Nassif BouMalhab is a barrister and solicitor. He is the Lead Partner of Clyde & Co’s Middle East Arbitration Group and based in the Dubai office since 2009.
Nassif has been resolving complex business disputes for over 20 years.
He regularly represents parties in corporate and commercial disputes before the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Courts, and international arbitration tribunals. He also advises on disputes pleaded in Arabic and English before the onshore courts of the United Arab Emirates.
In arbitration, Nassif has resolved disputes under a long list of arbitration rules including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Rules of Arbitration, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Rules, the DIFC-LCIA Rules, and the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) Arbitration Rules.
He has assisted parties in hundreds of court cases and appeared as party counsel in over 50 arbitration cases.
In addition to his work as party counsel, Nassif is regularly appointed to arbitration tribunals established to determine corporate and commercial disputes involving investments in the Middle East. He is consulted by lawmakers on the reform of legislation and rules of international arbitration. Nassif is a member of the Executive Committee of the Sharjah International Commercial Arbitration Centre known as TAHKEEM.
Nassif has received a long list of professional and academic awards and is recognised as a leading lawyer in his field of practice.
Who’s Who Legal (WWL) and Global Arbitration Review (GAR) acknowledge Nassif as a Global Leader in international arbitration in the WWL Arbitration 2023 research report. According to WWL and GAR research, piers and clients say: “Nassif is smart, responsive and a pleasure to work with”; “He’s excellent – I hold him in very high regard”; and “He is a safe pair of hands”. Additionally, Nassif is among a short list of lawyers recommended by WWL for hospitality disputes in the United Arab Emirates.
The Legal 500 research report 2023 lists Nassif among 10 Leading Individuals in the United Arab Emirates for dispute resolution in arbitration and international litigation. Four out of the 10 lawyers listed by The Legal 500 are Partners at Clyde & Co.
Arabian Business recognised Nassif in its Legal Eagles list 2021: “A snapshot of legal practitioners making waves in Dubai”.
In its first MENA Super 50 Lawyers list published in 2021, Asia Legal Business listed Nassif as a standout lawyer in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Chambers and Partners lists Nassif among 20 lawyers rated Middle East-wide. Clyde & Co is rated Band 1 Middle East-wide by Chambers and Partners and out of the 20 lawyers rated Middle East-wide, two are Clyde & Co lawyers.
Nassif was listed among Asian-MENA Counsel's External Counsel of the Year 2013 for the United Arab Emirates as voted by the In-House Community, where in-house counsel is reported to have said "[Nassif] is the best arbitration lawyer".
Other awards and distinctions earned include:
- Mark MacGuigan Award and McCarthy Tetrault Award for placing first at the Laskin Moot, a national mooting competition in Canadian constitutional and administrative law
- POLAJ Prize awarded by the Department of Justice Canada for excellence in written and oral expression in both official languages (French and English)
- Fraser Milner Casgrain Award for excellence in oral pleading
- Gowling Lafleur Henderson Award for a paper on the jurisdiction of the World Trade Organisation Appellate Body in international trade regulation
- Stikeman Elliott / Carswell National Tax Award
- Gaston Descoteaux Award for labour and employment law
Registrations and memberships include:
- Member of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) – 2019
- Member of the Executive Committee of the Sharjah International Commercial Arbitration Centre (TAHKEEM) – 2017
- Registered Practitioner in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts – 2012
- Registered Foreign Lawyer with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales) – 2012
- Registered Legal Consultant with the Dubai Legal Affairs Department – 2011
- Member of the Barreau du Québec (Québec Bar) – 2003
- Member of the Canadian Bar Association – 2003
- LL.B. (Common Law), with honour, University of Ottawa – 2002
- LL.L. (Civil Law), with highest honour, University of Ottawa – 2001
Nassif is a Canadian national. He is fluent in English and French, and is Arabic speaking.
- Representing a Dubai Financial Market (DFM) listed company in ADGM Courts proceedings alleging financial crimes in excess of US$150 million
- Representing investors in GTL Trading in connection with alleged financial crimes in excess of US$36 million
- Representing a banking company listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) stock exchange in real estate investment disputes in excess of US$500 million administered by the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC)
- Co-counsel defending Canadian generic drug manufacturers in a CAD$3.9 billion class action claim before the Québec Courts (reported amongst the Big Deals in LEXPERT®, September 2008 edition; and in les affaires.com)
- Representing a publicly listed steel company in precautionary attachment proceedings, freezing before judgment bank accounts, inventory and other assets in Dubai of a circa US$8 million trade debtor
- Defending a leading Middle East insurance company in Dubai Court proceedings arising in connection with advance payment guarantee and performance bond claims in excess of US$40 million
- Representing a multinational logistics company in connection with business crimes alleged to have been committed by a former Director
- Representing one of the world's top 10 transport and logistics companies in connection with employee fraud in the United Arab Emirates and India
- Advising one of the Big Four audit firms in connection with the alleged misconduct of a Managing Partner based in the Kingdom of Jordan
- Defending one of the Big Four audit firms in connection with alleged liability claims before the Dubai Courts in connection with the audit of accounts of a business conglomerate based in the United Arab Emirates
- Representing a military defence company in connection with business crimes
- Representing a fuels supplier to the United States of America Department of Defence, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in arbitration proceedings claiming in excess of US$64 million administered by the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC)
- Representing a fuels supply and transportation company in claims in excess of US$85 million in connection with the termination of a transport services agreement providing for arbitration under the DIAC Arbitration Rules 2007
- Defending a fuels supply and transportation company in arbitration claims in excess of US$35 million administered by the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC)
- Representing a security management company in arbitration proceedings administered by the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) against a provider of armed security services in areas of conflict, with claims in excess of US$180 million
- Representing a fuels supplier in Afghan Chamber of Commerce & Industries (ACCI) administered mediation with a fuels transporter
- Representing the former Managing Partner of the Kuwait office of a competing international law firm in his claims against the firm under partnership and joint venture agreements subject to arbitration administered by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
- Advising a Qatari bank on an inter-banking dispute before the Abu Dhabi Courts arising in relation to back-to-back bank guarantees and other security for payment
- Advising a leading publicly listed hospitality company in connection with disputes arising out of hotel management (and related) agreements and subject to arbitration administered by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
- Defending a leading publicly listed hospitality company in connection with Dubai Court proceedings instituted by a sales and marketing representative for the Middle East claiming in excess of US$3.9 million
- Defending a Japanese automobile manufacturer in proceedings before the Abu Dhabi Courts in connection with claims by a former registered sales agent
- Representing a property developer in arbitration claims arising out of the off-plan sale and purchase of real estate in Dubai and obtaining judgments of the Dubai Court of Cassation annulling several arbitration awards (reported in Emirates 24/7; featured in Westlaw Gulf Update No. 9; and The Brief, May 2012 edition)
- Advising Zurich Insurance Company Ltd in connection with its acquisition of Compagnie Libanaise d'Assurances SAL (also known as Lebanese Insurance Company)
- Representing a London Stock Exchange (LSE) listed provider of diversified engineering and contracting services in connection with a shareholder dispute in a United Arab Emirates subsidiary
- Advising on a shareholder dispute in an insurance underwriting company established in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)
- Advising on a shareholder dispute in the context of provisional liquidation proceedings before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the High Court of Justice Commercial Division of the British Virgin Islands
- Assisting liquidators of a British Virgin Islands investment company in obtaining disclosure in Dubai of company records and bank statements further to a request for judicial assistance to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts
- Defending a global petrochemical products company in Dubai Court proceedings arising out of the termination of agreements for the distribution of lubricants in Iraq
- Defending one of Russia's largest oil companies before the Dubai Courts in a commercial dispute of US$79 million arising out of the alleged wrongful termination of a lease
- Representing a reality show producer in Court administered mediation with a provider of defective video recording equipment
- Advising a Middle East television network in connection with claims arising under a programme distribution agreement
- Representing an aircraft owner in precautionary attachment proceedings, freezing bank accounts and repossessing an aircraft located at Dubai International Airport (DXB) operated by a defaulting lessee