The Middle East and India Worldwide Expertise

The Mosque of Al Azhar, Cairo

The Gulf Region

The Middle East comprises around 20 countries, each of which has its own independent legal system. The majority of international financial business takes place in the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (‘GCC’) which are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (‘UAE‘), Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Within the GCC most cases involving Expert Evidence have taken place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, two of the Emirates of the UAE, and Qatar.

Mosque of Ibn Tulun, Cairo

Each of the countries have established legal systems mainly based on Sharia Law which deals with both civil and criminal disputes. However, in order to boost their attractiveness to international financial institutions, a few of these countries have established financial districts, which have their own commercial courts and these have tended to be based on English Common Law. In fact they have gone further than this in seeking to recruit judges from established English Law jurisdictions (primarily UK and Singapore). It is also common that local solicitors frequently instruct counsel from the Inns of Court in London to argue the cases. In the same way it is very common to use experts from UK and/or the USA as the local pool of expertise is relatively limited.

The three centres are the Dubai International Financial Centre (‘DIFC‘), the Abu Dhabi Global Market (‘ADGM‘) and the Qatar Financial Centre (‘QFC‘). All three have established international financial centres which are special economic zones which have adopted regulatory regimes which are also based on the regulatory systems in the Western Developed countries. This lends itself to Expert Evidence’s area of expertise and as a result we have appeared in several high-profile cases, including Rafed Al Khorafi and others v Bank Sarasin Alpen Ltd and Bank Sarasin SA in the DIFC Courts in 2014. At the time, this was the largest private banking case to come before the Middle Eastern courts.

Dubai courts welcome international expert Thomas Walford for advice on the best practices in evidence of banking and financial cases in December 2017

The courts in each of these financial centres, are commercial courts intended to give institutions and operators in the financial districts the confidence that the rule of a predictable law will operate. It is also intended to provide them with the security and predictable judgement that they are used to in developed financial centres. Hence the courts have developed their own procedure rules that are required to be followed and this also extends to expert witnesses that appear. As is common in English Common Law jurisdictions the experts are normally appointed by the parties (rather than the court) and the rules tend to follow the same principles as laid down in the Civil Procedure Rules in England & Wales. For example in the DIFC has Rules part 31 and Schedule A.

Having a thorough understanding of the local culture and business environment is vital to being successful in the Gulf region. Expert Evidence regularly provides informal advice and input to local lawyers in these jurisdictions.

India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan remain less developed markets for international financial litigation but with the increasing development of both economies and with the growing power of their financial institutions we remain certain that it will be a venue for financial litigation in the future. The primary location for finance in India is in Mumbai (the original name was Bombay) and with a very active financial community there it will undoubtedly be on the radar for dispute resolution in the future.

The Laws of India do not follow the model used elsewhere of English Common Law and there exists a hybrid legal system which combines elements of civil law, common law and customary, Islamic ethics or religious law. These were amended following the application of an Indian Constitution to adhere to the UN guidelines on human rights and environment law. There also are certain Central Laws which exist throughout the country and also state laws that apply only in the local area. Understandably much of the legal system dates back to the colonial system prior to independence.

The main part of the law which applies to financial situations stems from the Indian Contract Law (primarily codified in the Indian Contract Act of 1872) and the Company Law (from the Companies Act 2013). This is for the lawyers. The role of experts remains similar to that elsewhere in the world and with global financial systems and with a very sizeable technology hub in India the role of expert is primarily to interpret the actions of the parties against international standards.

Expert Evidence has advised a number of Indian Lawyers primarily through their London offices.

Primary cases include:

  • Rafed Al Khorafi and others v Bank Sarasin Alpen Ltd and Bank Sarasin SA, Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, DIFC. CFI 026/2009 2014

Expert Evidence prides itself on assisting throughout the legal process where required and is a professional firm concentrating on the four main areas of dispute resolution; acting as expert witnesses in financial litigation, mediation, arbitration and adjudication. The firm has a civil, criminal and international practice and has advised in many recent cases. Areas of specialisation include banking, lending, regulation, investment, and tax.

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Disclaimer – Please confirm any of the above views with your solicitor. Expert Evidence takes no responsibility or provides any guarantee that the views above are correct for your particular case or jurisdiction.