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GAR 100 - 9th Edition

Hadef & Partners

18 February 2016

The firm that won the first DIAC award has recently defended a DIAC tribunal

Pending cases as counsel: 12
Value of pending counsel work: US$1.9 billion
Treaty cases: 0
Current arbitrator appointments: 3 (of which 3 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator: 1

NEW ENTRY

When Hadef Al-Dhaheri set up Hadef & Partners in 1980, he was one of only 22 practising lawyers licensed in the UAE, making it one of the oldest firms in the jurisdiction. Its arbitration practice took off when executive partner Richard Briggs, who now heads the group, won what is thought have been the first ever award from the Dubai International Arbitration Centre – a US$5 million award for Al Khaleej Sugar – and then secured its ratification in the Dubai courts in 2004.

Since then the group’s expertise and numbers have grown. It now has 14 partners acting in dispute resolution, and prides itself on its “tried and tested formula” of combining western-trained expatriate lawyers with home-grown talent.

Aside from Briggs, names to know at the firm are executive partner Basil Siddiqi, who heads the real estate and construction group, engineering group head Anthony Edwards, maritime group head Jonathan Brown, and Dubai partner Adrian Chadwick.

Network

The firm has offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi which are home to lawyers qualified in the UK, Ireland, Russia, US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Oman. It advises in both Arabic and English as well as a number of other popular business languages.

Who uses it?

Recent clients include Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Al Khaleej Sugar, Alokozay Group brand Korea Tomorrow & Global, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Souq Residences, IFA Hotels and Resorts, Amlak Finance, Noor Islamic Bank and Petrofac International. On the state side it recently defended Sudan’s Ministry of Irrigation in enforcement proceedings.

Track record

The firm is tight-lipped about its caseload, citing confidentiality. One high-profile win on the enforcement side was for the Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation, which it helped successfully resist enforcement of a 25-year-old ICC award in the UAE courts on public policy grounds in 2014.

Recent events

Al-Dhaheri is now back at the helm of the firm after seven years as the UAE’s justice minister.

Recent work has involved several high-value disputes in the real estate, maritime and construction sectors, as well as enforcement proceedings in both the Dubai and DIFC courts.

Briggs successfully defended arbitrators Doug Jones, Humphrey Lloyd QC and Stephen Furst QC, who were sued by one of the emirate’s leading real estate conglomerates, the Meydan Group for allegedly breaching their own order that the contents of settlement talks relating to an arbitration remain confidential. The suit was thrown out by Dubai’s cassation court in late 2015.

The firm promoted English and Australian-qualified Melissa Quai Currie to the partnership and hired new senior legal consultant from Eversheds, English-qualified Matthew Page.

Client comment

A construction client in two ICC arbitrations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai says he was drawn to the firm for its combination of local UAE law knowledge and its experience of international arbitration. He highly recommends partner Basil Siddiqi.

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