MENA TEAM NEWS

Brown Rudnick's MENA team has continued to increase its involvement in the region and participation in several conferences and events in 2014:

  • SUCCESSES IN THE DIFC COURTS, DUBAI

    Brown Rudnick achieved victories in several cases before the Courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) relating to property developments in Dubai:

    Nicholas Tse, Roger Kennell and Ravinder Thukral formed the Brown Rudnick team which obtained a judgment before the DIFC Court of First Instance for over AED 216 million in the Sky Gardens case on behalf of its client, National Bonds Corporation, against Deyaar Development (see "In the Spotlight"). 

    Nicholas Tse and Ravinder Thukral successfully resisted an appeal on behalf of the investor in Beydoun v Daman before the DIFC Court of Appeal (see "In the Spotlight").
  • OPENING OF BROWN RUDNICK’S PARIS OFFICE WITH STRONG MENA FOCUS

    The recently opened Paris office is co-headed by international arbitration specialists Sébastien Bonnard and Nicholas Tse. Sébastien joined from Lacourte Raquin Tatar along with Hervé Le Lay, Counsel. This new office has a particular focus on international arbitration and multi-jurisdictional disputes. It further strengthens the firm’s international platform and enhances our ability to assist clients in resolving their complex international disputes, in particular those involving interests in Francophone and civil law jurisdictions in the Middle East & North Africa.
  • FOUR MEMBERS OF THE MENA TEAM PROMOTED TO PARTNERS

    Four members of Brown Rudnick’s MENA team, Roger Kennell, Henry Kikoyo, Jean-François Le Gal, and Christian Toms, have been promoted to partner in February 2014, which testifies to the firm's continuing success in attracting work from the region.
  • PARTICIPATION IN MENA CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

    ICC Middle East & North Africa Arbitration Conference: Brown Rudnick sponsored the Second Annual ICC MENA Arbitration Conference, which was held from 10 to 12 March 2014 in Dubai.

    ICC Tunis Conference on mediation: Following the success of the 2012 Conference on "Dispute Resolution in North Africa" co-organised by the ICC and Brown Rudnick, a Second Edition of the Conference took place in Tunis on 10 January 2014, with a special focus on mediation. While Brown Rudnick has continued to support this event, Nicholas Tse and Jean-François Le Gal of Brown Rudnick's MENA team took part in lively panels and mock sessions.

    DRIMAN Tunis Conference: on 16 and 17 January 2014, Jean-François Le Gal and Silke Kumpf of Brown Rudnick's MENA team participated in the French and Arabic languages International Symposium in Tunis on "Islamic Finance: legal diversity and economic challenges" organised by the Laboratory of International Relations, Markets and Negotiations Law (DRIMAN) and the Tunisian Association of Investment and International Markets Law (ATUDIMI), under the patronage of the Tunis University of Law. This Symposium was opened by Professor Fehrat Horchani, Co-Head of the DRIMAN, in the presence of prestigious hosts who dealt with the significant development of Islamic Finance over the past years, not only in the Middle East and North Africa Region, but also in Europe, Russia and the USA. The members of Brown Rudnick's MENA Team attended this event as speakers at the round-table: "the different model for reception and regulations of Islamic Finance: issues and possible solutions: the experience in Malaysia, Pakistan, England, France, Morocco, Algeria and Lebanon", and notably addressed the challenges raised by Islamic finance instruments from an English litigation and arbitration perspective.

 

ARTICLES & CASE COMMENTARIES

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Brown Rudnick LLP success in the DIFC Courts, Dubai for National Bonds Corporation PJSC

Brown Rudnick has successfully represented National Bonds Corporation (“NBC”) in its claim for over AED 200m paid towards the development of an AED 1.6bn development in the DIFC called Sky Gardens.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Success in the DIFC Court of Appeal in Dubai

On 11 February 2014, the DIFC Court of Appeal (Chief Justice Michael Hwang SC, Deputy Chief Justice Sir John Chadwick and His Excellency Justice Ali Al Madhani) handed down judgment dismissing two appeals brought by Daman Real Estate Capital Partners ("Daman") relating to the construction of units in a 65-floor mixed use tower located in the heart of the Dubai International Financial Centre called "The Buildings". Brown Rudnick's Ravinder Thukral (instructed by Al Wasl Advocates and Legal Consultants) represented one of the successful investors, Mr Ahmed Zaki Beydoun.

 

"The Qatari Court of Cassation applies the New York Convention and reinstates an ICC award"
By: Hervé Le Lay (Paris Office) and Dipna Gunnoo (Paris Office)

Qatar’s Court of Cassation has recently overturned a decision of the Doha Court of Appeal which had set aside an ICC award for not being issued in the name of the Emir. The Court of Cassation sent the case back to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration.

"Citigroup Win Over Abu Dhabi Fund Highlights Difficulties in Vacating Arbitration Awards"

On February 19, 2014, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s (the “ADIA”) appeal against a judgment of the District Court which had refused to vacate an ICDR arbitration award in favor of Citigroup Inc. (“Citigroup”). In upholding the first instance ruling, in Abu Dhabi Investment Authority v. Citigroup Inc., the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that ADIA, a sovereign wealth fund which had invested $7.5 billion in Citigroup a year before the 2008 financial crisis, had not met its burden in proving that the arbitral panel manifestly disregarded the law or exceeded its powers.

"Libya: On the Road to Criminalising Conventional Finance?"

With assets valued at US$ 1.7 trillion in 2013, there is little doubt that the Islamic Finance industry has passed its infancy. Well-known for its conformance with Islamic scriptures and the overarching prohibition of usury, its worldwide landscape has seen unrivalled expansion. Growing at 17.6% per year for the past four years, it has spread rapidly not only in its worldwide centres of Malaysia, the Gulf and its European strongholds of Luxemburg and the UK, it has also gained currency in the North African States after the 2011 uprisings.

"New Rules of the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts 2014: An Overview of Substantial Changes"
By: Jean-François Le Gal (London Office) and Iris Raynaud (London Office)

Following a two-month period of public consultation, the 2014 edition of the Rules of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts (the “RDC 2014”) came into force on 7 April 2014 . The new procedural rules include few substantive changes, the most significant of which concern the revision of the rules on document production (1), the possibility for litigants represented on a pro bono basis to benefit from a costs-free trial (2) and a welcome simplification of the enforcement process of arbitral awards (3).

"A Few Tips and Traps to Avoid When Forming a UAE Free Zone Company in Dubai"
By: Mark A. Dorff (London Office) and Eon de Quelen (London Office)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for companies to do business given its stability, low tax and efforts to modernise its business law regime. The Emirate of Dubai (Dubai) in particular is becoming a popular city for companies to set up, driven by the benefits that free zones have to offer. However, incorporating a free zone company in Dubai can be complicated. This article looks at what a free zone is; the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating a free zone company; what the free zone incorporation process is; and finally provides a series of tips and traps to avoid.

"A Welcome Clarification of the DIFC Arbitration Law - DIFC Courts Granted Explicit Power to Stay Court Proceedings in Favour of Non-DIFC Seated Arbitrations"
By: Iris Raynaud (London Office)

Since its enactment in 2008, the DIFC Arbitration Law provides in its Article 13 that, "if an action is brought before the DIFC Court in a matter which is the subject of an Arbitration Agreement, the DIFC Court shall, if a party so requests […], dismiss or stay such action unless it finds that the Arbitration Agreement is null and void, inoperable or incapable of being performed."

However, Article 7 of the DIFC Arbitration Law, in its 2008 version, left the door open for discrimination between DIFC seated and non-DIFC seated arbitrations, by specifying that Article 13 "shall apply where the Seat of the Arbitration is the DIFC."

The DIFC sees the rise of a "Dispute Resolution Authority" and "Arbitration Institute"
By: Ravinder Thukral (London Office) and Iris Raynaud (London Office) 

The Dubai Law No. (7) of 2014 Amending Dubai Law No. (9) of 2004 Concerning the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which came into force on 21 May 2014 after being issued by the Ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, establishes within the DIFC a "Dispute Resolution Authority" (i.) comprised, among others, of an "Arbitration Institute", (ii.) the creation of which raises a number of interrogations (iii.).

 

About Brown Rudnick

BROWN RUDNICK LLP, an international law firm with offices in the United States and Europe, represents clients from around the world in high-stakes litigation, international arbitration and complex business transactions. Clients include public and private corporations, multinational Fortune 100 businesses and start-up enterprises. The Firm also represents investors, as well as official and ad hoc creditors’ committees in today’s largest corporate restructurings, both domestically and abroad. Founded more than 60 years ago, Brown Rudnick has over 230 lawyers providing advice and services across key areas of the law. Beyond the United States, the Firm regularly serves clients in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

BROWN RUDNICK'S MENA TEAM acts for a wide range of clients across the region that includes government bodies, project finance sponsors, investment and development banks, funds and asset managers, telecoms companies and other business sectors, acting in relation to both contentious and non-contentious matters. Our work in the MENA region is undertaken by a team of specialists based in London and the US, which is multicultural and comprises US-qualified lawyers, English Barristers and Solicitors, and French Avocats.