• Property

    Landmark Acquisition deal with one of UAE’s largest real estate developers

    Landmark Acquisition deal

    Davidson & Co has acted for one of the Middle East’s leading construction companies in a share acquisition (valued at AED 230,000,000) from one of the largest real estate developers in the UAE with a prominent international presence.

    Our team worked together to complete this complex transaction within a demanding time frame. We delivered a range of contractual documentary suites that provided the framework and platform to facilitate the overall transaction. From the negotiation stages up to completion we worked together with the developer’s lawyers to achieve a successful completion and meet our client’s needs in advance of their expected timeframes.

    This was a significant deal and we are very pleased to have worked with our client in helping deliver an excellent outcome for all concerned. The transaction allowed us to showcase the strength and depth of our local commercial and industrial expertise and our unrivalled M&A practices.

    Managing partner, Jonathon Davidson commented, “This acquisition represents a significant milestone in our client’s regional expansion. The matter allowed us to demonstrate our deep understanding of the real estate and construction sector and we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with one of the Middle East’s leading construction companies on this transaction.”

    Reach out to us for a confidential discussion on Mergers and Acquisitions or general Corporate matters and to find out how we can help.

    Our team would be delighted to hear from you.

    Rhea Bindra

    Yousif Ahmed

  • Property

    Davidson & Co’s Real Estate team continue to feature heavily in high-end Dubai property transactions

    davidson- realestate

    Recently the press has reported on several high-value residential property transactions which have taken place across Dubai, including the sale of properties on the Palm and in the exclusive Emirates Hills community. One of the biggest residential property deals this year was featured in Gulf News involving the sale of an AED 90m villa in Emirates Hills, taking top spot as the highest value deal in Q3 2018.

    The firm’s Real Estate team continues to act in respect of many of these high-end residential property transactions for which Dubai has become famous. Founder and Managing Partner, Jonathon Davidson comments: “Our team has done many of these deals in which the property transaction is only part of it. Often accompanying the transaction is negotiating and dealing with the sale of high-end fixtures and fittings, fine art and decorative pieces which require specialist experience and expertise to navigate.

    Our specialist property lawyers act for a number of high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals buying and selling property in Dubai. Our team has specialist expertise in this area and in-depth knowledge of the local laws and regulations around all types of real estate transactions in the region. We can advise and guide you through the entire process of buying and selling property in Dubai and help with protecting your interests.

    Davidson & Co is one of the region’s foremost boutique commercial and private client law firms. Contact us today for a confidential discussion on any real estate matter and to find out how we can help.

    Our team would be delighted to hear from you.

    Yousif Ahmed


  • Corporate Law/ Employment/ Property

    Retirement Visas to be made available in the UAE


    The UAE will offer 5-year visas to expats aged over 55 who meet certain criteria in yet another relaxation of the region’s visa regulations.

    Who can apply?

    This Retirement Visa will be available for expats who are over the age of 55 and have retired from working.

    What are the criteria?

    Applicants must be over the age of 55 and retired. They must also meet one of the following criteria:

    1. Have investments in real estate worth over AED 2 million (~£415,000.00);
    2. Have financial savings of not less than AED 1 million (~£208,000.00); or
    3. Provide proof of a monthly income of over AED 20,000.00 (~£4,150.00).

    How long is the visa valid?

    The visa will be valid for 5 years, providing that one or more of the above criteria is continually met. Initial indications are that the visa will possibly be renewable.

    When can I apply?

    The UAE cabinet recently announced that the application process will open sometime in 2019.

    Who will benefit?

    Given the age requirement, the new retirement visa will benefit those who wish to continue to reside in the UAE full time without the more stringent criteria imposed by work visas.

    For further information on Retirement Visas or for any other legal queries, please contact Victoria Smylie on +971 4 343 8897

  • Corporate Law/ Employment/ Family Law/ Private Client/ Property

    Andrey Panferov heading up Davidson & Co Russian speaking desk

    piotr-chrobot-276746 (2)

    We are delighted to welcome Andrey Panferov to the growing Davidson & Co team.

    Fluent in both Russian and English Andrey has over 12 years of legal experience in both Russia and Dubai and supported by the firm’s talented legal team, Andrey is looking after the firm’s Russian speaking clients.

    Andrey is a fully qualified lawyer with expertise and knowledge across a broad range of areas including corporate law, mergers & acquisitions, commercial contracts, dispute resolution and construction.

    Holding a degree in Law from Russian reputable Law University, Andrey completed his MSc at Heriot Watt University (Dubai Campus) and trained to work with international legal practices.

    Andrey is based in our Dubai office and heads up the firm’s Russian speaking desk and is available to assist with any of your legal matters.

    He can be contacted directly at apanferov@davidsoncolaw.com or on +971 52 752 7758

  • Legal Update/ Property

    New UAE Pledge Law

    uae pledge law

    On 12 December 2016, Federal Law No. 20 of 2016 regarding the Pledge of Moveable Properties in Guarantee of Debt (“Pledge Law”) was issued and published in the Official Gazette on 15 December 2016.

    The Pledge Law, which comes into effect around 15 March 2017, will seek to introduce a new regime for registering a pledge (or mortgage) over movable assets (including future assets) which are pledged as security for the repayment of a debt.

    Previously, unregistered pledges simply created a contractual right that required enforcement by the UAE civil courts. The Pledge Law allows a pledgor to perfect its legal rights over the movable assets through registration. Once registered, the pledgor has priority over third parties, and the registration is deemed notice to third parties. The new law should also enable security to be taken over a much wider range of movable property.

    Key features:

    • Lenders will no longer be required to take possession of movable assets in order to perfect a pledge over the same. Instead, parties can enter into a written agreement which complies with the Executive Regulations (to be introduced) in order to create security.
    • Lenders may secure a pledge over tangible / intangible assets of a commercial business, as security for any funding provided to acquire such commercial business. Provided that the pledge is registered before the creation of any other rights on the relevant assets, such pledge will have priority over the rights of any purchaser or lien holder.
    • It is not yet clear to what extent this would replace the current use of commercial mortgages, which also secures an interest over tangible and intangible assets.
    Examples of registerable pledges Examples of non-registrable pledges
    • Bank accounts
    • Receivables
    • Commercial paper
    • Tangible and intangible assets (e.g. bonds)
    • Title deeds
    • Raw materials
    • Movable property affixed to real property capable of division
    • Future assets (previously not possible)


    • Moveable assets that can only be pledged by possession.
    • Assets where UAE laws require an interest to be registered under a specific register (e.g. automobiles, vessels, LLC company shares).
    • Personal goods, unless pledged as security for financing their purchase.
    • Proceeds under insurance policies (unless related to a pledged asset)
    • Future inheritance

    If the pledgor fails to perform its obligations under the pledge contract then the pledgee may (following prior written notice) request the sale of the pledged asset at market value within 10 working days, provided that certain conditions are met.

    There is currently no requirement under the Pledge Law for a secured creditor to be a licensed UAE bank. It remains to be seen whether this restriction appears in the Executive Regulations, or would be required in practice in order to register a security interest.

    At Davidson & Co we can help with all of your commercial or property law requirements.  For more information on how to register a pledge, including drafting a pledge contract, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Property

    The Dubai Construction Boom

    dubai contruction

    Although there is evidence of a settlement in present day Dubai that dates back more than 5,000 years, the modern transformation of the city largely commenced in 1966, with the discovery of oil within the area.

    Within just 3 years of that discovery, the first oil was being exported and there was a need for rapid development, putting in place the necessary infrastructure. What had commenced was a construction boom, dramatically changing the location and the landscape.

    As the oil price rose in the years that followed, the income enabled continued expansion and a series of infrastructure improvements. There was also recognition, however, that the oil boom couldn’t last forever: there was a need to diversify.


    This drive towards greater diversification has brought about a new construction phase, but one that differs from that driven by the oil sector. In recent years, construction has tended to focus on tourism, commercial developments and impressive new residential structures.

    A clear policy has been followed of attracting an increased number of tourists to the city, with many of the new developments proving central to that ambition. Commercial developments have also helped to boost inward investment, with Dubai now having a higher profile than has ever previously been the case.

    Plans to construct the Mall of the World, for example, reflect this focus: the project will eventually include three separate malls, 35 office blocks and more than 8,000 houses. This actually represents a scaled down version of what was originally planned and yet shows a commitment to constructing on a grand scale.

    New developments

    Such developments also need to be seen in context: on its own, the Mall of the World development would be a significant new inclusion within any city. For Dubai, it’s simply part of the current development boom, which also includes ongoing construction of Dubailand.

    Dubailand, which is not only known for not only high end residential developments but it will also be home to a number of new entertainment and retail complexes creating another part of the increasingly impressive jigsaw that has helped to really make a name for the city.

    Need assistance?

    For those looking to get involved in construction projects within Dubai, are there certain difficulties to be faced here that differ from those seen elsewhere in the world? Inevitably, there are local laws and regulations that need to be adhered to, ranging from corporate governance through to employment laws and the safety of staff, including contractors.

    Although it can seem like there is a maze of legalities to be navigated, our own experience within the real estate and construction industry means that we are well placed to offer the professional advice that is required to ensure that projects run according to plan.

    If you’d like to learn more about our services in this area, then get in touch today to find out how Davidson and Co can deliver real results for your business.


  • Corporate Law/ Employment/ Property

    An Insight into the DIFC’s Small Claims Tribunal

    difc small claims tribunal

    The DIFC’s Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) which was established in 2007 is becoming an ever increasingly popular mode of dispute resolution as awareness of its benefits continue to grow. Amongst its benefits, the SCT provides a hugely successful platform through which individuals and companies can resolve their commercial and employment disputes in a very quick and cost effective manner. This is evidenced by virtue of the fact that approximately 90% of cases are resolved within four weeks.

    The DIFC SCT is a Tribunal within the DIFC Courts and thus requires that a case falls under the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts. This is easily achieved since the DIFC Courts is an opt-in jurisdiction. In turn, therefore, and subject to the conditions referred to below, the SCT is an opt-in jurisdiction in which disputes are resolved in the English language.

    The SCT can hear disputes relating to the employment or former employment of a party (regardless of the value of the dispute) provided both parties jointly elect (in writing) that the dispute be heard by the SCT.

    The DIFC SCT also has the automatic right to hear disputes which are already the subject of DIFC Court’s jurisdiction provided the value of the claim does not exceed AED 500,000 regardless of whether the parties have expressly agreed to give jurisdiction to the SCT specifically (since in this context it is an extension of the DIFC Court’s jurisdiction). Parties can also jointly elect in writing, within the underlying contract (if any) or subsequent to execution of that contract, to extend this AED 500,000 SCT claim cap so as to specifically give the SCT jurisdiction to hear disputes worth up to AED 1,000,000.

    The SCT procures a rapid settlement of disputes, with a focus on amicable settlements. Upon the application of a party to initiate a claim in the SCT, a consultation is usually fixed by an SCT judge within 2 weeks, where the majority of claims are settled amicably. Failing amicable settlement, the SCT judge will schedule a hearing to resolve the claim.

    The DIFC SCT is increasingly being recognised as an ideal opt-in jurisdiction for Dubai based SMEs, looking for a comprehensive resolution of their disputes whilst minimising expenditure and delay.

    Opt into the DIFC to benefit from protection to small claims within the jurisdiction of DIFC Courts.

    Davidson & Co is a boutique law firm established in Dubai in 2008, with lawyers and legal consultants drawn from across the globe. Providing a unique combination of corporate / commercial expertise; dispute resolution solutions; as well as private client advice, we are able to cater to the mass market and offer unparalleled legal services in the region.

    For more information about our capabilities and accolades, please visit our website or contact 04 343 8897 and ask to speak to one of our associates.

  • Property

    Green building rating system launched


    How important is it that the construction industry should pay attention to the environmental impact of their work? Legislators around the world evidently believe that this is a relevant issue, with increasing attempts being made to ensure that new buildings are constructed in an environmentally friendly manner.

    There is undoubtedly an awareness that any building, whether built for residential or commercial use, has the potential to have a significant environmental impact during its life. Although it may be difficult to dictate individual lifestyle choices, there are clear opportunities to ensure that any such impact is kept to a minimum over time.

    The government in Dubai are following the lead set by other administrations around the world, with the decision to enforce new regulations in this area. Every new building will be given a rating, based upon how “green” that building is identified as being. Only those developments that reach the required minimum level (Bronze) will be issued with a permit.

    This is an interesting move, partly reflecting a desire to change the way in which Dubai is seen on a global scale. Often viewed as being an economy that is dependent upon the oil sector for its economic advantages, this impression hasn’t always gone hand in hand with the idea of environmental sustainability.

    The new initiative is to be known as Al Safat and was officially launched by Hussain Nasser Lootah, who is the Director General of the Dubai Municipality. He went on to explain that the initiative seeks to raise construction standards, with the key objective of establishing Dubai as having smart, sustainable city status within five years. That target may appear to be ambitious, but it seems to demonstrate that this is an initiative that has significant backing.

    Buildings will be rated on a sliding scale, from Platinum down to Bronze. Although the system is designed to be applied to new buildings, those construction projects that have already received certification will be required to apply again for a new rating certificate.

    The rating system tackles the entire life cycle of the building, starting with the construction phase. There is a strong focus on increasing levels of both energy and water efficiency, while materials that are used in construction are expected to be energy efficient.

    The new initiative may pose some challenges for developers, investors and those who own buildings, particularly given that there are some complexities involved in understanding the new regulations. But the basic objective here is clearly to improve energy efficiency within residential, commercial and industrial premises.

    If you need to know more about local laws, rules and legislation, then don’t hesitate to contact the team here at Davidson & Co for full, impartial advice.

  • Property

    Dubai property market insight


    Falling property prices have been a feature of the Dubai real estate market for the past two years, with brokers indicating that there was a 10% decline in year-on-year house prices during the first quarter of 2016. It would appear that there are multiple factors contributing to that decline, including low oil prices and the current strength of the US dollar.

    Analysts at JLL Mena, however, appear confident that the downward trend won’t continue much beyond the next six months. They suggest that one positive sign is that there has been an increase in sales volumes, which may be seen as offering an indication that the trend could soon reverse.

    Meanwhile, property consultancy ValuStrat have noted that valuations have been increasing in recent months, with Motor City valuations rising by 1.5%. Overall, they see the market as being stable.

    Rents have also been falling, partly as a result of an increase in the number of new properties coming onto the market. Some analysts believe that there is over-supply, but others are not so sure that this represents an accurate view of the current situation. By the same token, there is some disagreement about the future.

    The chief executive of Core UAE, David Godchaux, has suggested that there could be a turnaround by early 2017, but he sounded a cautious note too, arguing that the available data is not strong enough to place great confidence in this scenario. He points out that the “momentum is still downwards”.

    A report on real estate website Bayut.com, on the other hand, rather more optimistically suggests that there will be a return to growth during the course of 2016. In part, that optimism is based upon Dubai’s positioning as a popular tourist resort, ensuring that there will always be a steady flow of those seeing this as a desirable location in which to purpose property.

    Property investors, developers and those seeking to purchase or rent property will undoubtedly continue to monitor the situation closely. It’s evident that predicting the future of the Dubai property market is not an exact science.

    Here at Davidson & Co, we continue to offer our clients the services of our expert property lawyers in Dubai.  Our range of services include assistance with land acquisition and development, together with advice that is aimed at both landlords and tenants. In the case of problems, we’re also able to help with dispute resolution.

    If you need assistance with property law, then our team of local experts are on hand to help. Contact us to find out more.