Firms in the spotlight: Zulficar & Partners Law Firm

Zulficar & Partners is a premier international arbitration and corporate law practice firm based in the Nile City Building in the heart of Cairo, Egypt. The Firm offers a comprehensive range of legal services to a diverse array of clients both in Egypt and internationally. Its well-established Arbitration Group, founded and headed by Prof. Dr. Mohamed Abdel Wahab, specializes in prosecuting complex international commercial and investment arbitration disputes.

The Arbitration Group comprises more than 23 highly talented lawyers specializing in prosecuting investment and commercial arbitral proceedings, and is continuously expanding at an accelerated pace to cater for an increasing caseload, where the Firm is continuously instructed to act on high profile international commercial and investment cases with an exceptional track record of successful outcomes.

The Arbitration Group is available and able to conduct international arbitral proceedings in diverse jurisdictions, under various laws, and in different languages to the highest standards of efficiency and professionalism, and is regularly instructed to represent corporations, investors and governmental entities from across the globe in arbitral proceedings under major institutional rules including the CRCICA, ICC, ICSID, JCAA, LCIA, SIAC, and in the context of ad-hoc proceedings governed by the UNCITRAL rules and/or diverse national laws.

The Arbitration Group’s solid practice is founded on a combination of knowledge, expertise, creativity, and strategic dispute management. We pride ourselves as market leaders in the world of arbitration, where we regularly prosecute cases under major institutional rules and in ad-hoc proceedings. The Arbitration Group is well positioned and recognized for successfully prosecuting high value and highly complex arbitral proceedings. The Arbitration Group’s expertise spans (i) diverse business and investment sectors, including: construction, telecommunications, power and infrastructure, oil & gas (including gas pricing disputes), hotel management, sale of goods, financial services and Islamic finance, real estate development, maritime and transport, insurance, commercial representation and joint ventures, with dispute values ranging from USD 10 million to USD 2 billion; and (ii) cases governed by Egyptian, English, French, Jordanian, Kuwaiti, Moroccan, Omani, Qatari, Saudi, Spanish, Swedish, Swiss, Syrian, Italian and United Arab Emirates law(s), as well as international law and the general principles of law.

The Arbitration Group prosecuted arbitral proceedings relating to mega construction projects in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and other MENA region countries. Amongst the Firm’s Arbitration Group’s recent achievements and track record of significant successes are:

(i) Securing a final arbitral award in favour of a real estate development group in a US$ 500 million dispute with a leading real estate development group from a MENA State regarding a costal real estate project;

(ii) securing partial and final arbitral awards in favour of a client in a dispute pertaining to a major airport project in an Arab State;

(iii) representing a leading European client against a leading MENA corporate group in an arbitration governed by Arab and English laws and secured a favourable outcome for the client;

(iv) securing a favourable judgment rejecting an action to set aside a partial award before the administrative courts of an Arab State;

(v) setting a precedent when a foreign arbitral award endorsed and upheld the derivative obligations of good faith as pleaded for the first ever in a MENA related arbitration;

(vi) securing a favourable award dismission liability for an Asian client in a dispute pertaining to an EPC contract;

(vii) being instructed to represent a world leading construction group in a mega arbitration pertaining to the construction of an airport in a MENA country;

(viii) securing a favourable settlement to a European client in a mega arbitration pertaining to the construction of a marine jetty and port against an Asian company;

(ix) securing a full payment of our client’s claims in a construction arbitration against an Arab contractor, where the counterpart settled upon filing our statement of case; and

(x) securing a favourable settlement to a MENA client with respect to its claims under four construction projects.

The Arbitration Group also prosecuted arbitral proceedings relating to mega energy arbitrations. Amongst the Firm’s Arbitration Group’s recent achievements and track record of significant successes are:

(i) acting for major oil & gas players in the MENA region in successfully negotiating oil & gas concessions;

(ii) securing a full win for a leading fertilizers company in a gas pricing dispute against two State entities, where we managed to defend a claim for over US$475 million and Claimants’ claims were fully rejected;

(iii) securing a full win for a State-owned entity in an oil & gas concession arbitration in a MENA State;

(iv) securing a full win for an Egyptian oil & gas group in arbitration proceedings against a Scandinavian group of companies regarding a petroleum services agreement;

(v) securing a favourable settlement for a leading Egyptian energy group of companies in relation to arbitration proceedings commenced by a UK-based petroleum services group, where we managed to join the parent company to the proceedings, which facilitated a favourable settlement for our client;

(vi) assisted a leading European LNG group in parallel arbitration proceedings concerning gas supply agreements with claims in excess of US$3 billion against a State-owned company; and

(vii) securing a full win for an energy group in arbitration proceedings against another group of companies regarding petroleum services agreements.

The Arbitration Group also prosecuted arbitral proceedings relating to mega telecommunications arbitrations. Amongst the Firm’s Arbitration Group’s recent achievements and track record of significant successes are:

(i) prosecuting the first-ever interconnection arbitration dispute between fixed and mobile operators in Egypt, with claims and counterclaims exceeding US$ 2 billion, where secured a full award on liability in favour of our client which facilitated a favourable settlement to our client;

(ii) securing a full win for a mobile telecommunications operator in an arbitration against another mobile operator in Egypt, with a full award of the quantum claimed as well as arbitration and legal costs;

(iii) hitherto, our Firm is the only Egyptian firm that secured favourable awards in all telecommunications-related arbitrations prosecuted by the Arbitration group; and

(iv) successfully, negotiating on behalf of our client (a telecommunications operator) a settlement agreement with the telecommunications regulatory authority and other operators regarding interconnection rates.

The Arbitration Group also prosecuted arbitral proceedings and developed extensive expertise in mega arbitrations involving insurance, financial services, agency and distribution, tourism and leisure, transport and media. Amongst the Firm’s Arbitration Group’s recent achievements and track record of significant successes in these fields are:

(i) securing a favourable award and judgment in favour of a trading group in parallel proceedings in Egypt and before English courts regarding insurance and reinsurance claims pertaining to a marine barge;

(ii) securing a full win for a European client in an arbitration against a MENA export and import company, where our client was awarded the full value of its claims, arbitration costs and legal costs;

(iii) securing a full win for an Egyptian agriculture group in an arbitration against a French company with respect to the sale and purchase of palm trees, where our client was awarded the full value of its claims, arbitration costs and legal costs;

(iv) securing a full win for an Egyptian media group in an arbitration against a marketing and production company, where our client was awarded the entirety of its claims;

(v) successfully representing a leading investment group in arbitration proceedings against a MENA corporate group in a dispute relating to share swap and joint venture agreements; and

(vi) successfully representing a leading Arab-African bank in arbitration proceedings involving sale and purchase and escrow agreements and we managed to secure an award excluding the bank from the proceedings the continued between the parties to the sale and purchase agreement.

Amongst the recent global accolades, testimonials and international recognitions of the work undertaken by the Arbitration Group and its Head are:

(i) being listed as Egypt’s premier disputes practice and its continued listing on the Global Arbitration Review (GAR 100) top 100 firms in international arbitration;

(ii) being awarded the GAR “Mediterranean or North African international arbitration practice that impressed in 2017”;

(iii) being awarded the “Egyptian Leading Dispute Resolution Practice” by Chambers & Partners in 2019;

(iv) being listed as band 1 and a top tier international arbitration practice in the leading international directories such as Chambers & Partners, the Legal 500 and the GAR Guides;

(v) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being awarded the 2020 Client Choice Award in Construction Law & Practice;

(vi) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being recognized as a ‘star practitioner’ in Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration; Who’s Who Legal: Construction; Who’s Who Legal Thought Leaders: International Arbitration (2017 – 2020); and Who’s Who Legal Thought Leaders: Construction (2019 – 2020);

(vii) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab received the 2018 ASA International Arbitration Advocacy Prize;

(viii) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being awarded the Law Magazine award for Egypt’s Best Legal Practitioner in 2017;

(ix) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab received the AYA Hall of Fame Award in London for the African Arbitrator of 2019;

(x) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being listed in AFRICA’s 100 list of leading African arbitration practitioners by I-ARB (Africa);

(xi) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being selected by Africa Arbitration as the African Personality of the Month (June 2018) and by the LACIAC (Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre) as the Arbitration Personality in May 2019;

(xii) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being recognized by the Legal 500 (2019) as ‘an arbitration expert with a global reputation’, who is ‘one of the best in the world’;

(xiii) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being recognized by Who’s Who Legal Construction (2019) as “a leading heavyweight construction law specialist whose analytical skills are second to none”;

(xiv) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being recognized by Who’s Who Legal (2017-2018) as “one of the best practitioners in the world today” thanks to his “sharp mind and excellent legal knowledge”;

(xv) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being recognized by the Legal 500 (2018) as a ‘Deep thinker’ with ‘a remarkable intellect’ and ‘impressive advocacy skills’;

(xvi) Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab being recognized by Chambers & Partners Global (2016) as a “very knowledgeable, extremely responsive and he really does make the jurisdiction more approachable for clients” with “significant experience advising on telecommunications and construction disputes”; and

(xvii) A legal director of a telecommunication company says that the Firm is “one of the best firms we have dealt with worldwide”, praising its Arbitration Group’s management of expectations, responsiveness and industry knowledge.

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