Firm Profile > Horizons & Co > Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Horizons & Co
49TH FLOOR, BURJ AL SALAM OFFICE TOWERS
SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD, P.O. 111801
DUBAI
United Arab Emirates

Dispute resolution: local litigation Tier 3

Ali Al Zarooni is the key UAE advocate at Horizons & Co, which of late has been involved in a number of complex and high-profile construction and property-related disputes. Jordanian-qualified Areen Jayousi is another key partner in the team.

Practice head(s):

Ali Al Zarooni; Areen Jayousi

Key clients

Arabtec Belhasa V. Orient

Al Burj Real Estate Limited

Deyaar Development PJSC

Louvre JV

HMRT JV

Arabian Construction Company WLL and Lahoud Engineering Company LLC Joint Venture ( “ALJV”)

Arabtec Construction LLC

Beijing Jiayu Door, Window and Curtain wall Joint-Stock Co Ltd

Plafond Fit Out LLC

Barclays Bank P.L.C

Construction Tier 4

UAE advocate Ali Al Zarooni - the managing partner of Horizons & Co - is active in a range of construction-industry matters, including bond disputes and litigation concerning building defects heard by the Arabic-language UAE courts as well as procedural matters surrounding arbitration and the enforcement of awards. Areen Jayousi is a key name for arbitration work, and has been active in a number of disputes before DIAC and the ICC.

Practice head(s):

Ali Al Zarooni; Areen Jayousi

Key clients

Arabtec Belhasa V. Orient

Al Burj Real Estate Limited

Arabian Construction Company WLL and Lahoud Engineering Company LLC Joint Venture

Arabtec Construction LLC

Oasis Investment (Al Shirawi Group)

Depa Interiors LLC

Finasi

The firm: Founded in 1997, by Adv. Ali Al Zarooni, and with offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Horizons & Co has been advising clients in the UAE for two decades. We have a strong regional focus, regularly advising both local and international clients (on contentious and non-contentious matters) throughout the GCC region.

Licensed to practice before all courts, police stations and public prosecutions in the UAE, Horizons & Co can provide expert legal services in all areas of UAE law. Our lawyers and legal consultants boast a wide array of qualifications and legal backgrounds, enabling us to assist corporations and individuals on any legal aspect within the UAE. We are experts in dispute resolution specialising in litigation and arbitration. The firm represents major corporate and private clients on a range of complex matters before the differing dispute resolution fora within the UAE.

Our clients include local and international corporations, insurers, financial institutions, developers, contractors, oil and gas companies and Government organisations. We frequently serve as local counsel to international firms on multifaceted civil and commercial disputes. Horizons & Co is considered a leader in advising on UAE legal matters, with many international law firms working closely with us in order to gain an expert insight into all matters pertaining to local UAE laws.

Areas of practice: Horizons & Co is a disputes-focused firm. We routinely advise on employment, real estate and construction, project financing and corporate disputes, in the UAE and Middle East in general.

We provide a wide-ranging service that is tailor made to meet the clients’ legal needs, and actively pursue all available opportunities to best serve our clients’ needs. We routinely advise clients on the methods most appropriate to them and to individual matters. Our main priority is to quickly and effectively resolve disputes, with as little disruption to business as possible.

Our litigation team complements our advisory and corporate legal functions in all key areas of practice and comprises some of the top trial and appellate lawyers in the UAE. Our teams have provided legal representation to some of the UAE’s leading companies and organisations on matters from urgent interlocutory relief to large-scale litigations.

The firm also regularly represents clients at DIFC Judicial Authority (DIFC Courts), Conciliation Committees, Rent Committees and other Government Authorities.

Adv. Ali, as well as being the founder, is chairman of Horizons & Co and a practicing Lawyer. He has represented some of the region’s most prominent companies, establishments and individuals before all levels of courts and various arbitration tribunals. He is a qualified arbitrator registered with Dubai International Arbitration Centre, and is licensed as a Private Notary Public by the Dubai Courts.

Department Name Email Telephone
Civil and commercial litigation
Dispute resolution
Arbitration
Banking and finance
Employment
Criminal
Private notary services
Real estate
Construction
Corporate and M&A
Compliance/regulatory
Insurance
Islamic finance
Maritime and shipping
Projects and project financing
Restructuring and insolvency

Areen Jayousi, Partner

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capacity?

My greatest achievement in a professional capacity is without a doubt having been made Partner of a prominent local law firm in my early thirties. My decision to leave a more than comfortable existence in an in-house position turned out to be the best professional decision I have made.

My greatest personal achievement, one that I’m immensely proud of is having the opportunity to raise my three beautiful children, Khaldoun, Qusai and Mariam.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

The firm is unique in that we specialise in dispute resolution only. With our sole focus on the effective resolution of complex UAE disputes, we train our lawyers extensively in both civil as well as common law principles. By doing so our lawyers are not simply bilingual, but also adept at providing advice and legal analysis from both a common & civil law perspective.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

My advice to my younger self would be not to over complicate things. I have found that breaking complex issues down to their bare bones can be a very effective way to deal with issues, no matter how complex they first seem to be. I have learnt that taking ones time to deal with the complexity of the issues is the right way to go as opposed to diving right into the deep end.

Can you give me a practical example of how you helped a client add value to the business?

Having assisted many developers in the UAE, I recently revised the entire suite of contractual documents for a large semi-government real estate developer. With recent legislative changes and a tough real estate market as a back drop, amendments to their existing contracts were imperative.  Subsequent to the amendments being made, the client provided the firm with a certificate of appreciation, stating that in-house efficiency had greatly improved as well as their internal collection management process as a direct result of the amendments made to their contractual documents.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

Given the current market trends and difficulties in relation to the economy, we are currently witnessing a higher number of disputes, with some major companies now contemplating high profile litigation. The biggest challenge going forward will be to ensure that clients are well advised in relation to their legal options and not solely litigious. It will be even more important going forward for clients to correctly study all possible amicable resolutions prior to filing claims.

Adv. Ali Al Zarooni, Chairman

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capacity?

On a professional level, my greatest achievement has been the establishment and operation of a successful UAE multi-disciplinary law firm. The firm has grown exponentially since its inauguration and continues to thrive in this fiercely competitive legal market. Over the last 31 years, the firm has worked tirelessly to establish its unwavering reputation as a world-class leader in all areas of UAE Federal Laws as well as off-shore (free) zones. Furthermore, the relationships that we have established with other highly regarded law firms across the GCC, Middle East, Europe and other international regions reinforces the strength of our multi-jurisdictional firm.

On a personal level, I am most proud of my wife and the four wonderful children that we have raised. It can be difficult to maintain a work / life balance and we have learned how to work together to order to raise our children as best we can.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

Horizons & Co. is a client-focused law firm committed to delivering exceptional legal services. Since the firm’s inception in 1999, we have sustained our commitment to bringing the highest possible standards of legal services in both the UAE and further afield. In order to act differently, one must think differently and this belief has cultivated a firm where lateral and medial thinking are equally regarded, meaning that solutions to client problems are often found through practical, clever and often unexpected ways. Our staff have been globally sourced and bring unrivalled experience in a plethora of jurisdictions which is a key factor for many clients given the UAE’s geographical centrality. Conclusively, we are a local firm that thinks internationally and this has proven to accelerate our success over and above our peers.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t become a lawyer! No, I am joking! I have learned so much about myself through the establishment of Horizons & Co and I feel both humbled and proud of what I have achieved. If I were to have a conversation with my younger 25-year old self, I would advise that I invest in clever, committed and hard-working lawyers as their value cannot be underestimated. Although my younger self might wince at the cost of hiring top-tier lawyers, it is these people that you must ultimately put your trust in, in order to preserve and develop the reputation of the firm. Secondly, it is wise to consider installing high-quality IT systems as this is likely to ensure efficiency in the day-to-day running of the firm so do your research and find the most suitable system!

Can you give me a practical example of how you helped a client add value to the business?

Upon initially reading this question, I immediately thought of when I completely re-drafted an entire suite of contracts for a large-scale developer. The original contracts had a number of serious omissions and would have left the developer in a disadvantaged position should a dispute have been raised in the future. However, when I consider this question over my career to-date, I am struck by the number of situations in which I have helped clients to reach a settlement with the other side. Negotiations have often badly broken down and it would seem that settlement is impossible. Perhaps a tenacious litigator would strive for the ‘win’ but I believe that a greater victory can be achieved if both sides walk away feeling like they have won. It can be difficult to enable negotiations but by clearly defining the gains to both sides this often leads to an agreement which adds value to both businesses.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

Economic activity in the UAE has hastened in recent years, most notably the non-oil private sector which has shown slower progression despite the expansion of credit lending year-on-year. This has been attributed to softer economic conditions which have reduced clients’ spending power. Despite this, it is predicted that the construction sector in the UAE will continue to grow in 2020, ahead of the Expo. In light of this, the biggest challenge for clients doing business in construction and engineering companies is managing cash-flow. Projects need to be delivered on time and within budget or companies may face serious and costly legal challenges. Construction disputes continue to rise in the UAE and we are increasingly seeing clients that are unable to manage cash-flow in order to pay legal fees. In this current economic climate, Horizons & Co remain devoted to helping our clients identify successful solutions, reduce risk, and maximise opportunities.