Al Tamimi & Company has long been considered at the head of the market in the United Arab Emirates for commercial disputes and gets top billing in directories.
- Who’s Who Name:
- Essam Al Tamimi
A number of reference works mention it, particularly for international arbitration, thanks in part to founding partner Essam Al Tamimi’s connections with a number of the international institutions. Its competitors at the top of the disputes market are usually identified as Clyde & Co and Hadef Al Dhahiri & Associates, although with many firms now opening in Dubai in response to the growing number of the disputes, the picture could be about to change.
The firm’s profile was boosted a few years ago when it began to recruit English barristers as members of the firm, partly with a view to developing the in-house advocacy skills. Several have played an active role in reshaping the landscape of local practice, through projects such as the establishment of the DIFC-LCIA arbitration centre, and the creation of the DIFC court.
The firm contributed extensively to the court’s code of ethics and rules and to a reform, currently under way, of the UAE’s federal arbitration act. Local newspapers have carried regular opinion pieces from the desk of Essam Al Tamimi, defending the DIFC-LCIA against attacks by a rival arbitration provider.
In addition to Dubai, the firm, established in 1989, has offices across the UAE and Gulf region, including Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Baghdad and Doha.
This year saw the firm look to a specialist in Middle East cross-border disputes from England as its new regional head of arbitration. Partner Paul Turner joined from Clyde & Co in London, where he had been a partner since 2000.
Among other Middle Eastern experience, Turner has acted for the government of Iraq in proceedings to recover misappropriated property following the arrest and execution of Saddam Hussein, and has advised on the country’s constitutional law, petroleum law and production-sharing regulations.
He also acted for Iran in steel disputes – including against Kuwait – and has advised western investors in Libya. Libya’s ruling family, the Gadaffis, also appear on his client list.
Fiona Campbell, a London solicitor formerly of Finers Stephens Innocent, is also a member of the practice group.
As for Essam Al Tamimi, his own profile in arbitration is as high as ever; he’s been appointed to head a new division of the ICC to promote arbitration in the UAE, was on the IBA subcommittee that produced new rules on the taking of evidence in international arbitration, and remains a member of the ICC court.