Arbitration in the UAE



Client: International contractor


Industry: Infrastructure


When an engineering project in the UAE fell into dispute, the contractor sought Fenwick Elliott’s help to make a series of claims including in relation to failure to pay, reduction in its scope of works, unlawful termination and illegal retention of its equipment on-site. The client also faced a counterclaim for the costs of completing the works.

When Fenwick Elliott came on board, it found that the claims had been poorly argued by our client’s original claims consultants. The claims had been exaggerated to such an extent that they risked being thrown out, regardless of merit.

It also became clear that no attempt had been made to consider the claims against the framework of the local contract law.


Fenwick Elliott took the lead in preparing and finalising client’s case to make sure the legal grounds of the claim were clear, that the alleged loss amount was reasonable and provable, and that proper local legal advice had been obtained.

Fenwick Elliott then ran the arbitration hearing including making written cost submissions.


The client won the case and was awarded a large proportion of its costs. Because of the precautions Fenwick Elliott had taken by seeking specific UAE legal advice, the award was enforced and monies paid.

As a longer-term benefit, the client learned that exaggerated claims can undermine a case and jeopardise a favourable outcome.