Mahmood Hussain Law Firm > Dubai, United Arab Emirates > Firm Profile

Mahmood Hussain Law Firm
Office 303-304
PO BOX 233066, Business Bay
United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates > Dispute resolution: local litigation Tier 3

Mahmood Hussain  of Mahmood Hussain Law Firm heads the practice and is an accredited international arbitrator at the DIAC and has experience handling arbitration cases under the ICC, LCIA and ADCCAC rules. Kushagra Ashok Arora has particular expertise representing real estate developers, food and beverage groups and high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):

Mahmood Hussain; Kushagra Ashok Arora

Other key lawyers:

Taha Sharaf

Key clients

Shirnz Global FZ- LLC

Shapoorji Pallonji Mideast LLC


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Work highlights

  • Successfully advised Augusta on recovering its investment in the arbitration case of a company that is also facing a bankruptcy case, which was unknown to the client.
  • Representing MPX in a dispute after the developer failed to pay the client during the project handover.
  • Acting for Shapoorji Pallonji Mideast LLC in post-arbitration proceedings after the opposition filed a request to nullify the arbitration award.

The firm: Dr. Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy LLC (MHLF) was founded in September 2012 by Dr. Mahmoud Hussein. Since then, the firm has grown to be one of UAE’s leading legal service providers, an active boutique firm with international exposure and expertise that focuses on select clients and quality mandates. 

The firm is distinguished for providing solution-oriented and value-adding services to its clients with strong knowledge and understanding of clients business and commercial needs. This success is attributed to the nationally and internationally-trained team of regional and global lawyers. MHLF is supported with strategic and planning expertise which is essential for conflict resolution, corporate, policies development and legislative services. 

The firm is now well established and recognized as an arbitration and conflict resolution expert in commercial and corporate matters and noticeable in providing comprehensive legal solutions for complex legal challenges. 

The team is dedicated and has extensive knowledge on UAE laws. MHLF lawyers also have the skills to blend international best practices into their services, which helps meet the region’s unique needs. 

The firm specializes in providing advice on mergers and acquisitions, complex business transactions which include but not limited to private equity deals, corporate governance, and legal structuring. 

Over the years, MHLF has nurtured and grown a client base that includes high-net-worth individuals, major corporations, LLCs, family-owned businesses, private and public stock companies, and governmental and semi-governmental bodies. 

The uniqueness of MHLF legal experts can be seen in their focus on client satisfaction. As a UAE based law firm equipped with international highly regarded lawyers, registered by different legal bodies such as England and Wales Courts, Indian Bar Association,  as well as French, Lebanese and other jurisdictions, the firm today celebrates its diversity, not only on its ethnic backgrounds but the ability to access different legal systems with the capability to maintain more than ten different languages and dialogues so to assure that MHLF clients are served by international standards with local knowledge. 

We ensure that we exceed client expectations. Our team of lawyers and staff provide expert solutions that fulfill clients’ goals. The team is available when and where needed and always ready to offer expert legal representation. 

 Overview: Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy LLC (MHLF) has over the years become known for providing high-end solutions to legal problems. The firm ensures that all clients, whether local or regional, achieve desired results. 

We are equipped and have the most dynamic, skilled and effective litigation and arbitration experts in different fields Our lawyers and staff have unprecedented experience in negotiating, dealing with legal issues and litigating. We do this by first understanding our client’s business and their working environment. 

This enables us to partner with the client in pursuing the best strategic action that steers them away from all legal challenges encountered during business operations. 

Our mission: To promote the firm’s sustainable growth through its internationally recognized brand. To provide effective legal services through  an efficient service process so as to serve clients with the best global practices while helping them achieve their interests and aspirations.

Our vision: To become a UAE tier 1 law firm that provides efficient and dynamic legal services and practical conflict resolution solutions for its clients. Thus, our focus in building customized, personalized advice, while adhering to the company’s core values of integrity, honor, objectivity, credibility, and impartiality remain to be our concrete base.

Our values: Thus, our focus in building customized, personalized services, while adhering to the company’s core values of integrity, honor, objectivity, credibility, and impartiality remain to be our concrete base.

Facts and numbers: MHLF has over time evolved to become one of UAE’s most sort after legal service providers. 

Starting with only three, the firm now has a total of 35 employees. It has 21 lawyers and six partners. The growth of MHLF’s team is noted in very specialized and non- traditional areas such as fine art, media and intellectual property, fintech and finance, smart innovation, family offices and trust with a focus on the development of legislative frameworks services. However, its expertise of conflict resolution services, employment, corporate and commercial, such as M&A and hospitality, mean it remains ahead of its peers in the UAE local firm matrix. 

The global gender gap report 2017, ranks the UAE as the second highest Arab country to offer women the same rights as men. Women today represent 46.6 percent of the labour force in the UAE. At MHLF, we believe in giving women the same opportunities as men.

Services: MHLF is committed to consistently providing exceptional legal services. We dedicate ourselves to representing our clients’ best interests as efficiently and effectively as possible.

MHLF represents clients across a wide range of practice areas. These include:

  • Criminal law
  •  Insurance
  • Litigation
  • Arbitration
  • Corporate/ commercial
  • Government policy and regulations
  • Construction and engineering
  • Franchise and company set up
  • Family and personal status
  • Employment and labour law
  • TMT and intellectual property
  • Financial services

Areas of expertise
Criminal law: Being involved in a criminal law case in the UAE requires the support of legal professionals who have extensive experience with the local justice system. The MHLF criminal law department is led by the litigation team who respond to any case related to filing a complaint at the police station, transferring the complaint to public prosecutions, or it’s transfer to the courts.

Our team of experts also represent clients in civil and commercial criminal law cases when needed.

Communication is key when working a criminal law case, which is why our lawyers put an emphasis on working closely with clients, to provide legal opinions, updates, and a detailed explanation on all procedures.

Members from our devoted legal team are committed to being available in courts at any given moment; we meet with judges, present valid arguments, and submit our client memorandums before the courts. While drafting memorandums, we are in close conversation with clients for detailed reviews and feedback.

Our criminal law representatives have various areas of expertise to include security fraud, embezzlement, corporate fraud and money laundering. We cater to both local and international clients in support of any of the above-mentioned services.

Our legal teams are fluent in Arabic, English, Persian, and Urdu, covering a large part of the population’s language requirement, and providing speakers the comfort of communicating in their mother tongue.

No matter what the case, MHLF’s associates create legal strategies to reinforce and protect our clients’ rights, while ensuring successful results inside and outside of the courts.

Insurance: Insurance companies aim at making profits and sometimes disputes arise when it comes to paying. Handling of this disputes requires a neutral entity who is aware of the law and who knows how commercial disputes can affect companies. 

Our insurance lawyers at Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy, have the experience, skills, and expertise required to cost-effectively and quickly solve these complex disputes. 

MHLF offers the policyholder legal solutions that help them claim their insurance. We have experience challenging different kinds of insurance disputes including property, automotive, short/long term disability, business owners, marine insurance claims, and health or life claims. 

Litigation: The litigation practice has been a cornerstone of the firm’s practice since its inception. Hence, we grant significant importance to this sector. Our litigation attorneys handle cases from local litigation to complex international disputes. Our lawyers have rights of audience in Dubai Courts, all Emirates Courts and Tribunals, the Dubai International Financial Centre, the Rent Committee. As well as the Dubai International Arbitration Centre and other national and international arbitration centers.

Attention to detail in all procedures is vital to the outcome of a case, as well as meticulous collaboration with our clients and a well-drafted argumentation. With the aid of our highly experienced litigation lawyers, we conduct the following:

  •  Registering criminal cases at court
  • Conducting claims and/or settlements
  • Resolving civil or criminal cases before courts
  • Preparing all kinds of attachments
  • Imposing travel bans
  • Performing all other necessary functions and procedures necessary to bring a case to a final judgment in our clients’ favor.

Arbitration: By becoming a global community, UAE has opened its doors to a host of people from different nationalities willing to open businesses, live or work here. We are agile and seek to avoid disputes by proactively anticipating conflict areas before a client experiences them. However, when disputes happen, our team of dedicated lawyers move to neutralize any conflicting situation(s).

With a distinct team of qualified civil law and common law lawyers and attorneys, our arbitration practice provides operative and tailor made expertise to our clients. Drawing upon the resources of our network, we deploy teams that are adapted to the specific requirements of the dispute, in terms of both geographic as well as industry specific expertise.

Our objective is to resolve disputes to our clients’ satisfaction as cost effectively and efficiently as possible. We have the niche to develop and implement innovative commercial solutions for a favorable outcome for our clients in a broad swathe of high-profile cases. The firm specializes in multiple forms of dispute resolution, with a particular focus on international arbitration, enforcement and cross-border disputes under various legal systems, and has an expert knowledge in investment arbitration, energy arbitration, litigation funding and claim assignment methods.

We regularly act on behalf of clients in diverse disputes, both as counsel and arbitrators including but not limited to M&A disputes, corporate, construction, infrastructure, hospitality, insurance, IP, pharmaceutical, banking and finance, international contracts, trading, telecommunications sector. Our renowned real estate litigation practice is known for representing reputable developers, contractors, investors, and subcontractors in the UAE. Our lawyers are knowledgeable in arbitration law in the UAE and under major legal systems and have merged with the highly valued culture at the courts. We have time and time again proved to be effective at handling arbitration cases. We have structured negotiation techniques that enable both parties to commit, communicate, and negotiate effectively.

Our experience extends to the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), DIFC-LCIA, ADGM, ADCCAD, CRCICA and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Our team is efficient in handling arbitrations in global languages such as English, Arabic and French.

Our expertise can be seen in the high value and complex arbitrations that we have handled. We have also worked as co-counsel alongside some distinguished international firms to provide expert advice on UAE law. We also have niche expertise in UAE/GCC laws governed arbitrations, handled in close coordination with a local civil law team. This separates us from many firms that do not have litigation functions or outsource (coordination problems), therefore lacking the early involvement of litigation teams in the arbitrations and throughout the process until enforcement.

Some of our lawyers have been appointed as Tribunal Chairman, UAE legal expert and Sole Arbitrator. Treaty planning regarding investment protection mechanisms in multiple jurisdictions and related DR procedures is another area of expertise the firm has.

Corporate and commercial: Historically Dubai’s economy was built on the oil industry. However present development has seen multinational corporations from different sectors like information technology, media, banking, hospitality and many more come and set up their businesses in GCC.

Businesses in the UAE need to comply with a wide range of procedures and legal processes. At MHLF, we provide corporate and commercial advisory services to ensure that your business transactions are conducted smoothly and your business interests are legally protected. Our strength lies in our in-depth understanding and knowledge of the local legal and regulatory environment which, when coupled with the delivery of our advice in line with international and domestic legal standards, enables us to provide the most cost-effective, practical and commercial advice whilst ensuring legal objectives are also met.
Corporate governance: MHLF has enviable corporate governance expertise that has proved to be the center of high value and complex corporate advisory matters. The team has in-depth knowledge and expertise in all areas of corporate governance including development and amendment of corporate governance policies, review existing policies, map best practices locally and globally, regular disclosure and implementation of transparency and accountability procedures for the board of directors, execution of audit and internal controls, verification systems for conflict of interests and other party transactions, drafting and implementation of whistle blowing processes.The team boasts of specialized services involving cross-disciplinary expertise in balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders. We advise banks, family businesses and public and private companies on their corporate governance practices.  Providing more than just advice, our clients receive a tailored manual specific to their needs in light of new regulations and policies. Additionally, we maintain constant communication with regulators within the region, ensuring we remain on top of corporate governance requirements.
Mergers and acquisitions: M&A necessitates the depth of understanding across divisions and sub-divisions to manage expectations flawlessly. Our M&A practice has handled domestic and cross-border transactions and our expertise extends beyond legal consultations and counsel to facilitate mergers and acquisitions. At MHLF, we specialize in all aspects of mergers and acquisitions and general transactional work including specialized legal due diligence, share sale and purchase contracts, shareholder agreements, company charter documents and petitions with regulatory entities. Transactions handled include cross-border transactions, acquisitions or disposals of businesses and companies based in the GCC Region, mergers, consolidations, joint ventures and strategic alliances.  Hence, we are a full-service law firm in the region and are able to provide services from market-leading litigation, employment, property, IP and cross border transactions to offer our clients an unparalleled suite of specialist practice areas.
Corporate restructuring: Looking at revamping your corporate structure? UAE laws set down a number of clauses that an organization needs to adhere to while corporate restructuring. MHLF services will ensure a smooth legal transition for your manpower as well as time to plan your strategy. Our services will include planning, advice on legal requirements, ownership, and operational and legal restructuring to ensure that your overall corporate objective is achieved in line with the existing legal framework of UAE.
The strength of our team comes not only from our in-depth knowledge and experience of regional laws and regulations, but also from our awareness of local regulatory practices achieved through close working relationships with regulatory authorities and ministries.
Private equity, investment and joint ventures: In a competitive market such as the UAE, corporations have to constantly analyze and modify their capital gains, risks and investment portfolio. At MHLF, we recognize the risk faced across sectors and territories when it comes to diversifying risks to raise capital. From structuring separate LLCs to drafting and implementing JV agreements, we have the knowledge, connection and resources to ensure efficient facilitation of any private equity, investment or joint venture requirements for your organization. We achieve reliable and competitively focused outcomes due to our thorough understanding of regional legal issues and practical know-how.

Government policy and regulations: As the UAE market expands and evolves to meet the growing demands of international and domestic businesses, government policies and regulations evolve with it. This yields the need for businesses to be consistently informed on changes that can directly or indirectly affect their activity in the region.

Our team of highly skilled lawyers, led by the Dr. Mahmoud Hussein corporate division, are always at the forefront of governmental developments, ensuring that clients are in compliance with the latest in policy and regulation reforms.

The division is regularly informed by federal and state government authorities such as the UAE Central Bank, The Securities and Commodities Authority, Dubai International Financial Center, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market, thus advising our clients accordingly.

Our extensive experience in a wide range of legal areas such as mergers and acquisitions, corporate structuring and restructuring, corporate governance and more, provides us with thorough knowledge in relevant government policies and regulations and a well-rounded approach to all business segments.

The division has experience in reviewing and drafting government regulation and policy documents which gives us a competitive edge in advising clients in legal strategy and solutions involving the same. Our areas of expertise include:

  • Reviewing of relevant regulations and documents
  • Drafting of regulations, policies, white papers
  • Providing legal opinion on queries raised by the client
  • General advisory associated with the subject area

With the upcoming Expo 2020 the UAE government has been introducing major reforms in legislation to invite investment to the region. Our team are up to date with all recent and anticipated government activities, in order to provide our clients with consultation and strategies that exceed expectation.

Construction and engineering: Over the last few years, the UAE engineering and construction industry has been a key economic driver as the country is always seeking to improve its infrastructure. 

Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy LLC (MHLF) offers the construction and engineering sector clients comprehensive services for their dispute resolution and procurement issues. 

Our understanding of the law in this jurisdiction puts us at the forefront of meeting their needs and interests. Due to the sector’s diversity, our multilingual experienced lawyers have helped us meet their expectations. 

Some of the clients we have successfully represented include developers, contractors, financiers, project consultants, and major sub-contractors. 

We assist them in all contract interpretation and procedure aspects throughout the course of the project. These include: 

  •  Structuring and financing the project 
  •  Drafting contracts 
  •  Advising as the project continues 
  •  Project completion advice 
  •  Termination advise that extends to litigation and dispute resolution. 

MHLF prides itself of unparalleled expertise in the areas of environmental, civil engineering, development, infrastructure, and regeneration litigation. We deal with both complex and high-profile deals. 

Some of the projects we have worked on include: 

  •  Infrastructure projects including roads, dams, railways, water and
    sewerage systems and harbors 
  •  Residential developments especial high rises 
  •  Retail and factory developments 
  •  Education facilities, 
  •  Hospitals and healthcare institutions 

Franchise and company set up : The vibrant business environment in the UAE, tourists seeking to buy from familiar brands, and the multicultural population makes the UAE a fertile franchising ground. 

The prospect of expanding businesses drives brand owners to the UAE while the local community benefits from operating their own business. 

The commercial agencies law 

This is a law considered in the case of franchise arrangements. For a contract to apply; 

  • A UAE national must be the owner of the company or be an entity owned entirely by UAE nationals. 
  • Exclusivity of the relationship is a must either to the territory or a specific product. 
  • The relationship between the two parties must be registered. 

Franchises are a common phenomenon in the UAE since it provides a good market for investors willing to test their products in a diverse population. Some of the common international brands include restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, food and beverage companies, ice cream shops, cloth designers, etc. The businesses are branded with international trademarks and provide international quality products. 

The legal team at Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy LLC believe that franchising will continue to be a huge investment opportunity. It will benefit both the local investors and global investors as they seek to expand their markets. 

The Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy LLC has a dedicated franchise team uniquely positioned to help you make your business dream a reality. We guide you from the structuring to managing and growing the franchise. 

The MHLF team has years of experience and understands the legal issues associated with owning a franchise and the relationship that ensues between the two parties. 

We build long-term relationships with our franchise clients in the quest to ensure we deliver innovative and creative legal services throughout every growth stage. 

Family and personal status: With a multitude of citizens from different nationalities and a huge expat population, we ensure that clients know their rights. We provide advice that ensures a smooth transaction in case of estate disposals or divorce. 

If you are considering getting a divorce or dealing with family matters, then Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy LLC is your answer. We listen to you and then provide you with advice on how to solve the issue. 

We try to ensure that all family disputes are handled either via mediation, negotiation, litigation, or collaboration. We handle cases with children with utmost care to intelligently guard their feelings and prevent them from being scarred for life. 

Hiring the team at MHLF ensures that we find all assets and income one of the partners may be trying to hide. We listen to and decide on child support and visitation rights. If the talks fail, then we help you get to trial. 

Family matters can be very sensitive such that leaked information can tun into huge scandals and front-page news on local dailies. To avoid this, cases are handled intelligently to avoid putting the family through.

Employment and labour law: The UAE, and especially Dubai has one of the highest number of foreign and professional skilled workers who come in search of career activities. 

Our firm represents both the employers and employees in a bid to ensure they both minimize litigation risks. We seek to find ways to solve these matters cost-effectively using arbitration, and mediation. 

The Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy LLC has experience and expertise in handling cases related to contracts, workplace disputes, unfair or wrongful termination, employee incentives, protecting client information, regulatory issues, employee data protection, and discrimination. 

We provide personal solutions to unique situations. This allows us to customize our services to meet the needs of our clients. 

TMT and intellectual property: Some of the best restaurants, franchises, banks or technology companies are found in the UAE. However, with success comes the risk of your USPs being imitated. Intellectual property is always a matter of concern for individuals and corporations. Hence, a well-conceived and implemented Intellectual property rights policy helps to protect the domain of expertise and the future of organizations.

We provide bespoke intellectual property advisory services to best realize the potential in the value of your intellectual property rights.

Our thorough pre-filing service ensures the availability of the trademark for registration, providing an accurate, organized start to the process. Whether new to the region, expanding your business presence online, or entering into new commercial arrangements in the UAE, we provide bespoke intellectual property advisory services to structure commercial arrangements at the preliminary stages and place your business strategically to best realize the potential in the value of your intellectual property rights.

MHLF ensures complete legal protection or the creation, invention, patent or design of an idea or product for your corporation, literacy or artistic works. Our firm provides a full range of intellectual property services including registration, renewal, amendments, licensing patent protection, enforcement and litigation, trademarks, copyright, industrial design and portfolio management.

Telecoms/media: The digital boom of recent years has had an immense impact on industries and businesses around the world. With technology developing at rapid speeds it is becoming more and more important for companies to stay relevant and informed on all touch points. The telecommunications and media industries have had to redefine the way they operate, while consistently innovating to keep ahead of the pace. The blockchain, G5 and other technology platforms are the game changer in the commerce world.

Dr. Mahmoud Hussein corporate division, led by experts in media, technology and finance, provides legal advice and guidance in the areas of media, corporate communications, digital platforms, telecommunications, event management and regulatory concerns. The managing partner of the company and head of the division has a proven track record in managing, advising, and consulting commercial and corporate entities to keep clients up to speed.

The UAE has always been a hub for innovation, leading the region in these industries. With a local and international presence, the firm is continuously informed on technological developments on a global scale. This puts our clients at an advantage, as members from our team are always ahead of leading developments, keeping them informed on all fronts.

Each client is dealt with in a unique way which caters exclusively to their needs. We structure our relationships to meet the objectives of each while answering to a variety of budgets. The teams allocated to each engagement are assessed to ensure that appropriately experienced members are used where needed, maximizing achievement within the means.

We remain heavily involved in our transactions from structure, to strategy, all the way through to implementation. With consistent follow up we ensure that legal matters that arise or may arise, are highlighted in order achieve a smooth transition every step of the way. This process provides our clients with both short and long term security and financial advantages.

Financial services: The UAE has grown into an international business hub, attracting investors and owners from all over the world to make it home to their businesses. This has generated the need for a diverse range of financial services that cater to both local and international clientele.

Our legal experts at MHLF provide specialized analysis and strategic advisory on financial lending, acquisition finance, project finance, and a multitude of structured finance transactions. We have an in depth understanding on licensing requirements, laws, and regulations that pertain to the financial service sector.

With extensive knowledge and experience in these subject areas, our team of professionals come equipped to provide support and guidance in regulatory requirements for obtaining financial licenses, always keeping our client’s interests in mind.

In recent years MHLF lawyers have provided consultation on the regulations for financial services in DIFC and ADGM.

Our corporate legal consultants make it a priority to keep clients closely involved in all areas of a particular transaction allowing for a smooth transition from start to finish. Keeping ourselves up to date with market developments goes hand in hand with our success in this area of expertise.

In anticipation of Expo 2020 in the UAE, various financial models are being experimented with to answer to the growing investment requirements. Our team of legal professionals are equipped to offer consultation to a vast array of businesses, big or small, on how they can achieve their financial goals.

We carefully select the legal teams we allocate to each financial service transaction, keeping in mind the objectives and seniority of the staff required to deliver successful results.

Achievements and awards: Dr. Mahmoud Hussein, founding partner, Mahmood Hussain Law Firm

Best Young Arbitrators below 40, Gold category – Dr. Mahmoud Hussein.

Accredited as the international Arbitrator at DIAC – Dr. Mahmoud Hussein.

Accredited as the Abu Dhabi Commercial conciliation and arbitration center

MHLF ranked: tier 3 in Dispute Resolution (Local Court Litigation) byThe Legal 500

Dr. Mahmoud Hussein was described as responsive, knowledgeable and a problem solver, based from the research conducted by The Legal 500 in the MENA region.

Litigation & Arbitration Dr. Mahmoud 4 422 8410
Corporate & Commercial Hafidh 4 422 8410
Arbitration Marianne Du 4 422 8410
Litigation Elsayed 4 422 8410
Litigation Omar Abou 4 422 8410
Arbitration Zaid 4 422 8410
Arbitration Nathan 4 422 8410
Litigation Ahmed 4 422 8410
Corporate & Commercial Ayesha 4 422 8410
Corporate & Commercial Mohammed El- 4 422 8410
Corporate & Commercial Sridevi 4 422 8410
Employment & Labour Law Gloria 4 422 8410
Omar Abou Reslan photoMr Omar Abou ReslanPrincipal Associate – Deputy of Litigation
Nathan Baikie photoMr Nathan BaikieAssociate
Marianne  Du Toit photoMs Marianne Du ToitOf-Counsel ( Head of Arbitration)
Mohamed Eldakamawy photoMr Mohamed EldakamawyAssociate
Ahmed Elmahdy photoMr Ahmed ElmahdyAssociate
Mohammed Elsayed photoMr Mohammed ElsayedAssociate
Gloria Estolano photoMs Gloria EstolanoStrategic Partner-Employment Law Specialist
Lien Haroun photoMiss Lien HarounLawyer
Mahmoud Hussain photoDr Mahmoud HussainSUMMARY PROFILE Dr. Mahmoud Hussein is the Founding Partner at Dr. Mahmood…
Elsayed Mohamed photoMr Elsayed MohamedAssociate Partner
Sridevi Sidharthan photoMs Sridevi SidharthanPrincipal Associate
Hafidh Thani photoMr Hafidh ThaniManaging Partner
Zaid Wani photoMr Zaid WaniPrincipal Associate
Ayesha Zia photoMs Ayesha ZiaSenior Associate
Number of lawyers : 23

Diversity and inclusion is one of the strengths of the UAE and MHLF is fully committed to this principle. When hiring employees, whether lawyers or administration staff, MHLF does not consider religion, gender, age, nationality, disability, colour or creed; skills and suitability for the role are the only criteria of selection. MHLF firmly believes in creating an environment where diversity is celebrated and different opinions are valued as it promotes innovation and allows us to serve our clients better.

The MHLF workplace strives to be inclusive and friendly. Some of the highlights of MHLF are provided herein below.


The MHLF workplace is gender neutral and is free from patriarchal attitudes and male chauvinism; women have equal opportunities in every way at MHLF. Almost half of our employees are women; and out of six partners, two are women.

Dress Code

There is a dress code but it is country neutral; the only criterion is to be professional and appropriate for the workplace.

Religious diversity

Our people have diverse religious beliefs and each is respected.

Geographical diversity

Our people come from various backgrounds, including the UAE, Ireland, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Yemen, India, Philippines and Pakistan.

Educational diversity

Our people have completed their education and obtained their degrees from different jurisdictions and countries. MHLF respects different educational systems and favours multiple approaches and point of views as it promotes generation of new and diverse ideas.

Generational diversity

Our people are not discriminated based on their age and are not excluded through any type of bias, conscious or otherwise.

MHLF’s selection process is free from any bias in this regard and is solely based on the candidate meeting the requisite qualification, experience and skills for the position.

The workplace at MHLF promotes a healthy discussion environment between all age groups to ensure that that the ideas are effectively shared and reflect inputs from all age groups.

Firm’s policy

The above principles are embedded in MHLF’s policy. The employee handbook contains a formal statement prohibiting discrimination, including sexual harassment or other harassment, because of religion, belief, sect, faith, creed, race, color, gender, age, national origin, citizenship, disability or any other characteristic protected by the law.

MHLF strictly follows a no discrimination policy, and allows employees to raise their concerns should there ever be such an occurrence. The employee handbook also sets out a clear procedure for complaints; the first complaint would be heard by the employee’s immediate manager, any expert on the matter and HR and operations manager. If an employee is not satisfied with how a complaint is dealt with, the said employee can then appeal to the managing and other partners.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE and the middle-east has always been a fascinating place for the outside world; some still imagine it as a land of flying carpets and magic lamps, while others know it as a modern sophisticated country exemplified by the engineering marvel the Burj Khalifa. Doing business in the UAE is a topic that has had a myriad articles written on it. Here we provide an overview of the various aspects that make living and doing business in the UAE so attractive.

We start with the very basic requirements of a conducive environment for doing business and the reasons why UAE is quickly emerging as the most attractive investment destination for the global investors.

Infrastructure. This is considered as a most important barometer for assessing a nation’s economic development. UAE has the most advanced infrastructure facilities in the region which is at par with any developed nations. Ranging from having the world’s busiest airport to well-connected roads to telecommunication, UAE, boaster in having world class facilities that have supported economic growth and enabled ease of doing business in the country.

Security and safety of life and property. UAE has been ranked one of the safest countries to live in. Around 200 nationalities live and work in the UAE. The UAE’s legal and procedural framework allows commerce to thrive; unhampered by bureaucratic red tape and corruption.

Banking system. Next we touch upon the two other areas of prime importance to business -banking services and taxes. The UAE offers a modern banking system with the Central Bank at its apex. The financial service sector is of international standards as can be found in the most sophisticated economies of the world.

Taxes. With regard to taxes, personal income is not taxed in the UAE. Corporate tax is levied on hotels, foreign banks and oil companies. Further, the UAE has signed a number of double taxation treaties with other countries. In 2018, the Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced. VAT is charged at a flat rate of 5% on goods and services; with certain exemptions such as education and preventive healthcare.

Skilled workforce. Employment or the labour market is another significant issue. What sets UAE apart is that the employment pool, which mostly consists of expatriate labour. Further the UAE visa regulations are amenable for the employers to recruit skilled workforce from any part of the world. The issues of visas, document verification and authentication and embassy rules for employment of their nationals are additional elements which must be factored in while doing business in the UAE.

Legal System. To support all the above, the UAE has a responsive and transparent judicial system. The administration of justice is thorough a three tier system of courts, the Court of First Instance, the Appeal Court and the Court of Cassation. While the UAE has a civil law system, the DIFC Courts in Dubai and the ADGM Courts in Abu Dhabi are common law courts where proceedings are conducted in English.

Conducting business in UAE

Having looked at the broader picture we turn your attention to some details- a good starting point is to understand that the UAE is divided into the “Mainland” and the “Free Zones”. While the mainland requires UAE national participation in most forms of business enterprise, the free zones allow for 100% ownership by foreign nationals (with exceptions for certain types of business). As expected there are certain limitations on a free zone company doing business in the mainland.

Therefore one of the first questions that a new entrant to the UAE is faced with is whether to incorporate in a free zone or on the mainland? The answer would generally depend upon the kind of business, the purpose of setting up in the UAE and where the end customers are located.

If the business is to be conducted on the mainland; then the next question is what are the legal forms of business? While many legal forms such as partnerships, limited partnerships etc. are possible, a limited liability company is generally the preferred form as it allows for a wide range of activity while offering protection due to the nature of a “limited liability” enterprise.

However there is a requirement that 51% of such mainland LLC must be owned by UAE nationals who are either individuals or wholly UAE national owned companies. This requirement has been qualified by a 2015 amendment to the company law, where it is envisaged that foreigners may own 100% equity in a mainland LLC, in certain sectors. Traditionally the relationship between the UAE and the expatriate shareholder worked on trust; there was hardly any paperwork and very few disputes. As more sophisticated business entered the UAE markets the relationship between the UAE and foreign shareholder has become more complex and document oriented as is expected of any modern business.

The Free Zones with access to ports are the natural choice for businesses that mainly use the UAE ports as a centre from which they operate into Africa, CIS and India. There are about 40 free zones in the UAE.

Specific Free Zones are often dedicated to a particular activity, such as the Dubai International Financial Centre which is the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and hosts many international and local banks and financial service providers; while the Dubai Silicon Oasis dedicated to modern technology based industries. Similarly the Jebel Ali Free Zone focusses on trade and manufacture and houses about 7500 companies, of which about 100 are in the Global Fortune 500 enterprises. The Dubai Maritime City is the only specialized maritime cluster in UAE and GCC that covers the entire gamut of marine industry needs under one umbrella such as ship repair, yacht manufacturing, marine suppliers and engineering.

Healthcare and Education. Last but not the least, behind the “business” there are people and families. The modern healthcare facilities and educational opportunities (local or branches of foreign institutions) make UAE a natural choice for both business and family.

From the discussions above, it is evident that UAE market encompass all the essential elements to enable the investors to thrive their business. It is for this reason, UAE is popularly known as “the land of opportunities”.

Dr. Mahmoud Hussein, Founding Partner

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Mahmood Hussain Law Firm from your competitors?

MHLF is distinguished for providing solution-oriented and valuable services to its clients. One of the main advantages of MHLF is our diversity and our success is directly attributed to our nationally and internationally trained team of regional and global lawyers. Equipped with international lawyers from a variety of legal bodies and jurisdictions, such as England & Wales Courts, New York State Bar Association, Indian Bar Association, France, Lebanon, Egypt and other jurisdictions, MHLF is driven by innovative approach to the industry and legal ingenuity. MHLF celebrates its diversity not only through the ethnic backgrounds of MHLF’s team but celebrates its ability to access different legal systems which ensures that our clients are served not only by local knowledge, but also by international standards. This is perhaps the reason that MHLF is one of the few full serviced local law firms in this jurisdiction.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) is an area that will likely develop within the next 12 months. Considering the impact of COVID-19 and how it has changed the relationship between business and technology, our clients are now engaged with the TMT sector more than ever. Further, with cross-border transactions are becoming increasingly complex and the growing use of non-traditional transactions such as Bitcoin, TMT has become an indispensable tool for the legal industry and naturally, MHLF.

Considering the above, cross-border litigation and arbitration are in greater demand now, especially as the UAE is increasing its presence internationally. Our Arbitration department has vast experience in dealing with domestic and international arbitral disputes handling disputes both institutional and Ad Hoc to the tune of over 2 Billion Dirhams, will likely expand its reach within the next 12 months.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

At MHLF, I believe we have upgraded the standard of the local law firms which has been essential as the expectation of the market has increased in recent years. This directly impacts our clients in their ability to access a particular standard of client care and legal expertise all under one roof. Moreover, with the unrivalled range of local, regional and international experience, we offer a pragmatic and “hands on” approach to the client needs inevitably benefitting the client in the long run.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

The COVID-19 pandemic has, without a doubt, changed how the world operates and has forced many to utilize technology to its advantage. At MHLF, we quickly adapted to the volatile changes that the pandemic brought forth and ensured that our client’s needs were met. While COVID-19 has limited face-to-face interaction and meetings with clients, our use of technology ensured that client contact was not restricted and allowed our clients to access our services throughout the pandemic. Considering that the courts in the UAE and other regions of the world have adopted virtual hearings, this allowed us to assist in more international hearings and strengthen our international expertise.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

In the UAE, most businesses are family oriented. Our partners have close connections to the government of the UAE and to the highest regulators in the UAE, which allows us to be intrinsically linked with the UAE. Further, considering our close relations to the government and regulators, in addition to our expertise and knowledge, we can analyze, anticipate and apply the needs of the market and government policies which allows us to provide our clients with first-rate advice and guidance.

We have recent advised a client and provided services to restructure a DIFC Company so as to invite capital investments in accordance with the laws limiting the clients’ liabilities to a minimum. We were successful in setting up the corporate structure, resulting in the company raising capital investments amounting to approx. AED 70 Million.

Additionally, we are representing an event management company and successfully procured event management contracts for EXPO 2020. We assisted them in negotiations with EXPO and the Subcontractors.

Furthermore, we provided services to a renowned developer in Dubai concerning a high- end project which encountered numerous issues in completion and exposure to liabilities from investors and contractors, forcing the Project to liquidation. Through our efforts and advise, we managed to save the project from liquidation to the extent that the project is now handed over to the investors.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

We have and will continue to be able to raise the bar regarding the standard of legal services currently available in the market. God willing, MHLF shall be recognized as a Tier 1 Law Firm under multiple facets of law within the next three years.

COVID-19 – Rent reduction in response to lockdown

The return to a state of lockdown has hit many businesses and entrepreneurs hard. Meanwhile, the courts are arriving at different conclusions regarding whether government-mandated business closures justify rent reductions.