a dispute, valued in excess of $600m, against a publicly listed company.

Afridi & Angell

Afridi & Angell Legal Consultants has a team of 'great commercial litigators' with expertise in acting in commercial and financial litigation, as well as DIFC-specific litigation and construction-related arbitration. Practice head Haider Afridi has 'vast experience' handling disputes in the automotive, construction, real estate, and financial services sectors. Chatura Randeniya focuses on dispute resolution in the financial services and shipping space and Stuart Walker is another key name for financial services disputes. Senior associates Mevan Bandara and Sulakshana Senanayake are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Haider Afridi

Other key lawyers:

Chatura Randeniya; Stuart Walker; Mevan Bandara; Sulakshana Senanayake


‘Great commercial litigators – very switched on and very responsive to clients.’

‘Stuart Walker: excellent commercial judgement, knows which points are worth taking and how to present them attractively to the Court.’

Sulakshana Senanayake: an excellent senior associate who works exceptionally hard and is always responsive to client needs.’

‘Haider Afridi is very calm in his approach, yet sharp in understanding the nuances of the case before him. His vast experience enables him to think out of the box, yet be practical in his advise to his clients.’

‘Best combination of competence and service delivery.’

‘Both partners and associates are very responsive and open the client ideas and suggestions. Dispute ownership is very real. Proactive considerations and strategy.’

Work highlights

  • Representing on a pro-bono basis the parents of a baby born prematurely in an AED43 million medical negligence case against a Dubai-based hospital.
  • Acting for an American manufacturer of large electric vehicles in the US proceedings in obtaining a judgement from the DIFC Courts.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is a ‘trusted‘ adviser to corporate entities, financial institutions and investors, major oil companies and governments on litigation, international arbitration and investigations. James Abbott heads the firm’s dispute resolution offering in the Middle East and has extensive experience representing international banks and financial institutions in cross-border dispute resolution and arbitration proceedings. Paul Coates handles international commercial and investment treaty arbitrations, with a particular focus on disputes involving construction and oil and gas projects. Senior associate Arun Visweswaran has a similar practice and is a qualified engineer.

Practice head(s):

James Abbott

Other key lawyers:

Paul Coates; Arun Visweswaran; Bethany Lightley-Hunt


‘Clifford Chance are a trusted counsel and law firm to work with; they know how to build up a trusted relationship with their clients; and know how to give the merits and disadvantages on risks and matters in a manner that allows the client to take the informed decision.’

‘James Abbott and his team / Bethany Lightley-Hunt are very helpful and supportive. They can simplify a complicated matter in a way that is reader friendly and know how to pin-point to their client what is of risk and requires close attention.’

‘Great team with an in-depth understanding of our company’s needs.’

‘We are especially impressed with Paul Coates and Arun Visweswaran for their dedication to our matters.’

‘Excellent English law and DIFC experience, team has strong local ties and highly responsive.’

‘James Abbott – highly experienced litigator with good commercial / negotiation approach.’

Arun Visweswaran – detailed and highly responsive approach, very pro-active.’


Dentons' commercial disputes and arbitration team is led by Andrew Cheung, who has a ‘huge amount of experience and is unflappable‘. Dean Ryburn heads the firm’s construction and dispute resolution offering and has extensive experience handling disputes arising from infrastructure projects. Associate Zahra Rose Khawaja is also noted. Key changes in the team include Alastair Young's appointment as the Middle East managing partner in May 2021.

Practice head(s):

Dean Ryburn; Andrew Cheung

Other key lawyers:

Alastair Young; Zahra Rose Khawaja


‘Excellent arbitration team. They worked incredibly efficiently on a complex arbitration to make life much easier for counsel. They really know their way around DIFC arbitration and were excellent when it came to selecting arbitrators.’

‘Zahra Khawaja was incredibly organised and responsive in preparing for arbitration. Really solid disputes team.’

‘The Dentons dispute resolution team ticks all the boxes. It has fantastic strength in depth and has been involved in some of the most important and complex cases in the DIFC in recent years.’

‘Andrew Cheung is a class act. He has a huge amount of experience and is unflappable.’

Key clients

State Bank of Mauritius

Work highlights

  • Advised State Bank of Mauritius in proceedings before the DIFC Courts valued at c.$30m against Renish Petrochem FZE, Mr Hitesh Mehta, Prime Energy FZE (and previously the National Bank of Kuwait).

Gibson Dunn

At Gibson Dunn, recently promoted partner Nooree Moola focuses on international arbitration and advises clients in the oil and gas and infrastructure sectors. Shane Jury and Graham Lovett left the firm.

Other key lawyers:

Nooree Moola


‘Very engaged/knowledgeable and practical team. Good fun to work with.’

‘While they are capable of running the simpler disputes in-house, they also know how to run trench warfare litigation which requires the input of large, external teams. They are instructed in some of the biggest local and regional disputes.’

Key clients

Iraq Telecom

Dubai International Financial Centre Authority and Dubai International Financial Centre Investments

Crescent Petroleum

Dana Gas

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International has a broad disputes and arbitration practice with international expertise. The UAE dispute resolution practice is led by Habib Al Mulla, who has substantial litigation and arbitration experience. Senior legal counsel Sally Kotb focuses on construction and energy disputes. Andrew Mackenzie left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Habib Al Mulla

Other key lawyers:

Sally Kotb


‘The team is young, hungry and dynamic.’

‘They take the appropriate actions to ensure the client’s needs are met in the best way.’

‘Communication is brilliant, they have a depth to the team that other firms do not have and there is a strong sense of teamwork and respect. It is clear that clients respect the advice and authority of the team.’

‘They are the best arbitration team in the UAE. This is reflected by the clients who instruct them, the complexity of the disputes they take on and the sheer number of cases they are involved with.’

Key clients

Julius Baer

Dubai Refreshments Company



Mashreq Bank

Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA)

Majid Al Futtaim

Standard Chartered Bank

Ekar and Polymath

Work highlights

  • Representing Julius Baer in proceedings by Al Soor Investments LLC, Al Baraka Investments LLC and Sari Investments LLC for pre-action disclosure pursuant to the Rules of the DIFC Courts in anticipation of a substantive dispute concerning allegations of negligent advice with respect to their investment in a fund in Abu Dhabi.
  • Representing Ekar, Polymath and a number of other shareholders in Abu Dhabi Global Market Place (ADGM) Court proceedings concerning a drag option under a shareholder’s agreement.
  • Representing Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries & Medical Appliances Corporation (SPIMACO) in a DIFC Court case brought by AlixPartners Saudi Company Limited alleging various breaches of contract.

Hadef & Partners

Hadef & Partners' deputy managing partner Abdulrahman Juma and Salih Ahnaish co-head the dispute resolution practice; Juma is licensed to appear before both local and federal courts and handles all types of commercial and real estate disputes. Ahnaish has extensive litigation experience and predominantly represents clients in the financial services and energy sectors. Adrian Chadwick is a commercial dispute resolution specialist and his practice covers litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. Walid Azzam, Basil Siddiqi and Zarghona Fazal are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Abdulrahman Juma; Salih Ahnaish; Adrian Chadwick

Other key lawyers:

Walid Azzam; Zarghona Fazal; Richard Briggs; Basil Siddiqi; Karim Mahmoud; Mohammed Abbas


‘The lawyers we worked with on our case were very diligent and extremely professional. They were very easy to work with, prompt and generous with their time.’

‘Karim Mahmoud and Mohammed Abbas: They handled our case with absolute care and diligence dealing with a partnership dispute. They had many good ideas on how to proceed and ultimately their strategy worked perfectly and the case was settled to our absolute satisfaction – better than anything we expected when we started it.’

‘Hadef & Partners have a strong team which communicate openly with each other and agree on and set team goals based on outcomes and results, rather than just on the amount of work being done.’

‘They are able to tackle issues with a wide perspective and formulate effective problem resolution options.’

Key clients

Caterpillar Financial Services (Dubai) Limited

IDBI Bank Limited (DIFC branch)

Work highlights

  • Advised Caterpillar Financial Services (Dubai) Limited on ongoing contentious matters arising out of financing provided to construction contractors in the total amount of $20m.
  • Advised IDBI Bank Limited (DIFC branch) in relation to defaulted loan payments in the amount of $37,068,999.11, funded to a Dubai entity under UAE law.


HFW's UAE litigation practice was bolstered by the arrival of Nick Braganza from Clyde & Co LLP in January 2021. Braganza handles a wide variety of commercial disputes and has a particular focus on fraud and insolvency. Managing partner Richard Gimblett specialises in the resolution of aviation, insurance and commercial disputes. Charles Cockrell also has a strong aviation practice and advises on regulatory aspects as well. Yaman Al Hawamdeh heads the Arabic litigation and shipping practices. Sam Wakerley heads the firm's insurance and reinsurance offering.

Practice head(s):

Nick Braganza; Yaman Al Hawamdeh; Richard Gimblett

Other key lawyers:

Charles Cockrell; Sam Wakerley

Key clients

Cisco Systems International

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC

Joseph Ghossoub

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC


Alstom Transport SA

Denholm Yam

National Bank of Fujairah

Fal Oil

Work highlights

  • Represented Fal Oil Company Limited before the Sharjah Courts in a dispute with Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (“SEWA”) regarding the alleged missing payment of AED1,682,552,833, in addition to interest at a rate of 1% per annum.
  • Advising Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC in respect of a fraud that contributed to the collapse of the FTSE 100 listed NMC Health plc and the wider NMC Group of companies.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has an experienced litigation and arbitration practice with expertise representing clients in the banking, hospitality, telecoms, energy and real estate sectors. Paul Stothard heads the firm’s Middle East dispute resolution practice and has expertise in handling commercial and investment disputes. Deirdre Walker frequently represents financial institutions and major corporates in disputes involving commercial fraud. Orlando Vidal is the head of investigations and Shabnam Karim takes the lead on insurance disputes.

Practice head(s):

Paul Stothard

Other key lawyers:

Deirdre Walker; Orlando Vidal; Shabnam Karim

Key clients

Harlan Group for Civil Rights

Work highlights

  • Advising The Unfinished Business of American Democracy Committee of the Harlan Group for Civil Rights on a pro bono basis in relation to helping approximately 3.5m US citizens in Puerto Rico with the right to vote for US presidents and members of congress.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP fields 'an effective and cohesive team'. Practice head Damian Crosse is 'fantastic' and has extensive dispute resolution experience. Construction disputes are a key area of focus for the firm and Mark Raymont leads in this space. Senior associate Seema Bono specialises in international commercial dispute resolution with a focus on cyber and technology disputes. Sammy Nanneh and Nick Tolley are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Damian Crosse

Other key lawyers:

Mark Raymont; Seema Bono; Sammy Nanneh; Nick Tolley


‘Damian Crosse is fantastic – hands on and incredibly personable and knowledgeable.’

‘Seema Bono is certainly one to watch for the future, and is heading straight to the top.’

‘Sammy Nanneh and Nick Tolley are also excellent.’

‘The firm selected individuals to work on the case according to their relevant areas of expertise, resulting in a very efficient, effective and cohesive team.’

‘Seema Bono is meticulous, thorough and works extraordinarily hard for her clients.’

‘Seema Bono is engaging and endlessly polite, behind which is a razor sharp mind that deftly sifts through noise to quickly identify the facts that really matter. She really listens to the client.’

‘Meaningful engagement at the partner level, which is always appreciated. Genuine attention to the details – commercial as well as legal – and engagement with the finer aspects of the matter. General ongoing client care too (i.e. being transparent with fees, etc.).’

‘Damian Crosse pursues his clients’ interests passionately, while at the same time providing thoughtful and practical commercial advice.’

Key clients

SKAT (The Danish Customs and Tax Administration)

Infracare (part of the GEMS Education group)



FTI Consulting

China Petroleum Engineering Corporation


Work highlights

  • Representing the Danish Tax Authority on claims valued at $2bn arising out of alleged tax fraud involving defendants across several jurisdictions.
  • Advising a main contractor for refurbishment works in local court proceedings in relation to a fire that broke-out at a major luxury hotel in Dubai in late 2015.
  • Representing Infracare (part of the GEMS Education group) in DIFC Court Proceedings involving a complex counterclaim and allegations of fraud.

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts L.L.P. is frequently instructed by clients in high-value real estate, commercial and investor-state arbitration proceedings, as well as DIFC court proceedings. Practice head Philip Punwar has extensive cross-border dispute resolution experience and is supported by Dorine Farah, who is an Arabic-speaker and focuses on investment arbitration. Senior associate Dustin Appel primarily advises clients in the energy and natural resources sector.

Practice head(s):

Philip Punwar

Other key lawyers:

Dorine Farah; Dustin Appel


‘Dorine Farah is a rising star in the arbitration world. She is strategically very astute and her drafting is outstanding.’

‘Dorine Farah is the stand out performer in this practice. She takes charge of her cases, is very good at communicating with clients and thinks very creatively.’

Key clients

Samsung Engineering Co., Ltd.

Republic of Iraq

Pinsent Mason LLP/Skatteforvaltningen (SKAT – the Danish Customs and Tax Administration)

Work highlights

  • Retained by Pinsent Masons on behalf of its client SKAT, the Danish Customs & Tax Administration.
  • Represents the Republic of Iraq in ICSID Case No. ARB/20/21 in a claim brought by AHG Industry GmbH & Co. KG, invoking the provisions of various investment treaties.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

The disputes offering at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP focuses on real estate and construction-related disputes and is led by Richard Davies, who has extensive cross-border litigation expertise. Charles Lilley is a key name to note and specialises in resolving construction and engineering claims and disputes. Counsel Anna Gee has a broad construction disputes practice, as does associate Justin Jie Zhang.

Practice head(s):

Richard Davies

Other key lawyers:

Charles Lilley; Anna Gee; Justin Jie Zhang


‘Very strong construction disputes team in Abu Dhabi. Led very well by Charles Lilley.’

‘Adept at handling large matters and allowing experts to do their jobs properly.’

‘Charles Lilley – a big hitter in construction matters in the UAE.’

‘Anna Gee – very very capable disputes lawyer and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Justin Jie Zhang – bilingual, very sharp for such a young lawyer, great main contractor experience having worked for China State.’

‘Good solid bunch of lawyers. Great in depth knowledge.’

Key clients

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

ALEC Engineering & Contracting LLC (“ALEC”)

The Second Construction Co., Ltd. Of China Construction Third Engineering Bureau- Dubai Branch (CSC3 for short)

Core Engineering Consultancy L.L.C.

Al Tayer Real Estate

Blast Deflectors Inc.

Majid Al Futtaim (“MAF”)

J&H Emirates LLC

Yoma Land/Meeyahta Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Al Tayer Real Estate in a matter involving substantial delays, contested responsibility for the delays and subsequent court proceedings in relation to a mixed-use building in Garhoud, Dubai, UAE.
  • Acting for J&H in respect of its large and complex ADCCAC arbitration against the main contractor TCA JV in relation to the Midfield Terminal Building project at Abu Dhabi Airport, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  • Acting for Yoma Land/Meeyahta Developments Limited in multi-party procurement of a landmark development in central Yangon, Myanmar.

DWF Middle East LLP

DWF Middle East LLP's UAE litigation offering represents banks, global financial institutions, blue-chip US companies and global oil and gas majors. Managing partner and head of dispute resolution James Fox specialises in asset recovery, complex litigation and domestic and international arbitration. Slava Kiryushin has 'excellent industry knowledge' and is a key point of contact for disputes in the oil and gas sector.

Practice head(s):

James Fox

Other key lawyers:

Slava Kiryushin


‘It is a small but very experienced team that knows the UAE disputes market extremely well.’

‘DWF is efficient and focused and is not wasteful of client funds – they are able to present clear, accurate cost forecasts so there are no surprises.’

‘Slava Kiryushin: excellent industry knowledge (energy and construction); good advocate; very experienced in the Middle East.’

‘James Fox is super knowledgeable on all matters UAE, and displays excellent judgement in knowing and advising on which points are best pursued and which are best left. The team are creative, and adept in managing the complex jurisdictional challenges within the UAE.’

‘They know their stuff, have extensive experience, and can be relied on to get the job done.’

‘James Fox – He stands out as he is incredibly capable, responsive and pleasant to work with.’

‘James has that combination of excellent legal knowledge and analysis combined with street smarts. He is an excellent tactician. He engages in fee discussions in an open and transparent manner. Litigation can be costly and unpredictable – James has given us value for money and options.’

‘Slava Kiryushin is probably the best person that we have worked with in the recent past. He understands what we need as a business. Commercially savvy and technically great, his strategic advice is always welcome by our board of directors.’

Key clients


The Saudi British Bank

Smiths Detection

Cesfin Ventures LLC

Neoma Private Equity Fund IV (NPEF IV)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Cesfin Ventures LLC in the recognition and enforcement of over $150m in arbitral awards.
  • Acting for NPEF IV in claims totally c.$550m, including a claim against KPMG in relation to its audit work arising from the collapse of the Abraaj Group.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Eversheds Sutherland LLP has substantial experience representing clients in local UAE, DIFC and ADGM courts. Rebecca Copley heads the firm's litigation offering in the Middle East and has extensive experience representing banks and financial institutions. Managing partner Paul Taylor heads the arbitration practice and focuses on construction-related work. Shalagh Massingham also specialises in construction and is a 'ferocious litigator'. Nasser Ali Khasawneh is the go-to contact for IP and TMT-related dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Copley; Nasser Ali Khasawneh; Paul Taylor; Shalagh Massingham


‘The disputes team at Eversheds has a really good reputation in arbitration and international litigation.’

‘They absorb a huge amount of complex and high value disputes across both the commercial and construction spheres, and are able to tap into an excellent international network.’

‘The quality of the team ultimately speaks for itself: their results for clients are never less than brilliant.’

‘Of real note is Shalagh Massingham, who is simply brilliant: a ferocious litigator with excellent judgement.’

The ability to provide practical, business orientated advice.

Shalagh Massingham – Focused partner who is happy to spend time to break down complex issues and explain the basics for those not that familiar with litigation. You get the impression that you are her only case, even when you know that’s not the case.

Key clients

Philip Morris International Management S.A. (PMI)

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a broad disputes and arbitration offering with sector expertise across financial services, energy and construction. Managing partner Stuart Paterson heads the firm's Middle East dispute resolution practice and specialises in financial services disputes and corporate crime. The contentious construction practice is led by Nick Oury who has a particular focus on international arbitration and has sector expertise across renewables, oil and gas, transport and infrastructure.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Paterson

Other key lawyers:

Nick Oury


‘Expertise across the full spectrum of commercial and construction disputes in different jurisdictions.’

The team is strategically astute and can navigate any complex disputes.

They have very good strategic acumen and manage the team very effectively to get results, sometimes in very fast moving transactions.

Flexible in their proposed fee structure (e.g. fixed fee and hourly rate basis).’

All legal tasks are handled by the most competent lawyer of the firm, taking into account the cost-effective use of personnel and the importance of the matter.

They put effort into utilizing management practices that maximize the efficient use of legal services. For example, their associate/seniors associate never get assigned to clerical tasks for which they bill their fees so such tasks are assigned to paralegal/junior staff.

Key clients

Dragon Oil



Amana Middle East Holdings Limited, Buharia International Holdings Limited and SMS Holdings Limited (“ETA”)

Leighton Offshore Pte Ltd

BP Plc


Sumitomo Corporation

BAE Systems

Tihama Power Generation Company Ltd (Part of the ENGIE Group)

Work highlights

  • Advising Amana Middle East Holdings Limited, Buharia International Holdings Limited and SMS Holdings Limited on an AED800 million joint venture dispute with a prominent Emirati family.

Jones Day

Jones Day has 'extensive knowledge' of local laws and showcases strong cross-border capabilities. Sheila Shadmand heads the global disputes practice in the Middle East and has an active presence in the DIFC courts. Of counsel Pierre Heitzmann is also noted and has a particular focus on global arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Shadmand

Other key lawyers:

Pierre Heitzmann; Sean Boyce


‘Jones Day Dubai is phenomenal! I actually switched from another firm in the region. I have found that for work in the Middle East Jones Day is incomparable.’

‘Like many GCs the work we need accomplished is complex and Jones Day is able to do a deep dive and recommend practical business solutions.’

‘I appreciate their extensive knowledge of the region’s legal standards and procedures and dispute resolution practices.’ ‘

I have found the working collaboration to be very satisfying and productive.’

‘Excellent attorneys and teamwork!’

‘In particular I unreservedly recommend Sheila Shadmand. Her expertise and intelligence is invaluable and she somehow also manages to keep very focused and calm throughout all of our discussions while addressing key considerations and adding important and relevant ideas. She is remarkable!’

‘Total involvement , engagement and dedication’

‘Talented, trustworthy’

Key clients


MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc.

Abdulhameed Dhia Jafar, Founder and Chairman of the Crescent Group of Companies

Alta Trading UK Limited

Commercial Bank of Dubai

KBH Limited

KBH Limited handles contentious work across the UAE and wider GCC region; the practice’s key areas of focus are international commercial litigation, arbitration, financial services and employment. Bushra Ahmed heads the firm’s dispute resolution offering and is a ‘standout lawyer‘ in the commercial and financial disputes space. Managing partner DK Singh is another ‘outstanding‘ individual to note and showcases extensive arbitration experience. Senior associate Tina Asgarian specialises in cross-border contentious insolvency and commercial litigation and arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Bushra Ahmed

Other key lawyers:

DK Singh; Tina Asgarian


‘DK Singh & Bushra Ahmed are two outstanding lawyers who go the extra mile for their clients’

‘Bushra Ahmed is the standout lawyer at this firm.’

‘During my professional dealings with KBH I noticed that each member of the firm has good knowledge on law and deals in a very professional manner.’

‘DK Singh – He is very humble, professional and has sound knowledge.’

‘They are clearly a collaborative team, which shows in the thoughtfulness of the advice provided.’

‘Tina Asgarian is excellent. She is clever, responsive and insightful. I would highly recommend her.’

‘Bushra Ahmed is an in-demand practitioner, whose user-friendly approach is always appreciated.’

‘Boutique firm with a small but particularly strong, diverse team of excellent lawyers. Clients get a focused approach to litigation, with the senior partners (Bushra Ahmed and DK Singh) specifically involved in every aspect of the case, from beginning to end.’

Key clients

Envie Events LLC

Kinmere DWC LLC

Muhammad Tahir Lakhani

RAG Foodstuffs Trading LLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Muhammad Tahir Lakhani on a novel point of law concerning the examination of judgment debtors by video link in circumstances where the judgment debtor is not resident in the UK.
  • Advised Envie Events LLC in the region in connection with proceedings commenced by a competitor and successfully defended the claim including protecting the client’s intellectual property rights.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP's trial and global disputes practice in Dubai includes Patrick McPherson, who focuses on disputes relating to construction, energy and infrastructure projects. Randall Walker has a similar contentious practice and specialises in disputes in the oil and gas sector. Ben Williams is another key individual to mention and has a broad commercial disputes practice that covers litigation, arbitration and ADR. Senior associate Guillaume Hess is also noted and is based in Abu Dhabi.

Practice head(s):

Edward Kehoe

Other key lawyers:

Patrick McPherson; Randall Walker; Ben Williams; Guillaume Hess


KS has a very strong and sound team on disputes. They are able to appreciate the complexities, the clients’ mindsets and limitations and are always open to discussions.

Randall Walker is an exceptionally sound disputes lawyer. He is always dependable, accessible and bright. I have found him always willing to extend support and create stepping stones to get the transactions through.’

Key clients

Riyad Bank

Saudi Aramco

Riyad Capital (Riyadh)

Hexagon Holdings (Cayman) Limited

Sadara Chemical Company

Western Union


Work highlights

  • Acting for Hexagon in an 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.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP has a 'strong team' that focuses on oil and gas, aviation, telecoms and construction disputes. Abu Dhabi-based managing partner Alex Bevan has an extensive international arbitration background. David Hume and Alexander Nordang were promoted to counsel in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Alex Bevan

Other key lawyers:

David Hume; Alexander Nordang


‘Strong team with region-specific capability. Stellar turnaround time.’

‘Alex Bevan – knows the region, understands our Company and guides on strategy.’

‘David Hume – smart, eloquent and very strong on explaining concepts.’

‘They are always thinking creatively and suggesting solutions that are perfect for the particular issue.’

‘IF they are pressured, they never show it, they always have time, and they are creative thinkers.’

‘Alex Bevan is a standout individual. He is a mature and persuasive advocate.’

Solid understanding of the local market dynamics in the oil and gas sector.

Team led by Alex Bevan are considered strategic partners with a solid understanding of parties interests in high-value complex EPC claims. Proven agility in their responsiveness and factoring global/local market conditions in their advice.

Key clients

ENKA İnşaat ve Sanayi A.Ş.

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

Work highlights

  • Representing Turkish contractor ENKA Insaat ve Sanayi AŞ in an ICC arbitration in London against certain entities within US insurance group Chubb.
  • Developing the framework and resources for ADGM to become a leading arbitral jurisdiction.

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

Simmons & Simmons Middle East's dispute resolution and construction practice has an 'encyclopaedic knowledge of arbitral rules and procedure' in the region. Practice head David Risbridger is 'extremely talented' and is supported by Payam Beheshti, who specialises in financial services disputes and investigations. The team also includes managing associate Leonie Sellers, who showcases a 'solid mastery of construction and commercial law'. Managing associate Harriet Jenkins is another key individual to note.

Practice head(s):

David Risbridger

Other key lawyers:

Payam Beheshti; Leonie Sellers; Harriet Jenkins


‘The team is extremely impressive with a great grasp of strategy and the detail of the case.’

‘David Risbridger is an extremely talented, hands-on partner with a good strategic eye and a calm manner.

Harriet Jenkins is a very good lawyer who gets the job done.’

Leonie Sellers impresses with her energy and grasp of legal and factual issues.’

‘Simmons & Simmons are particularly strong in this field with encyclopaedic knowledge of arbitral rules and procedure.’

‘In my opinion their knowledge is superior to other firms in the region.’

‘Leonie Sellers is an extremely knowledgeable and talented lawyer who excels at arbitral strategy and tactics. Her skills in this regard are complemented by solid mastery of construction and commercial law. She is an exceptional advocate. Clients love her.’

‘Having worked with most of the dispute resolution teams of international and regional firms, this team’s experience and attention to detail is remarkable.’

Key clients

Barclays Bank Plc

Abraaj Investment Management Limited (in liquidation)

Abraaj Capital Limited (in liquidation)

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood's disputes expertise stretches from local to foreign courts and arbitration centres, and takes in a breadth of sectors, including energy and natural resources, financial services, marine and international trade, and construction. Fraud and asset recovery litigation are areas of particular strength, and the group has also recently been handling an increasing amount of sanctions work. Senior practitioners Nicholas Sharratt and Mark Lakin were recently joined by Philip Clarke, who brings significant contentious regulatory expertise from his role with the Dubai Financial Services Authority to the group.

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Sharratt; Mark Lakin; Michael Hartley; Omar Khattab; Philip Clarke


‘The arbitration team is: experienced, attentive to details, response timing is superb to all queries (even on holidays), sound judgement and advice, competitive pricing, can provide the best external expert support needed to have a successful winning arbitration.’

‘Nicholas Sharrat is always available to provide sound advice and support at any time. He has full knowledge, experience and control over the team and follows up personally on all matters including crucial deadlines. He has proven a high level of expertise and legal knowledge in large arbitration disputes and we recommend to engage him without any doubt.’

‘They really make us feel like they are the company’s in-house team as opposed to our external counsel, given that they make such an effort to understand the company and work alongside us. In terms of disputes they are first class.’

‘Collaborative style, with attentive partner input.’

‘Think outside the box, and go the extra mile.’

Key clients

Bridging Finance

Petrogat FZE

Emirates NBD

Maad Investments

MOG Holding Limited

Atlas Mara Banking Group

Svitzer Salvage BV.

Sahara Energy Resource Ltd

Surbana Jurong PTE LTD

Symphony Towers

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Svitzer Salavge in a claim against the Iraq state-owned South Oil Company in ICC arbitration proceedings.
  • Acting for a private individual who was formerly employed at an international law firm in relation to a discrimination claim in the DIFC under the new Employment Law.
  • Acting for Sahara Energy in several contentious matters arising out of the storage of gas oil pursuant to a collateral management agreement.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP's dispute resolution practice covers shareholder disputes, banking and finance disputes, fraud and investigations. Practice head Matthew Showler has substantial arbitration experience and is frequently instructed on disputes involving high-net-worth individuals and allegations of fraud. Cheryl Cairns is the primary point of contact for contentious construction disputes. Karie Akeelah is also noted and specialises in contentious construction matters and international arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Showler; Cheryl Cairns

Other key lawyers:

Karie Akeelah


‘The collaboration across the team is exceptional.’

‘They are able to draw upon a deep bench of varied capabilities quickly and efficiently.’

‘Very commercially minded.’

‘This team is fantastic for my case. Each team members are specialized to each separate issues.’

‘Matthew Showler provided unique and efficient strategy for my case. He understands very clearly the whole situation and could find out a proper solution to go ahead.’

‘They pay attention to detail. This point should not be underestimated.’

‘This is the second time I work with Trowers & Hamlins based on a great first experience. This is a new team on a different assignment in a different capacity for myself and they have met the same standard throughout the firm.’

‘The legal team at Trowers and Hamlins LLP, in our instance led by Matthew Showler is critical to our dispute resolution and arbitration matters.’

‘The T&H team has extensive knowledge, experience and expansive legal resources and developed a winning strategy from the very start.’

Key clients

SpaceCom International LLC

Nouri Al Saleh

Sandra Holdings Ltd

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)

Jonathan Ing

His Excellency Sadiq Marafi

John Cockerill Group

AAL Group Ltd

Indus International FZC

Tushar Ruia

First Energy Bank BSC (c)

The Administrators of The International Banking Corporation

NEBA Financial Solutions

Dubai Islamic Insurance and Reinsurance AMAN (PSC)

Partners Group

Bahrain Development Bank and Al Waha Venture Capital Fund

Syndigate Media Inc

Ferrovial Agroman Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the Administrator of The International Banking Corporation in its claims against Ahmed Hamad Algosaibi Brothers Company (AHAB) worth $2.5bn and involving highly complex multi-jurisdictional proceedings.
  • Representing 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.
  • Acting for Tushar Ruia and his company Indus International FZC against Indus Thermal LLC, Nihar Ruia and Danvita India (PVT) Ltd in cross-border proceedings involving DIFC, Dubai, Texas and Mumbai and involving claims now totalling c. $100m.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard‘s commercial disputes team demonstrates strong expertise in the financial services, oil and gas, telecoms and technology sectors. The practice has been significantly bolstered by the arrival of Shane Jury from Gibson Dunn in 2021. Stephen Burke and Bevan Farmer co-head the firm’s construction disputes practice. Managing associate Antonia Grieve-Yates is also noted and has extensive financial services litigation experience. Paul Hughes and Khurram Khan left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Shane Jury

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Burke; Bevan Farmer; Antonia Grieve-Yates


‘We have been particularly impressed by not only the breadth of knowledge of the team, but that they are responsive, thorough and demonstrate forward thinking, something which is particularly valuable especially in the more complex and multi-faceted disputes.’

‘Shane Jury has made an immediate impression on the team. The depth and breadth of his knowledge of DIFC law and process is impressive, but that his knowledge extends well into local law matters is particularly valuable.’

‘Shane Jury is extremely personable and easy to work with, and a safe pair of hands to direct our matters.

‘This is a young and dynamic team. There are no passengers. The partners are completely engaged and on top of the issues. There is real contribution from the whole team. They have produced some very high profile work.’ 

‘Shane Jury has a genuinely great reputation in the local market. He is always thoroughly engaged on his cases and could stand up and argue them better than most barristers. He is also a real pleasure to deal with – endlessly enthusiastic.’

‘Shane Jury really relishes cases and it rubs off on everyone else.’

Antonia Grieve-Yates: Dependable in hard fought litigation.’

Key clients

Ebrahim Al-Jassim (Founder of the Hungerstation app in KSA)

Samsung Engineering Company Limited

Al Tazeen General Trading LLC and Al Tasnim Enterprises LLC

Work highlights

  • Represented SECL in its ICSID investor-state dispute against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), brought under the Bilateral Investment Treaty between the Republic of Korea and the KSA.
  • Acting for Al Tazeen General Trading LLC and Al Tasnim Enterprises LLC in respect of their dispute with Renoir Consulting Singapore PTE LTD before the DIFC Courts.
  • Acting for Asif Mahmood, a successful entrepreneur in the GCC, in pursuing a damages claim against The Big Bus Company Limited.


AMERELLER has a broad cross-border litigation practice and wide-ranging experience in international arbitration, with expertise in handling disputes involving supply and services agreements, shareholder agreements and distribution and agency agreements. Practice head Alexander Lütgendorf is an 'exceptional lawyer'. Jonathan Noble is also noted and has a strong commercial litigation, arbitration and enforcement practice.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Lütgendorf

Other key lawyers:

Amer Jamoukha; Jonathan Noble


‘The team has the relevant expertise and experience in commercial dispute resolution providing the right advice and counsel.’

‘Amereller is a well-established law firm that always focuses on sophisticated matters, and during the past few years, we have worked together with their unique team on many complex disputes that we shared a mutual way of thinking in order to reach the strategy that suits the case and the client.’

‘We have worked closely with Jonathan Noble on various disputes in many courts, Jonathan has a solid experience in the UAE law and always exerts his maximum effort to be available for his clients and the litigators representing them.’

‘Jonathan Noble usually thinks outside the box to come up with the solution of the case, maintaining the balance between legal arguments and technical aspects.’

‘Alexander Lütgendorf – very experienced litigator, practical and pro-active advice.’

‘AMERELLER in Dubai is our group’s go-to firm for disputes and transactional advice in the region.’

‘Great team, pragmatic, knowledgeable and determined always to achieve good results.’

‘Alexander Lütgendorf at AMERELLER is an exceptional lawyer, highly experienced, commercially astute and great to deal with. A skilled arbitration advocate. He is very effective.’

Key clients


thyssenkrupp Materials Trading


Doppelmayr Garaventa Group

Waagner Biro Bridge Services Group

Fabtech International Group

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird advises on a broad range of disputes and arbitration cases and has experience advising clients in the telecoms, energy, banking and hospitality sectors. Practice head Lucas Pitts has particular expertise in matters involving contentious insolvency, finance and fraud.

Practice head(s):

Lucas Pitts


Exceptional team, always available and knowledgeable. Very supportive.  Felt a true partnership working together.’

Genuinely worked with us, felt like one of us, and did everything possible to help us manage through the situation, and to understand options and process.’

‘Lucas Pitts is head and shoulders above others I have conducted such business with.  Fantastic in every way, and a consummate professional.’

Lucas Pitts is responsive to queries, makes himself available when required, and applies sound commercial reasoning to his advice. His input is valued by both in-house counsel and the wider business team. Providing reassurance and navigation through sometimes complex cross border issues.’

I cannot recommend more highly the Bird and Bird Team but particularly Lucas Pitts. Lucas and team are diligent professionals and always on the end of the phone day or night. The support we have been given is truly unprecedented.’

‘The eye for detail and knowledge of the law is also second to none as well as practical and pragmatic.’

Lucas Pitts -smart, knowledgeable and with a fine eye to the law. He gives practical and pragmatic advice. His support has been unwavering and we owe him and Bird & Bird a huge debt of gratitude.’

Key clients

National Petroleum Construction Company

Skelmore Hospitality Group

Abdulla Saeed Al Jaberi

Jebel Ali School

Al Falah Group

Stormharbour Securties LP

Work highlights

  • Acting for NPCC in its enforcement of an ICC award obtained against AFCONS Infrastructure Limited in India.
  • Representing Skelmore Hospitality Group LLC in proceedings in relation to a previous claim made by Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
  • Acting for Abdulla Saeed Aljaberi in a dispute over the ownership of corporate bonds worth EUR 70 million and allegations that the obtained possession of them were through fraudulent means.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP demonstrates expertise in local and international arbitration and litigation. Practice head Patrick Gearon specialises in dispute resolution and has a particular focus on banking, insolvency and professional negligence disputes. Ghassan El Daye heads the firm’s Arabic litigation offering and focuses on banking, commercial and real estate matters. Peter Smith is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Gearon

Other key lawyers:

Ghassan El Daye; Peter Smith; Sara Sheffield


Patrick Gearon – Knowledgeable, always available and nothing is too much trouble.

Quick and very commercial in their approach.

Partner-led advice.

Rates are flexible depending on business need which is also appreciated.

My experience working with Peter Smith was unique in the balanced approach he developed and provided.’

‘Peter leveraged his standard pleasant and incisive working style and rapidly developed a depth of knowledge about a difficult (and somewhat unusual) type of matter.’

‘Peter Smith – combination of (a) a very strong generalist base of knowledge and conducive, flexible working style and (b) ability to rapidly pick up and ‘make his own’ the nuances of an unusual matter.’

‘Excellent legal team.’

Key clients

Gulf Air

Millennium Hotels Group

Al Soor Investments LLC

Sari Investments LLC

Al Baraka Investments LLC

IGPL General Trading LLC


Vassil Bojkov

FAL Oil Company Limited

Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP

The team at Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP is experienced in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, litigation, and arbitration. New York-based head of the Middle East practice group Samaa Haridi is a well-regarded arbitrator, who is especially strong in commercial and investment treaty disputes.

Practice head(s):

Samaa Haridi


Ince has particular contentious expertise in the commodities and trade, energy, construction, real estate, maritime and aviation sectors. Practice head Rabih Tabbara specialises in handling dispute resolution for clients in the construction and energy sectors. Khalid Hamed is another key individual and frequently works with Tabbara.

Practice head(s):

Rabih Tabbara; Khalid Hamed

Other key lawyers:

Mohamed El Hawawy; Natalie Jensen


‘The lawyers at Ince are specialists in their area of law and are the people I would always go to in Dubai to advise on anything shipping related.’

‘In addition to having the depth and breadth of knowledge of English shipping law and disputes, they also have excellent Arabic partners to advise from a civil law perspective and in Arabic where necessary.’

‘We have also found it very helpful that they have someone internally who can advise on Saudi law issues.’

Natalie Jensen is on the ball and is very knowledgeable about the industry and the practices.’

‘Mazin El Amin has been assisting with a lot of the local work and it has been very helpful to have someone who reads and writes Arabic as well as English.’

Key clients

GAC Marine SA

Rahul Gupta / Golden Kraft Gift Trading LLC

Dada Enterprises Limited

International Transport Intermediaries Club Ltd

Enova Facilities Management Services LLC


Emirates REIT (CEIC) PLC

Renaissance Agency FZ-LLC

Kuehne + Nagel SAL

Kota Trading LLC

Work highlights

  • Acting for the respondent in an ICC arbitration with a claim value of approximately $15m; the claim concerns a gas supply agreement and novel issues of economic balance and calculation of damages under the Qatari civil code, in the context of their application to state-linked entities.
  • Representing GAC Marine SA in a dispute with a company operating in the UAE, which had effectively been abandoned in relation to sums of AED25million owed to them.
  • Acting on behalf of charterers in a dispute with disponent owners pursuant to a charterparty for carriage of high-value, specialised heavy port operation cranes from Jeddah to Jubail in Saudi Arabia.

K&L Gates

K&L Gates' dispute resolution covers international arbitration, DIFC court cases, local UAE litigation and internal investigations. Jonathan Sutcliffe has substantial experience representing clients before the DIFC courts and focuses on energy, construction, insurance and joint venture disputes. Nazanin Aleyaseen is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Sutcliffe; Nazanin Aleyaseen


‘Very capable at handling big ticket and complex arbitration and litigation cases.’

‘Jonathan Sutcliffe in particular is first class. He provides just the right mix of legal acumen and commercial nous.’

‘K&L Gates, Dubai, is very dynamic and thorough with its advice.’

‘Jonathan Sutcliffe is very practical, readily available and straight forward with his advice.’

‘The team has a great breadth of experience and consists of individuals who have been in Dubai and the UAE for many years, over a decade in many instances, giving the team essential and very solid knowledge of how local practices and local law intersect with arbitration.’

‘They can cover any type of case, with particular strength in construction and infrastructure and in energy.’

‘I think the collective longevity in the region is really a stand-out feature for the team.’

‘Jonathan Sutcliffe is very bright, insightful and gives practical, useable advice.  He has helped us shape our strategy on potential disputes before they become disputes many times.’


Kennedys' managing partner Peter Ellingham heads the practice and has extensive experience in the insurance and dispute resolution space. Celine Abi Habib Kanakri specialises in international arbitration and focuses on real estate, commercial and construction-related disputes. Aviation specialist Nick Humphrey is also noted. For construction-related matters, practice head Mark Wilson is the primary point of contact.

Practice head(s):

Peter Ellingham

Other key lawyers:

Nick Hymphrey; Mark Wilson; Celine Abi Habib Kanakri; Khalil Mechantaf; Laurice Elten


‘They know how courts in Dubai work. They follow up very well on their cases and are very responsive. They are very available for their clients also during late hours and weekends.’

‘Nick Humphrey – very hands on lawyer, very responsive, great client contact, makes things happen.’

‘Khalil Mechantaf – good knowledge of local courts, very responsive, good client service.’

‘Responsiveness and ability to grasp and translate the important aspects of a point, even technical issues, and present this in the context of the claim.’

‘Mark Wilson and Laurice Elten were closely involved and performed very well.’

‘Kennedys are true subject matter experts in the area of aviation & aerospace and uniquely understand our needs as a company operating in the aviation sector.’

‘Nick Humphrey has extensive experience on the ground in the UAE and is recognised as a market leading aviation disputes lawyer.’

‘Nick Humphrey is extremely knowledgeable on sector specific issues, had a great mind for strategy and is great to work with as a peer.’

Key clients

ExecuJet Middle East MRO Services FZCO

Global Aerospace Underwriting Managers Limited

XL Insurance Company SE

Swiss Re International SE

Starr International (Europe) Ltd

Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality SE

Work highlights

  • Represented a regional national petroleum refinery company and its insurers and reinsurers in the successful pursuit, through ICC arbitration proceedings, of claims against an EPC contractor of the insured.
  • Represented a UAE design company, which is one of many defendants in subrogation proceedings brought by the insurers of a large hotel in Dubai claiming in excess of AED 1.2 billion following the destruction of the hotel by a fire.
  • Representing a large UAE conglomerate in a DIAC arbitration arising from the sale and purchase of shares in a UAE-based holding company active in the telecoms industry; the claim relates to fraud and misrepresentation of financial information disclosed at sale.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown's team has particular expertise in commercial, construction and investment treaty disputes. Alain Farhad heads the international arbitration and dispute resolution practice and is 'highly strategic' in his approach. Senior associate Gerard Moore has a broad construction and infrastructure disputes practice.

Practice head(s):

Alain Farhad

Other key lawyers:

Gerard Moore


‘Alain Farhad is one of the leading arbitration lawyers in the Dubai market. He has great technical expertise both from common law and civil law perspectives having qualified in both New York and Paris. He is clever and highly strategic in his thinking.’

Key clients

The Kingdom of Morocco

D.S. Construction FZCO

Work highlights

  • Representing the Kingdom of Morocco in ICSID Case No. ARB/19/2 brought by an investor under a bilateral investment treaty.
  • Representing D.S. Construction FZCO in a major ongoing UNCITRAL/PCA investor state arbitration concerning numerous large construction projects throughout Libya.

Nassif Arbitration

Dubai-based independent alternative dispute resolution boutique law firm Nassif Arbitration fields a team of Arabic, English and French speakers. Founding partner Karim Nassif has extensive experience acting as counsel, mediator, adjudicator and arbitrator. Senior associate Farah El Hajj Purice is also noted and represents international and regional developers and family businesses in a number of arbitration centres.

Practice head(s):

Karim Nassif

Other key lawyers:

Farah El Hajj Purice


Karim Nassif is a true arbitration practitioner, a specialist. He is fluent to the extent that he is able to deliver his services in English, French, and Arabic. In this market, this is a unique offering.

Meets expectations in terms of professionalism, timeline, expertise and collaboration.

Karim Nassif provided a tailored made and excellent service to our company.

Karim Nassif is an experienced and astute arbitrator, not afraid to work hard as required.

Karim Nassif is an experienced, insightful and reliable advisor in relation to arbitration. He has a very good understanding of ADR in the MENA region.

Under the aegis of Karim Nassif, the team is well versed in handling not just domestic but international arbitration with ease.

Their experience in various arbitration forums is commendable.

They also have an excellent networking with globally renowned arbitrators that gives them a niche over other firms of this region.

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Vinson & Elkins LLP has expertise handling disputes under a wide variety of arbitral forums including ICC, DIAC, LCIA and ad hoc arbitrations. Former managing partner Amir Ghaffari and key team member Joseph Chedrawe have now left the firm.

Practice head(s):

James Loftis

Key clients

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

Government of Dubai

Gulf Oil Petroleum Company (Kuwait)

Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq

Saipem S.p.A.

Basrah Oil Company

GreyMatter Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing the Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq and its affiliate state oil companies, in a number of international arbitrations.

Watson Farley & Williams

Watson Farley & Williams' practice has a strong focus on the transport, real estate and energy sectors. The practice is led by the 'highly experienced' Charlotte Bijlani, who has extensive expertise handling a broad range of commercial and financial disputes. Counsel Soraya Corm-Bakhos and senior associate Thomas Whitefield are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Bijlani

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Whitfield; Soraya Corm-Bakhos


‘This is an excellent team headed up by Charlotte Bijlani who is highly experienced in international commercial arbitration and litigation.’

‘Biljani is supported by a tight-knit first class team, including Soraya Corm-Bakhos, who is exceptionally hard-working, bright, and will go the extra mile to ensure the best possible service for their clients.’

‘This team sets the very high benchmark by which their competitors should be judged.’

‘I have predominately dealt with Charlotte Bijlani and Thomas Whitfield. Both have been responsive to my demands as well as naturally taking the initiative where required.

‘Stand-out Partner: Charlotte Bijlani.’

‘Charlotte Bijlani is a star of the commercial disputes scene in Dubai and the UAE.’ 

‘Charlotte Biljani has an acute sense for where the battle lines are likely to fall in any dispute and the issues on which the dispute is likely to turn. She is an exceptionally able lawyer with a strong understanding of the key commercial drivers for her client.’

‘Charlotte Biljani is also a great team player who never loses her cool, even in the face of aggression from her opponents. A real professional.’