• Corporate Law/ Family Law/ Legal Update/ Wills

    DIFC Wills Service Centre launches new Business Owners Will


    The DIFC Wills Service Centre (DIFC WSC) has launched a new Business Owners Will to encompass both free zone and UAE onshore company shares (including RAKICC registered companies). The Business Owners Will replaces the DIFC WSC’s Free Zone Company Will, which was previously available to encompass only free zone company shares.

    The new purpose Will can encompass up to five separate shareholdings in any free zone or UAE onshore company incorporated in the Emirates of Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah, and will enable non-Muslim testators over the age of 21 to designate which beneficiary(ies) they wish their company shares to be transferred to on their passing. There are many advantages to ensuring that there is a succession plan in place with regards to the ownership and management of any company, including business continuity, sustainability, and reassurance that the business will be left in capable hands.

    The introduction of the Business Owners Will is intended to allow testators to take advantage of the proposed changes to the foreign ownership system of UAE based enterprises, announced by the Cabinet early this year. Once implemented, the new law will allow certain foreign investors to have 100% sole ownership of their enterprise, bringing the position of onshore LLC companies in line with existing free zone and offshore entities.

    The Business Owner Will is available to both UAE residents and foreign investors, and can be registered in person or via the DIFC WSC’s online Virtual Registry.

    For further information on the Business Owner Will or any of the DIFC WSC’s wills, please contact Victoria Smylie or Finlay Donaldson on +971 4 343 8897.


  • Corporate Law/ Family Law/ Legal Update/ Private Client

    Davidson & Co admitted to prestigious Legalink global network

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    Davidson & Co is delighted to announce that the firm has been admitted into the prestigious Legalink network, a global legal network comprising more than 60 individually approved and selected law firms from around the globe.

    Davidson & Co prides itself in its ability to offer a full service to clients, and by becoming a member of Legalink, Davidson & Co is now in a position to not only offer clients in-depth legal knowledge of proceedings in the UAE, but also access to dependable, first-hand legal advice from over 3,000 professionals worldwide.

    Davidson & Co recognises that in our ever expanding and internationalised economy, our clients’ private wealth and assets are no longer confined to one jurisdiction, and this most recent accolade cements the firm’s goal to understand the needs of its clients, add value whenever possible, and to ensure ongoing development and success.

    Further information on Legalink or its members can be found at https://www.legalink.ch.

    Alternatively, please contact either Victoria Smylie at vsmylie@davidsoncolaw.com, or Yousif Ahmed at yahmed@davidsoncolaw.com, both of whom would be delighted to answer any questions you may have on the network.

  • Economy/ Employment/ Family Law

    Visa amnesty begins in the UAE


    Starting August 1 2018, the UAE government have granted a three-month general visa amnesty for foreigners violating the residency law.

    All individuals who are overstaying in the country can either regularize their visa status legally or exit the country without paying overstay fines.

    For those who wish to leave the UAE, amnesty-seekers have to get an exit permit and emergency certificate (if they are without a passport) and have a flight booked for within 10 days of making an application.

    For those who wish to stay in the UAE, individuals can regularize their status if they have a job offer or apply for a six-month temporary visa to search for a new job. Additionally, absconders can get an absconding case closed for a nominal fee.

    The amnesty will run until October 31 3018 with a possible two-month extension depending upon the circumstances.

    For any of your visa, employment or company set up requirements please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Family Law/ Legal Update/ Private Client

    Enactment of the DIFC Foundations Law 2018 – enhancing succession planning and wealth structuring platforms in the region.


    The long-awaited Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Foundations Law 2018 (DIFC Law No 3 of 2018) has now come in to effect as of 21 March 2018. The new law, which is in addition to the pre-existing DIFC Companies Law and the newly reformed DIFC Trust Law, is intended to provide an enhanced framework for succession planning and wealth structuring platforms in the region.

    What is a Foundation?

    A Foundation is an incorporated legal entity, viewed as a hybrid between a company and a trust. Similar to that of a company, a Foundation is deemed to have a separate legal personality however, rather than being owned by shareholders or members, a Foundation is self-owned and administered by its Council, in accordance with the Foundation’s by-laws.

    A Foundation is established when the Founder places assets in to the Foundation to be used in accordance with designated purposes and objects.

    DIFC Foundation Categories

    The DIFC Foundations law provides for four categories of Foundations based upon their objects; 1) objects which are exclusively charitable; 2) objects which are not charitable; 3) in order to provide benefits to persons identified in its Charter or By-laws and; 4) a combination of the above. For all categories of Foundations, commercial activities must not be carried out, except where deemed necessary for, and ancillary or incidental to. the Foundation’s objects.

    Different governance requirements will apply depending on which Foundation is created.

    Key Benefits

    • Flexibility
    • Degree of control maintained by Founder
    • Family involvement
    • Maintain family ties for geographically diverse families and/or assets
    • Continuity
    • Separate Legal Personality
    • Independent
    • Robust governance structure
    • Facilitates philanthropy

    Who will benefit from the DIFC Foundations Law?

    Foundations can be created for a variety of purposes, whether it be to assist the multi-generational family with asset protection, the High Net Worth individual with geographically diverse assets, an individual or family with philanthropic objectives, or a company or family office wishing to restructure, the DIFC Foundations regime is a welcome introduction for individuals, families, businesses, and entrepreneurs alike both locally and globally.

    For further information on DIFC Foundations please contact Victoria Smylie on +971 4 343 8897 or vsmylie@davidsoncolaw.com




  • Family Law/ Wills

    DIFC Wills and Probate Register release new Financial Assets Will

    Close up Human Hand Signing on Formal Paper at the Table on Black Background. Retro Filter Effect.

    The DIFC Wills and Probate Register (DIFC WPR) have introduced a new Financial Assets Will to encompass money and listed securities held in Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah bank and brokerage accounts. The new purpose Will can encompass up to 10 separate bank or brokerage accounts, or a share in 10 separate bank or brokerage accounts, and is available to register online or in person. The DIFC WPR have partnered up with the Emirates NBD to offer a discounted registration fee of AED 5,000.

    The addition of the new purpose Will now means that there are 5 different forms of DIFC Wills available for individuals, depending on their personal circumstances and the assets which they wish to protect:-

    1. Full Will
    2. Guardianship Will
    3. Property Will (limited to five separate properties or a share in up to five separate properties)
    4. Free Zone Company Will (limited to five separate shareholdings)
    5. Financial Assets Will (limited to ten separate bank or brokerage accounts or a share in 10 separate bank or brokerage accounts)

    A DIFC Will is available to any individual who is non-Muslim and over the age of 21, with assets based in Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah.  You do not require to be a resident of the UAE.

    There are a number of benefits to registering a DIFC Will including:-

    • Avoids the application of Sharia Law to your Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah assets.
    • Promotes certainty as a Will ensures your estate passes in accordance with your wishes.
    • Saves undue anguish, costs, and administration for your loved ones at time of probate.
    • Allows you to specify who you wish to act as a Guardian to any minor children under the age of 21.
    • DIFC WPR have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dubai Land Department to ensure that at the time of probate, your property is passed in accordance with your Will.
    • No death tax applicable to Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah assets administered under the WPR rules.

    It is strongly advised that you seek legal advice and assistance when drafting either a DIFC or Common Law Will.

    For a free consultation, please get in touch to discuss your specific circumstances.




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

    Andrey Panferov heading up Davidson & Co Russian speaking desk

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    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

  • Corporate Law/ Family Law/ Private Client

    Davidson & Co ranked by Chambers and Partners

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    Davidson & Co are pleased to announce that Andrew Young, head of our Private Client Department, has been recognised by Chambers and Partners in their renowned Chambers HNW 2017 guide.

    Andrew is one of only two lawyers to be ranked Band 1 for Private Wealth Law in the UAE. Andrew is described in the publication as “practical and charismatic” and “very experienced”, with his strengths lying in “his connections and timeliness”.

    This is the latest honour for Andrew and Davidson & Co, who were recently ranked amongst the top 50 private client advisors globally in the prestigious Citywealth Leaders List, ranking number one in the Middle East. Both of these recent awards are confirmation that Andrew’s Private Client team, supported by the firm’s talented Corporate team, are expertly placed to advise wealthy individuals and families within the region on their private, transactional and business requirements.

    To find out how the Davidson & Co team could assist your specific requirements please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Family Law/ Legal Update

    New Dubai Law on Wills & Inheritance


    His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday issued a new Law providing a clear set of rules and procedures for the registration and enforcement of foreign Wills in the Dubai Courts.

    Law No.15 of 2017 regulates Wills, Inheritance and Probate matters. The new Law seeks to eliminate any remaining uncertainty on the subject by providing a clear legal framework for non-Muslim expatriates to draft and register a Will which will be recognised and upheld in both the Dubai Courts and DIFC Courts. The commentary surrounding the new Law also clarifies that any pre-registered non-Muslim Wills in both the Dubai and DIFC Courts will remain valid after its enactment.

    In light of the new Law, many non-Muslim expatriates are taking fresh advice on how best to put a new Will in place or update their existing Wills.  

    Davidson & Co are here to help and advise on any matters related to wills and inheritance.  For advice and more information please get in touch with our resident private client expert, Victoria Smylie at vsmylie@davidsoncolaw.com

  • Economy/ Family Law/ Legal Update/ Private Client

    Davidson & Co recognised as one of the top 50 private client advisors globally

    andrew young

    Citywealth Leaders List

    We are delighted to announce that Andrew Young and Davidson & Co have been featured amongst the top 50 private client advisors globally in the prestigious Citywealth Leaders List, ranking ahead of other private client firms in the Middle East, and cementing our position as market leaders in this area of expertise.

    Andrew has over 30 years experience advising individuals, families, and family offices in relation to both personal and business assets.

    Private Client Services

    As our economy continues to expand and the private wealth of individuals across the globe is on the rise, at Davidson & Co we recognise that it is now more important than ever to make suitable arrangements to manage your assets and your families future.

    Accordingly, we are delighted to announce the expansion of our Private Client team headed up by Andrew Young. The addition of Victoria Smylie to the team makes Davidson & Co one of the largest dedicated private client teams in the region.

    Andrew and his team are expertly placed to advise expats, UAE residents, or international persons with a connection to the UAE on:-

    • Asset protection and wealth management
    • Estate and tax planning
    • DIFC Wills and Probate Register
    • Multi jurisdictional estate planning
    • Multi jurisdictional structuring for wealth preservation and family succession
    • DIFC trusts
    • Foreign trusts

    The value of making arrangements for you and your families future is often overlooked, and there is a false belief that wealth planning is only suited to the rich and famous.

    In order to ensure that your estate, big or small, passes in a tax efficient manner, in accordance with your wishes, and without any complications or ambiguities, it is crucial not to delay making the necessary arrangements.

    Not only is Davidson & Co one of a limited number of firms within the region offering private client services, as a multi servicing firm, we are able to draw on the expertise and skills of our corporate, litigation and employment experts to provide an all encompassing service for you, your family and your businesses.

    Please get in touch to discuss your specific circumstances with our friendly team who would be delighted to assist.

  • 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.