Philip Punwar is an English qualified practitioner with more than twenty-five years’ arbitration experience.

His recent arbitral engagements have concerned real-estate Mega Projects in the Gulf, investment treaty claims arising out of the MENA and South Asia regions, aircraft charter agreements, concession agreements in the water sector and technology disputes in the finance and healthcare sectors.

Philip has appeared as counsel before all levels of court in England and the Dubai International Financial Centre, up to and including the Courts of Appeal of each jurisdiction. He was the first practitioner resident in the UAE to be registered as a DIFC Courts advocate, and the first DIFC Courts practitioner to be appointed by the DIFC Courts to the role of Supervising Legal Representative (SLR).

He was an International Dispute Resolution Partner at both Fulbright & Jaworski LLP (2009-2013) and Baker Botts LLP (2013 – 2022).

Philip has significant experience of the laws and practices of both civil and common law jurisdictions gained as counsel and arbitrator in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He has a proven ability to work collaboratively as part of a team and when necessary to assemble and lead interdisciplinary teams of geographically dispersed professionals in the prosecution and defence of complex and high value disputes.

He is a member of the Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) Panel of Arbitrators, the Saudi Centre for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA) Panel of Arbitrators and the International Panel of the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA).

Expertise

Philip has been a Chartered Arbitrator since 2001. He has acted as sole, party nominated and presiding arbitrator in ad hoc, ICC, DIAC and LCIA arbitrations seated in the Middle East and Europe. He is a member of the Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) Panel of Arbitrators and the International Panel of the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA).

He has appeared as counsel in a wide range of disputes arising out of aircraft charter agreements, agreements for the provision of armed security and logistics in areas of conflict, real-estate development agreements, construction agreements, operating agreements, distribution agreements, investment agreements, production sharing agreements and diverse joint venture agreements.

Philip has acted both for and against sovereign and governmental parties in commercial and investment arbitration proceedings, as well as for high-net-worth individuals and family-owned businesses.

Philip was on the DIFC Arbitration Law 2008 Steering Committee. In 2007 he was commissioned by the UAE Federal Ministry of Economy to draft a standalone Federal Arbitration Law. Between 2010 and 2012 he represented ICC UAE at the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR.

Philip has over thirty years’ litigation experience. He has appeared as counsel before all levels of court in England and the Dubai International Financial Centre, up to and including the Courts of Appeal of each jurisdiction.

In 2006, he was the first practitioner resident in the UAE to be registered as a DIFC Courts advocate. In 2008, he obtained the first Freezing Order issued by the DIFC Courts and appeared in the first ever appeal to the DIFC Court of Appeal.

In 2009, Philip represented the first Claimant to succeed at trial before the DIFC Court of First Instance. In 2014 he was the first Supervising Legal Representative (SLR) appointed by the DIFC Courts and in 2015 he oversaw the execution of the DIFC Court of First Instance’s first Search Order.

In 2018, he was appointed by the DIFC Courts to oversee the execution of a DIFC Courts Search Order granted to the Danish Customs and Tax Authority (SKAT).

Related updates

Philip Punwar is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.

"Among the finest arbitration experts in the Middle East, he worked closely with the UAE Ministry of Economy on the drafting of a new Federal Arbitration Law."

WWL Arbitration, 2011

"An authority on arbitration in the Middle East and was involved in initiatives to modernise the UAE’s arbitration laws."

WWL Arbitration, 2012

"A big name in arbitration in the Middle East and impresses clients and peers alike in our research."

WWL Arbitration, 2017

"Has more than 25 years' experience appearing as counsel in a variety of commercial arbitration proceedings."

WWL Arbitration, 2018

"Very strong arbitration practice in the Middle East as well as his specialist expertise in disputes arising from the UAE."

WWL Arbitration, 2019

“Clients appreciate that “he is incredibly knowledgeable and has a knack for zeroing in on the important points,” adding: “His cross-examination skills are excellent.”

Chambers Global 2021, UAE – Dispute Resolution.

“Philip is always willing to engage and debate on any related issues and share his knowledge and experience to the benefit of everyone in the team. He is also a formidable advocate.”

Legal 500 EMEA 2021, UAE: Dispute Resolution

“Philip has real expertise when it comes to international arbitration…He is very reasonable to deal with and very straightforward“

Chambers Global 2022, UAE – Dispute Resolution

“Philip Punwar wins acclaim for his innovative work advising domestic and international clients on complex disputes in the finance and healthcare sectors."

WWL Commercial Litigation, 2024

To find out more, contact Sam Carter on +44 (0)203 989 6669 or Dave Lovitt on +44 (0)207 353 6381 for a confidential discussion.

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Philip Punwar

  • Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple since 2013
  • Honorary Overseas Member of the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR) since 2010
  • Former Vice Chairman of the UAE Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Former Vice-President of the Arbitration Steering Committee of the ICC UAE
  • Past member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR
  • Member of the DIFC Arbitration Law Steering Committee from 2006-2008
  • Member of the DIFC Courts Users’ Committee from 2006 – 2009 and from 2011 – 2013
  • Chairman of the DIFC Courts Code of Conduct Drafting Sub-Committee from 2009 – 2015 Chairman of the DIFC Courts Education Sub-Committee from 2013 – 2015
  • Member of the DIFC Courts Rules Sub-Committee/Committee since 2009
  • Director of the DIFC Courts Advocacy Training Programme from 2013 – 2015
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Pegasus Scholarship Trust and former Pegasus Scholar to Hong Kong
  • Member of the Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) Panel of Arbitrators
  • Member of the the Saudi Centre for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA) Panel of Arbitrators
  • Member of the International Panel of the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA)

 

  • The Rules of the DIFC Courts with Commentary and Materials (DIFC Courts/Sweet & Maxwell, 2011)
  • Commentary on the DIFC’s Contract Law, Implied and Unfair Terms Law and Electronic Transactions Law (The Laws of the DIFC (Vol. 2), DIFC Academy of Law/LexisNexis, 2017/2022)
  • Commentary on the DIFC Insolvency Law (The Laws of the DIFC (Vol. 4), DIFC Academy of Law/LexisNexis, 2020/2022)
  • A Guide to Arbitration in the UAE (ICC, 2020)
  • Philip is an experienced advocacy trainer (Inner Temple/DIFC Courts) and lecturer (International Commercial Arbitration, English Contract Law, DIFC Contract Law and DIFC Courts procedure).

  • Chambers Global – UAE and Middle East Disputes
  • Legal 500 EMEA 2024 – Leading Junior, Tier 1, The English Bar: Commercial
  • Legal 500 EMEA – UAE Disputes
  • Legal 500 Private Practice Power List Arbitration – Middle East
  • Who’s Who Legal – UAE Commercial Litigation
  • Who’s Who Legal – UAE Arbitration
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Global Litigators

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