Practice Areas

Ali & Partners is practicing exclusively in Middle Eastern Law and has acquired an International reputation in providing a full range of legal services on Kuwait Law, Iraq Law, UAE (Dubai & Abu Dhabi) Law, Saudi Law, Oman Law, Libya Law, Egypt Law, Lebanon Law, Bahrain Law, Jordan law, Palestine Law and Qatar Law. The following summaries, while not capturing the full scope of the firm's work, offer a general view of the areas in which our firm practices.

Areas of practice include:

Corporate and Commercial Law

Ali & Partners is a leading advisor on all aspects of doing business in the Middle East, including Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq and Libya. We advise a wide spectrum of clients on the intricacies of setting up business in the various jurisdictions and the legal ramifications of all the peripheral issues involved in the process. Examples of the issues with which the firm deals in advising a client on the formation of a business in a specific jurisdiction are: finding an acceptable agent, researching the forms of businesses allowed in the jurisdiction; structuring the business to conform to both the client’s and the jurisdiction’s requirements; negotiating and drafting the relevant agreements; and obtaining necessary documents and licenses from the appropriate ministry, to name a few.

Our law firm also advises its clients on more specific corporate and commercial issues. One of the most common and helpful services we provide to our clients is reviewing existing agreements and documents to determine if their terms are within the laws of a particular jurisdiction in the Middle East. We also advise clients doing business in a certain jurisdiction of obligations they may face of which they may be unaware, for example, disclosure and offset programs. As a result of having offices throughout the Arab-speaking Middle East, we are able to offer our clients a superior level of region-specific work, such as due diligence, translations and location of agents and other sources.

The firm maintains active contact with our clients. We monitor the local daily newspapers and the official Gazette of the various jurisdictions for items of interest to our clients and items that may affect our clients’ business dealings in their specific regions. Additionally, we monitor the legislative processes of the various countries and notify our clients of recent enactments that may be of relevance to them.

We assist foreign investors in structuring the appropriate form of business and in negotiating and setting up commercial presence region-wide.

While such services might be the run of the mill in certain jurisdictions in the Middle East they are quite complex in others such as Iraq and Libya. The firm has assisted many companies to set up entities in those two markets in an efficient and proper manner.

The firm also regularly acts as the outside counsel for major banks and corporations for all aspects of their corporate legal work. We also help negotiate, and draft relevant agreements and obtain necessary documentation and licenses. The firm’s clients range from small private businesses to major defense contractors and international oil companies, in a myriad of commercial, corporate and agency transactions.

Oil, Gas, and Infrastructure Privatization

Ali & Partners have an in depth understanding of the laws and the regulatory structure governing the oil and gas sectors in the Middle Eastern countries. It has been involved in major transactions and major arbitrations in this sector.We also regularly advise on these matters beginning with the tender process through the completion of the project.

The firm has had the privilege of working on several major projects in this area. Among these projects, for example, is the firm’s legal work on behalf of AOC (Arabian Oil Company), the Japan National Oil Company and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation in the negotiation of the surrender of the last oil concession rights and the creation of a joint venture company to take over the work covered by the concession in the neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The firm has also been involved in a major petrochemical project on behalf of the US Export-Import Bank and commercial lenders in the Kuwait Shuaiba Petrochemical Project ("Equate"), a $2.4 billion joint venture. The firm also represented a major U.S./French Consortium in a project involving the construction of a new wastewater facility and the conversion of the current wastewater treatment plant in Kuwait.

The firm was the first firm to publish articles on the legal structure of the oil sector in Libya and to counsel clients in negotiating their EPSA with the Libyan National Oil Company.

The firm is involved in counseling international oil companies on various aspects of the Kuwait and Iraq oil sectors and the structure of the state owned companies their procurement procedures both in the downstream and upstream operations. The firm has published articles in this regard in several publications including international oil and gas journals and the MEED magazine. Furthermore, the firm has been involved in several major projects in this area, advising clients beginning with the tender process through the completion of the project.

Trade Law

This area of law is particularly relevant to our commercial clients who have chosen to open branches in the Middle East region. Advice on these matters generally focuses on the regulations surrounding the importation and exportation of goods in the different jurisdictions. The regulations involve such issues as labeling, packaging, points of origin, etc. Additionally, the firm offers advice on the various customs duties and tariffs, as well as the possibility of operating in existing free trade zones in the region.

Intellectual Property

Another important aspect of business for corporations choosing to do business in the Middle East is intellectual property. Of course, each jurisdiction has its own regulations regarding trademarks and patents and our job at Ali & Partners is to advise our clients on these regulations.

Advice on these intellectual property matters includes searching, filing and renewing trademarks and trade-names, obtaining patents and patent registrations and preventing the unauthorized use of client’s trademarks, trade-names and patents. The firm advises on issues relating to various infringements, such as counterfeit and piracy, and on the means of remedying those infringements. Additionally, we advise companies and organizations on intellectual property rights obligation under the various multilateral agreements of WTO and WIPO and the compliance of the affected countries in the region.

The firm also regularly registers patents for major US companies.

Public Procurement

The firm actively counsels a large number of clients on a wide range of issues relating to public procurement by Arab governments, both military and non-military, covering all aspects of the public procurement process. Our work in this area includes advising our clients on the procedure involved for procurements in the jurisdictions, types of contracts subject to procurement laws and the different rules and regulations affecting the process. We also provide due diligence and assist our clients in navigating out of market place practices that violate local and US FCPA and similar laws.

In this area the firm represents a wide range of companies in all jurisdictions for non-military government procurement in addition to numerous defense contractors in jurisdictions such as Egypt, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria and Libya.

Taxation

A secondary aspect to our work in advising corporate clients seeking to establish businesses in the Middle East is tax-ramifications. We advise our clients on the tax implications of forming the various types of companies permitted under each jurisdiction. This advice includes advising foreign nationals employed in these jurisdictions, by either local or international corporations, of the tax issues they will confront. Our work also involves assisting our clients in resolving their tax issues with local authorities in the various jurisdictions, where necessary. We advise clients on the best structure, given the tax ramifications and strategic considerations, for tendering for contracts.

Telecommunications

Ali & Partners has been involved from the early days of the internet in this sector in the Middle East, particularly in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. We have advised clients on setting up Internet Service Providers and other International Record Carriers in different areas of the region, establishing franchise and agency agreements for satellite services throughout the GCC countries and advising investors in relation to mobile communications satellite systems and mobile phone systems in Kuwait and Iraq.

Our work in this area also includes internet-specific issues. Our firm advises and assists clients in settling domain name disputes and other internet-related problems. The firm has also assisted various financial institutions on their on-line service to their Middle East clients. We have also counseled a major satellite consortium on the telecommunications regulations of the GCC for the sale of telemedicine, tele-education and other telecommunications services. We provided advice to Intelsat and to service providers on regulations concerning earth stations, transfer and location and to internet content delivery network companies. Our firm was the first to publish articles on telecommunications regulations in the Middle East.

Labor Law

Our firm also provides labor and employment law advice to our clients. Much of the firm’s work is in the form of opinions to our clients relating to the labor and employment rules and regulations of the jurisdictions involved. For those clients establishing businesses or offices in a particular country, in addition to drafting employee contracts, we advise and assist our clients in obtaining all the necessary paperwork and documents necessary to obtain work permits for their employees.

The firm’s work in this area also involves more employee-specific issues, such as advising clients on the interplay of local labor laws and the laws of the country in which the employees where hired. Most recently, the firm has represented a major US logistical support company in a labor dispute and obtained groundbreaking decisions on the applicability of local labor law to foreign employees seconded to in-country projects. Furthermore the firm assists foreign entities in understanding the national labor encouragement laws (local labor quotas).

Banking and Finance

The firm represents a variety of local and international banks and financial institutions. It provides clients with a variety of legal services ranging from consultancy on a variety of banking and securities law and securitization issues to litigation and appearing as expert witnesses abroad. The firm represents international investment companies in structuring investment transactions with high net worth individuals and public companies. It also assists these firms in setting up foreign exchange transactions for spot and future contracts with local banks. The firm also has been engaged by a local bank to set up its virtual banking subsidiary. This project involved representing the bank in all aspects of the transaction starting from choosing the location for the virtual bank, fulfilling the licensing requirements, obtaining the technology, setting up controls, content provision, documentation and all other aspects. The firm has also worked on several major oil projects in this area, including providing legal work on behalf of an oil company and the back financing financial institutions. The firm assists foreign banks and financial institutions on various transactions ranging from debt syndication to sale of foreign securities, trading accounts, infrastructure project financing and general compliance with regional financial laws and regulations.

A related area of practice is the firm’s experience in secured transactions and advising clients on all available form of surety, guarantee, liens and mortgages.

Dispute Resolution, Litigation, and Commercial Arbitration

Ali & Partners represents clients in local litigation and arbitration. Ali & Partners has successfully litigated precedent setting cases in many Middle Eastern jurisdictions.

A major area of practice is to serve as co-counsel and/or experts on the laws of Middle East in legal proceedings in Middle Eastern and Western jurisdictions. Our attorneys have qualified as expert witnesses before both US Federal and State courts. In addition, our firm also participates in international arbitration proceedings on behalf of our clients.

The managing partner of Ali & Partners, Ms. Reema I. Ali, was the expert witness on Kuwaiti law in an ICC arbitration that secured a US $2.1 Billion for client The Dow Chemical Company. The case was brought by The Dow Chemical Company Inc. against Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Company (KPC), stemming from PIC’s withdrawal from a planned joint venture with Dow. Although the joint venture agreement included an English law choice of law clause, the case revolved around Kuwaiti law position as to the role of the Kuwaiti government in the oil sector and the Kuwaiti oil companies. The testimony covered almost every aspect of Kuwaiti law including the constitution, administrative law, company laws, commercial law, and oil sector regulations. Ali & Partners worked with Shearman and Sterling on this case.

The firm has been involved in numerous arbitration proceedings before the International Court of Arbitration and the American Arbitration Association and our lawyers are well versed on the UNCITRAL rules. Additionally, the firm’s several partners are members of the Arab Association for International Arbitration, the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation and Arbitration Center, and the Cairo Regional Center for International Commercial Arbitration.

Industrial Projects

Another area that the firm is busy in is that of Industrial Projects, where our lawyers assist and advise developers in mega projects. This work includes advising the client on administrative, environmental and constitutional issues, as well as dealing with various public authorities. As a result of the firm’s years of experience in this area of law, our lawyers have become experts on the administrative and business aspects of these projects in the various jurisdictions. The firm has represented clients in numerous BOT transactions.

One of the most recent areas of practice is advising clients on setting up manufacturing facilities in Libya.

Securities Law

The firm counsels a wide range of financial institutions, US and European, on a variety of securities matters including the applicability of the securities laws of the local jurisdictions to various financial and securities transactions involving local nationals and corporations.

Commercial Agencies and Franchising

In addition to the general corporate and commercial work that the firm practices in, we also offer our clients services in commercial agencies and franchising. We assist our clients by locating or providing background information on potential agents and, once the appropriate agent is found, by negotiating and drafting the agency and/or franchising agreements. More importantly, we provide our clients with advise on the ways and means of diluting the protections afforded to commercial agents by the laws of the various jurisdictions.

FCPA and Corporate Compliance

We are a TRACE partner firm. The managing partner of Ali & Partners lectured in numerous anti-corruption forms including the TRACE conferences. The firm has been one of the first regional firms to provide in depth advice on the local anti-corruption laws and FCPA compliance issues to assist clients navigate out of entrenched market place practices that violate these laws.

The firm regularly assists US companies in formulating corporate compliance strategies. Including assistance in negotiations with agents, distributors, due diligence, drafting of training manuals and policies; setting up compliance programs, investigation of violations and voluntary disclosure processes on behalf of numerous clients.