• Corporate Law/ Economy/ Legal Update

    Lack of Local Market Knowledge Hinders Legal Practice in Dubai

    difc courts

    Many foreign and international law firms have setup and established their legal practice in Dubai in order to benefit from a growing demand for corporate legal services in the country. The metropolis has served as a magnet for international business community, and investors from Europe, North America and other nations in the Middle East confidently invest their capital in Dubai’s industrial base and commercial activities. Both local firms and multinationals corporations operating in Dubai require specialist legal services concerning a wide range of business matters, such as corporate acquisitions, business restructuring, dispute resolution and intellectual property rights.

    Although there are literally hundreds of law firms actively practicing law and serving the business community, there are a very few truly professional law firms who understand the unique demands and challenges of a corporate client. The law market in UAE lacks a strong regulatory framework and most law firms are neither equipped with the necessary experience nor a strategic approach towards providing quality corporate services. Davidson and Co is an international law firm serving the regional market for more than 50 years. The firm is dedicated to the practice of law and offers a full range service to corporate clients including tax reclaim services, dispute resolution, intellectual property, financial advice and real estate activities.

    For most international law firms setting up their legal practice abroad, the major shortcoming is the inability to understand the legal environment of a country and how it affects the local businesses. At the moment, the majority of foreign attorneys, legal consultants and law firms practicing in Dubai work in the capacity of a legal advisor only. Their profession and knowledge is limited and they lack an in-depth familiarity with the regional market. Most of these lawyers are unable to provide a specialised, personalised and professional legal service to the growing demands of the business community as this requires extended stay in the metropolis to fully understand and appreciate the nuances of the regional and national law.

    Having had an experience spanning five decades, Davidson and Co is among the few international law firms in Dubai who fully understand and acknowledge the legal challenges of setting up business and working in UAE, and adopts a tailored approach towards addressing the needs and concerns of every client. Dubai is ‘over-lawyered’ but quality legal advice, consultation and practice are still not within the reach of many corporations and businesses operating all over the country. Davidson and Co has modelled its legal practice on both international legal standards as well as sensitivity to local needs and requirements in the matter. The firm’s unique selling point is quality and the professional lawyers and attorneys working for Davidson and Co have a wealth of knowledge and experience of the regional legal environment.




  • Family Law

    Private Clients: An Untapped Market in Dubai

    private client legal services

    The legal industry in Dubai is booming and has been experiencing lucrative growth since the past decade. The UAE government also acts as a catalyst and has established regulations that allow unrestricted entry and practice of foreign law firms in the country. This allows law firms to work and compete freely side by side and provide high quality, timely and expert legal service.

    However, most of these law firms deal in business matters and serve mostly commercial and industrial entities. The middle-class households and private clients, therefore, remain a widely untapped, unexplored marketplace for legal services in Dubai.

    UAE enjoys a unique status in providing access to and affordability of civil legal service across the nation. The gap that exists between the legal needs of middle class households and the number of lawyers and law firms who are able and willing to serve them represents a potential market in the overall legal landscape in UAE. For the growing number of private clients and households seeking legal advice and services, there are not enough legal practitioners who can offer a quality and professional service. Davidson and Co understands this widening gap and has taken positive initiatives to provide a specialist legal service for private clients. The firm has a dedicated private client unit that understands the unique needs of middle-class households who require specialist private client legal advisory service ranging from Wills & Estate planning to family disputes and succession planning. Although Davidson and Co enjoys an excellent reputation in the corporate law practice and serves hundreds of corporate clients in Dubai, it is still catering to a growing middle-class consumer market in Dubai who require specialist services in matters of family governance and other civil law issues.

    Limited exposure and knowledge of private clients greatly affects their ability to seek viable solutions in legal matters. Many households and families residing in Dubai and other parts of UAE require bundled or unbundled legal services, but due to their limited knowledge and exposure, they are unable to obtain the kind of quality they are looking for from an attorney or law firm. Most of them are even unsure about their rights and position in the case and are frequently taken advantage of due to their ignorance. In such a scenario, the legal profession must understand and acknowledge the growing demand for legal advice and litigation from private legal customers and clients. There is a market gap for those individuals/families seeking legal help with private concerns and is yet to be addressed by a majority of the legal fraternity in Dubai.

    This growing yet under-served market offers great potential for attorneys and legal firms all over the country and Davidson and Co responds to its private patrons with dedication, professionalism, and a highly-personalised service. While specialising in corporate services and international business law practices, Davidson and Co also caters to the private legal consumer in addressing family disputes, dual citizenship, wealth planning and immigration to UAE.

  • Uncategorized

    Biased Arbitrators Could Face Jail in UAE

    dubai lawyers

    The UAE, and principally Dubai, prides itself on fast-becoming one of the leading international arbitration seats in the World.  However, the recent amendment to Article 257 of the UAE Penal Code now imposes criminal liability on arbitrators found to have issued biased decisions, and casts a shadow over the future of Dubai’s arbitration reputation.

    On 29 October 2016, Federal Law No. 7 of 2016 revised Article 257 of the UAE Penal Code to read as follows:

    “An expert, arbitrator or translator or investigator who is appointed by a judicial or an administrative authority or elected by the parties, and who issues a decision or expresses an opinion or submits a report or presents a cause or proves an incident, in favour of a person or against him, contrary to the duty of fairness and unbiasedness, shall be punished by temporary imprisonment.”
    Grose, (unofficial translation)

    To clarify – the recent amendment brings only arbitrators into the equation, conforming their position with that of court-appointed experts and translators. All biased, judicially-appointed decision makers, or quasi-decision makers, who consciously exercise undue influence will be held accountable.  This intention is well-founded.

    Whilst there exists a number of checks and balances on arbitrator impartiality, upholstered by institutional rules (e.g. DIAC Rules, ICC Rules), the consequences of breach are of a civil nature.  Understandably, introducing a criminal aspect at Federal-law level into the mix has caused widespread concern amongst the international arbitral community. 

    Firstly, the practical reality is that many arbitrators will likely think twice about accepting UAE-based appointments – not because they have predisposed opinions, but because there is now a peg upon which unscrupulous parties may hang their complaint.  We may see a shift in arbitrators dealing with arbitrations at an arm’s length – from the safety of their overseas seats.

    Secondly, unwarranted opportunities may arise for procedural delay, pending a criminal investigation.  Although a criminal complaint alone should not be enough to suspend proceedings, tribunal members have been known targets of disgruntled parties hoping to kick the can down the road. Notwithstanding, it is doubtful that the introduction of a specific offence will affect the commercial decision that a party inclined to deploy such tactics must perform. 

    Despite the sensationalism this new law has attracted, there seems to be a high enough standard for an accuser to substantiate a claim under Article 257.  There must be sufficient evidence that the content of an award or decision in favour of one party is biased, and that such bias is connected to the illegitimate reasoning of the arbitrator.  It is hoped that this burden distinguishes the spurious allegations from those with merit.