GAR 100 - 16th Edition

Shahid Law Firm

Shahid Law Firm

Professional notice

This father-and-son practice is advising on three ICSID claims against Egypt

People in Who’s Who Legal1
Pending cases as counsel14
Value of pending counsel workUS$1.2 billion
Treaty cases as counsel5
Third-party funded cases2
Current arbitrator appointments0 (0 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator0

Sarwat Abd El-Shahid founded Cairo’s Shahid Law Firm in 1987 after serving as judge and state counsellor for nearly two decades. His practice spans M&A, restructuring and real estate planning alongside arbitration.

His son, Girgis Abd El-Shahid, is now managing partner at the firm. He was appointed to the ICC International Court of Arbitration in 2021.

The firm does commercial arbitration including energy disputes but has also advised claimants in investment treaty cases against Egypt.

Sarwat is listed by Egypt’s ministry of justice on its recommended list of arbitrators, while Girgis has sat in cases at the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA).

The firm’s mix of Egyptian and Western-trained lawyers provide advice in Arabic, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese alongside experienced knowledge of the Egyptian legal system. It has worked with a number of well-known arbitration practices.

Who uses it?

The firm has advised energy, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas and mining clients – as well as high-net-worth individuals.

It has acted for multiple investors in Egypt’s cement industry including HeidelbergCement of Germany. Other international clients include South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries, Australia’s Tantalum International and Italy’s Gesenu.

The firm has also represented CTIP Oil & Gas UAE and the Confederation of African Football.

Track record

The firm advised Tantalum International in an ICSID claim over a joint venture for a mining project in southern Egypt. The firm helped secure third-party funding to bring the claim, which settled in 2021 after Egypt failed on a jurisdictional objection. The settlement covered the purchase of Tantalum’s assets in the country.

In 2018, the firm won a US$74 million ICC award for Doosan Heavy Industries, acting alongside King & Spalding. The dispute related to a container terminal concession at the Damietta Port.

Shahid represented the Confederation of African Football in an ICC dispute over a US$1 billion contract for commercial rights to competitions including the pan-African CAF Champions League. Alongside Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler and Ashurst, it successfully defended an emergency arbitration proceedings in 2019 brought by France’s Lagardère Sports over termination, while the dispute on the merits remains pending.

Recent events

It is acting with Ashurst for HeidelbergCement in an ICSID claim against Egypt. The client alleges distortion and unfair competition in the cement market.

With Withers, it is advising waste management company Gesenu in another ICSID claim against Egypt. The claimant was party to a joint venture in Giza that was allegedly suspended by the Egyptian authorities.

A third ICSID case has seen it team up with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to act for Emirati company CTIP Oil & Gas in a dispute over a natural gas contract.

Girgis Abd El-Shahid was retained by White & Case as an expert witness for a client that successfully resisted enforcement of an US$18 billion award.

He was instructed by Saudi clients for two CRCICA cases worth US$37 million against an Egyptian conglomerate concerning acquisition of shares and debt equity agreements; and is acting in a US$24 million ICC dispute over an oil and gas project.

Partner Tarek Badawy, formerly of Baker McKenzie in Toronto, left the firm in 2023 with a team to join Middle Eastern firm Meysan in Cairo. He had led the transportation group alongside an Africa-focused practice at Shahid.

About the Firm

Established in 1987 by Counselor Sarwat Abd El-Shahid, Shahid Law Firm is one of the leading international firms operating in Egypt and the African region, offering a full range of legal services to national and international clients.

By expanding our expertise reach throughout the African continent, and particularly in Ethiopia and Sudan, we managed to navigate our clients through their most complex multi-jurisdictional and local business challenges, offering constant on-the-ground support for our clients in their domestic and cross-border complex matters.

Practice Areas

Anti-Trust, Anti-Corruption, & Competition | Aviation | Banking & Finance | Capital Markets | Commercial, Corporate, and M&A | EPC & Real Estate | Dispute Resolution: Arbitration & Litigation | Energy, Projects, Infrastructure, Oil & Gas | Insurance | Intellectual Property | Labour and Employment | Leisure & Tourism | Manufacturing | Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare | Startups and Venture Capital | TMT

About Our Arbitration Practice

Shahid Law’s Arbitration Department is one of the largest in the local and international legal market and is active on the domestic, regional, and international levels.

The firm has handled some of the largest and most high-profile arbitration cases before several arbitral institutions or at the stage of settlements, namely ICC, ICSID, CRCICA, ICC, DIAC, in several industries and business sectors, namely, Oil and Gas, Media and Telecommunications, Investment, Construction and Real Estate.

Selected Track Record in Arbitration Practice

  • Defending the Confederation of African Football (“CAF”) against Lagardère Sports in ICC Emergency Arbitration proceedings in connection with the termination of a 28-year USD 1 Billion contract for the commercial exploitation of CAF Competitions.
  • Representing a major Saudi investor in two CRCICA arbitrations, filed against one of the biggest Egyptian publicly listed conglomerates providing financial services in the region related to cross-border major transactions involving acquisition of shares and debt equity agreements.
  • Acting as co-counsel to Gesenu S.p.A against the Arab Republic of Egypt before ICSID over the expropriation (among other things) of its business in Egypt.
  • Representing investors before the Ministerial Committee for the Resolution of Investment Disputes in disputes concerning expropriation and rightful ownership of mass areas of lands.
  • Acting for international investors, including CTIP Oil & Gas International Limited, DAMAC Properties, PTTER, EMG and their shareholders, against the Arab Republic of Egypt in the arbitration/litigation disputes before ICSID, UNCITRAL, and local courts under various bilateral investment treaties.

Recognitions, Awards, and Testimonials

Shahid Law is highly regarded for its cross-border transactions and regulatory experience. We have been recognized by Legal 500 several times as a Tier 1 firm for Dispute Resolution, Corporate / M&A, Capital Market, Oil & Gas, and Energy.

Chambers Global 2022 awarded SLF the Chambers Middle East Awards 2022 in the categories of “Egypt Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year 

Legal 500 2021 described SLF as “Honest and informative support is given whenever needed. We experienced a good professional relationship with Shahid Law firm and appreciated their capacity to work in an international multicultural environment.”

Legal 500 2020 described us as “The firm provides solutions that save time with high efficiency.”

Legal 500 2020 described us as “The clear-cut difference between Shahid Law Firm and others is that they know what they are proposing, and they know the best way to achieve it.”

Legal 500 2019 referred to SLF as “Reliable, reputable, very competent, responsible, transparent and flexible, and counts multinational corporations such as Abbott Laboratories, AbbVie and GlaxoSmithKline among its clients.”

Chambers Global 2020 described the firm as a “Providing the full suite of transactional and general commercial advice, from company establishment to corporate governance. Represents domestic and international companies in corporate restructuring and capital increase. Possesses notable experience representing clients.”

Chambers Global 2019 explained that “What the team is known for prominent regulatory compliance practice combined with notable strengths in corporate governance matters. Also acknowledged for its activity in corporate matters originating from energy projects.”

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