Has Dubai shot itself in foot again with “locals only” law?

Has Dubai shot itself in foot again with “locals only” law?

17 November 2017

After the shock of last year’s penal code amendment which said arbitrators could be imprisoned for bias, delegates at GAR Live Dubai have expressed dismay at what seems like another setback for the United Arab Emirates as an arbitral hub – a new law which permits only Emirati lawyers to acts in cases seated in the country.

Leading Dubai lawyer goes solo as arbitrator

Leading Dubai lawyer goes solo as arbitrator

16 November 2017

After 40 years at Clyde & Co, leading Dubai lawyer Alec Emmerson has told GAR Live Dubai that conflicts “have got the better” of him and he is leaving the firm to practise full time as an arbitrator.

GAR Live Dubai - in pictures

GAR Live Dubai - in pictures

22 November 2017

GAR Live Dubai took place at the conference centre of the Dubai International Financial Centre on 16 November.


Erin Miller Rankin

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Erin specialises in advising on contentious and non-contentious construction matters in the energy and transport sectors. She also leads Freshfields' construction practice in Asia and the Middle East.

Hassan Arab

Al Tamimi & Company

Hassan is a leading expert in all aspects of litigation and dispute resolution, with particular expertise in cases relating to banking and intellectual property rights. He has spent his career building one of the strongest and most successful litigation teams in the Middle East. Hassan is a DIAC Arbitrator and has been appointed a Member of the IBA’s Legal Practice Division Council and Council Liaison Officer to the Arab Regional Forum and he is a member of the Steering Committee of the ICC UAE Commission on Arbitration.

Keynote Speaker

Alec Emmerson

Clyde & Co

Alec moved initially into the shipping and insurance legal sector on joining Clyde & Co in 1977, having previously spent five years handling corporate insolvencies. Both these specialties were put to good use when he managed the Hong Kong office from 1984 onwards, handling headline cases such as the Carrian fraud and many "phantom" ship frauds.


Georges Affaki

Affaki Avocats

Dr Habib Al Mulla

Chairman of the DIAC Board of Trustees and Chairman of Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla

Essam Al Tamimi

Al Tamimi & Co

Ana Atallah

Reed Smith

Gordon Blanke


Adrian Chadwick

Hadef & Partners

Paul Cowan

4 New Square

Nadia Darwazeh

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle

Jane Davies Evans

3 Verulam Buildings

Jalal El Ahdab

Ginestié Magellan Paley-Vincent

Mohamed ElGhatit

OGH Legal

Amir Ghaffari

Vinson & Elkins

Caroline Kehoe

Herbert Smith Freehills

Dany Khayat

Mayer Brown

Yasmin Mohammad

Vannin Capital

Heather Nevin

Clyde & Co

Tarek Riad

Chairman, Dubai International Arbitration Centre Executive Committee and Kosheri, Rashed & Riad

Kim Rosenberg

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

William Rowley QC

20 Essex Street

Robert Stephen

Registrar, DIFC-LCIA

Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof

Director General, London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)

Sae Youn Kim



9.00: Welcome coffee and registration

9.30: Chairs' opening remarks

Erin Miller Rankin, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Hassan Arab, Al Tamimi & Company

9.45: Session one: IA and the impact of culture - how well are differences handled?

In international arbitration, where disputes often arise between parties from different legal backgrounds, how much importance should be placed on culture? Although arbitration aims to accommodate both legal and cultural differences of parties, how well does it actually do that, and what happens when it fails?

Our distinguished panel will explore situations where culture has played a significant role, and question whether more should be done to ensure that differences are addressed and accounted for.

Amongst other things, the panel are expected to discuss:

- How do cultural differences within a tribunal affect tribunal dynamics and decision-making?
- How important is it that tribunals have an understanding of these issues, and how can you assure that understanding is in place?
- What can be done to foster cultural diversity in international arbitration?

Georges Affaki, Affaki Avocats


Paul Cowan, 4 New Square
Ana Atallah, Reed Smith
Sae Youn Kim, Yulchon
Adrian Chadwick, Hadef & Partners
Dany Khayat, Mayer Brown

10.45: Coffee break hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills

11.15: Session two: The GAR Live symposium

Our espresso version of the popular Tylney Hall format

Nadia Darwazeh, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle
Essam Al Tamimi, Al Tamimi & Company

12.30: Networking lunch hosted by Clyde & Co

14.00: Lunchtime keynote address

Alec Emmerson, Clyde & Co introduced by Dr Habib Al Mulla (representing DIAC)

14.45: Session three: Projects in conflict zones

What challenges do projects in conflict zones raise for IA? Is IA well suited to these areas? From difficult legal questions to all sorts of procedural and logistical concerns, managing a dispute during a conflict is challenging for all involved, more so when one of the parties is a government entity. How is it done?

Problems that the panel are likely to explore include:

- What would we be expecting to see in the regional enforcement, given things in flux with Qatar?
- Do the standard protections found in BITs go far enough to protect investments in conflict zones?
- The problem of one country, two governments (e.g. Yemen - where two governments submitted and the tribunal had to decide which was allowed to make submissions)
- Force majeure claims
- How to get intelligence

William Rowley QC, 20 Essex Street

Kim Rosenberg, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Jane Davies Evans, 3 Verulam Buildings
Caroline Kehoe, Herbert Smith Freehills
Gordon Blanke, DWF

15.45: Coffee break hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills

16.15: Session four: The GAR Live Inquisition - on confidentiality in International Arbitration

In a new format for GAR Live, this session will replicate a US senate committee hearing with a succession of witnesses being ‘grilled' by a panel of GAR Live inquisitors.

The session will focus on confidentiality - how relevant and important is it? Is it holding back the development of common law, and if it is, should parties care? Is it making some disputes more complex than they need to be? Do arbitrators flip-flop because the scrutiny of their work isn't great?

Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof, Director General, London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
Jalal El Ahdab, Ginestié Magellan Paley-Vincent
Mohamed ElGhatit, OGH Legal

Amir Ghaffari, Vinson & Elkins
Yasmin Mohammad, Vannin Capital
Heather Nevin, Clyde & Co
Robert Stephen, Registrar, DIFC-LCIA

17.30: Chairs' closing remarks

Erin Miller Rankin, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Hassan Arab, Al Tamimi & Company

17.45 onwards: All delegates are invited to attend a post-conference drinks reception

DIFC Conference Centre, Gate District Building 4, Ground Level, Dubai International Financial Centre Dubai, United Arab Emirates


  • Engaging, detailed discussion of key themes of the year in this growing community of arbitrators – Paul Fisher, 4 New Square 

Ticket prices

Private Practitioner
Type Price Until
Super Early £950 6 October 2017
Early £1,150 3 November 2017
Standard £1,400 16 November 2017


Complimentary in-house/governmental registration available


  • Conference Materials