Shabana Saleem

Shabana Saleem is an experienced international family lawyer and a barrister qualified in England and Wales. She is currently based at Outer Temple Chambers and works with Al Tamimi & Co., the largest law firm in the Middle East. Her expertise and access to experienced local advocates significantly enhances the handling of international family law matters, especially for UK or European nationals and individuals from other common law jurisdictions with connections to the Middle East.

Shabana specializes in complex financial matters related to divorce, including international jurisdiction issues, offshore trusts, family businesses, and asset tracing. She regularly advises, negotiates, and drafts prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. She is highly experienced in all private children law matters, including travel abroad, relocation or leave to remove, change of name or school, and cross-border child arrangements.

Shabana has a wealth of experience that allows her to provide expert opinions and support to expatriate clients dealing with the complexities of family law in the region. This is particularly valuable for clients who were married elsewhere or are nationals of Western jurisdictions, helping them navigate their legal challenges effectively.

Shabana is the first family specialist mediator based in the UAE. She engages with family therapists to support couples and families as required, to help negotiate effective cross-border mediated financial and child arrangement agreements. She is completing the Family Mediation Council accreditation with Resolution to further underpin her expertise in this field.


Shabana has represented a range of clients from individuals to trusts, foundations and family businesses on wealth preservation and protection. She advises on contentious and non-contentious wealth management matters.

Shabana recently spoke at a seminar alongside the DIFC to private wealth practitioners on the private wealth and family business opportunities in the MEASA region, the evolving Middle East locations and the legal and regulatory landscape for this practice.

She advises in all areas of family law. Her family practice includes drafting wealth protection agreements (Islamic marriage contracts, pre and post nuptial agreements). She also advises on contentious and non-contentious divorce, finance and children issues.

She has a particular understanding of the interplay of English law and Shari’a issues. Her co-authored paper The Legal Treatment of Islamic Marriage Ceremonies (Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 2018) was cited in the Court of Appeal decision of Akhter v Khan [2020] EWCA Civ 122 dealing with the validity of an Islamic marriage ceremony under English law.

Shabana is a specialist in mediating and arbitrating family matters. She works closely with clients to provide bespoke processes that support the amicable resolution of disputes.

Shabana is an advocate of dispute resolution, particularly mediation. Her legal expertise across a wide range of family law issues, including Sharia-related considerations, contentious and non-contentious divorce, finance, and children matters, informs her approach to conflict resolution.

She is the first trained mediator with specialist family law expertise and divorce experience based in the UAE. Her co-authored paper, “The Legal Treatment of Islamic Marriage Ceremonies” (Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 2018), was cited in the Court of Appeal decision Akhter v Khan [2020] EWCA Civ 122, addressing the validity of an Islamic marriage ceremony under English law. She has a particular understanding of cross-border issues with Sharia considerations. Her clients reside across expatriate hubs in Islamic law countries such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia and/or have connections to Islamic law jurisdictions.

Related updates

Shabana Saleem 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.

To find out more, contact Lexie Johnson on + 44 (0) 207 427 0801 or Matt Sale on +44 (0)20 7427 4910 for a confidential discussion.

Our dedicated practice management team can help you identify the right barrister for your case.

  • Resolution
  • The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn
  • Arab Legal Forum

  • Punjabi (fluent)
  • Urdu (fluent)
  • Hindi (intermediate)

  • Saleem S, Moldoveanu MC (2023). Building better foundations: the Dubai International Financial Centre foundation law consultation. Oxford Journal of Trusts and Trustees, 29 (6), 526-531. The publication can be found here.
  • Probert R, Saleem S (2018). The Legal Treatment of Islamic Marriage Ceremonies. Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 7(3), 376-400. The publication can be found here.
  • Saleem S, Fisher M (2016). Sharia Councils operating in private client matters paper submitted to the House of Commons, Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee dealing with Sharia Councils operating in England.

  • Scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators
  • International Commercial Arbitration VIS Moot (Vienna), Honourable Mention for Best Advocate
  • Ann Felicity Goddard Scholarship , The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn
  • Uthwatt Award, The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn

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