Complex Made Simple

Stephenson Harwood and Dubai International Financial Centre Authority host ground-breaking employment seminar

On 25 November 2014 the Dubai office of international law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP, in partnership with the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, hosted an employment seminar targeting employers and employees alike to discuss the topical issue of DIFC Employment Law v UAE Labour Law. This was the first time a seminar had been organised which included a DIFC and UAE judge talking on comparative legal points.

The session was aimed at providing the audience with a flavour of the typical issues employers and employees face during and post the employment relationship. Over one hundred questions were submitted during the course of the seminar, highlighting the high level of interest from the delegates.

The seminar tackled the key issues of termination and restrictive covenants and looked at aspects from both a DIFC and UAE perspective. An expert panel which included HE Justice Ali Al Madhani (DIFC Courts Judge), HE Mohammed Abo Sbiha (Dubai Courts Judge), Nasser Malalla Ghanem (Senior Partner, Nasser Malalla Advocates & Legal Consultants) and Bushra Ahmed (Barrister & Head of Dispute Resolution, KBH Kaanuun) led the discussions with Shiraz Sethi (an experienced employment law practitioner) of Stephenson Harwood moderating the proceedings and inviting questions from the audience through their individual ipads, which were given to each attendee during the registration process. In addition, a number of live polling questions were put to the audience and ‘real time’ results were projected to the big screens and discussed by the panel.

Shiraz Sethi, Stephenson Harwood, commented, “In 2013, there were 55 employment cases within the DIFC Courts alone in comparison with 6,400 employment cases within the Dubai Courts covering onshore Dubai and all other free-zones. The DIFC Courts are fast becoming the dispute resolution centre of choice for those who seek a common law jurisdiction to effectively tackle disputes.”

Over 200 senior HR and legal professionals from local and international firms across many sectors – as well as VIPs in the DIFC and UAE judiciaries – packed the DIFC Conference Centre to attend this innovative and thought provoking seminar. It was also followed online by people across the globe that joined the seminar through the live video web-link sponsored by Thomson Reuters.

Stephenson Harwood and DIFC Authority co-hosted this seminar in support of the DIFC Courts Pro Bono Programme, which was also represented at the seminar. Stephenson Harwood regularly advises clients on the pro bono programme and is an integral part of the set up.