Year of Call:
Stephen practises commercial litigation, with a focus on international dispute resolution and arbitration, pensions, and financial services law.
His international practice is predominantly based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the wider GCC region. In the past twelve months Stephen has been instructed as sole counsel in a number of multi-million dollar arbitrations, including in the fields of construction, property and shareholder disputes. He has appeared in arbitrations conducted under a number of institutional rules, including the ICC, DIAC, DIFC-LCIA and ADCCAC. Stephen also regularly appears in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Courts across a number of areas, including applications for interim injunctive and Mareva relief, financial services disputes, employment disputes, and jurisdictional challenges. Stephen is also currently instructed in relation to a Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) regulatory investigation.
Stephen’s domestic practise is focussed on general commercial litigation, pensions and financial services law. He has spent time on secondment at the Pensions Regulator, as well as both the Enforcement and General Counsel’s Division of the Financial Conduct Authority. Stephen has experience in respect of both Part 7 and Part 8 pensions actions, as well as having appeared before the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator.
Some examples of Stephen’s recent instructions include:
- Acting as sole counsel for a sub-developer in an arbitration claim and counterclaim with a combined value of approximately $200 million (DIAC)
- Acting as sole counsel for a Master Developer in a $14 million arbitration claim against a sub-developer for breaches of its construction and payment obligations (DIAC)
- Acting for a large UK Company (led by Andrew Spink QC) in a pensions case raising giving rise to complex historic validity and rectification issues
- Appearing before the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator resisting action taken to appoint an Independent Trustee to the Merchant Navy Rating Pensions Fund
- Acting as sole counsel for the main contractor in a number of multi-million dollar arbitrations arising from a high profile infrastructure project in Qatar (ICC)
- Appearing before the DIFC Courts on behalf of a client subjected to a freezing order in a $30+ million civil fraud dispute, raising novel questions on the application of “reflective loss” principles in the jurisdiction
- Advising and drafting in respect of a substantial financial services regulatory investigation in Dubai
Stephen has a first-class degree in History from Oxford University. He completed his Graduate Diploma in Law with distinction, and achieved an outstanding grade in the Bar Professional Training Course. He is also a contributing author to Atkin’s Court Forms issue on Pensions.
Stephen is public access qualified and accepts instructions directly from members of the public.
International Commercial Litigation & Arbitration
Stephen has substantial experience of dispute resolution in the Middle-East, particularly for a practitioner at his level of call, having spent almost two years on the ground in Dubai working at a leading UAE law firm. Stephen’s practice in the Middle East has been predominantly focused on high value commercial and construction disputes, and he is regularly instructed to advise on the merits and strategy in relation to complex arbitral disputes, as well as drafting pleadings and submissions. Stephen has also been instructed on numerous occasions to appear as sole counsel, and represent clients at preliminary and full merits hearings.
Stephen has experience of conducting arbitration cases in accordance with DIAC, ADCCAC, DIFC-LCIA and ICC Rules. Some examples of recent cases include:
- Acting as sole counsel for a sub-developer in an ongoing arbitration claim and counterclaim with a combined value of approximately $200 million (DIAC)
- Acting as sole counsel for the main contractor in a number of ongoing multi-million dollar arbitrations arising from a high profile infrastructure project in Qatar (ICC)
- Representing the main contractor in a complex construction dispute valued in excess of $30 million, relating to a dispute over contractual variations and entitlement to an extension of time (ADCCAC)
- Acting as sole counsel for a high profile master developer in a contractual dispute, obtaining a final award valued in excess of $10 million (DIAC)
- Acting as sole counsel in an ongoing shareholder dispute in relation to a failed joint venture (DIAC)
Stephen also has experience of advising and representing clients before the DIFC and ADGM Courts, and advising on jurisdictional and other issues that arise in the UAE. Some examples of recent court cases include:
- Childescu v Gheorghiu and ors  DIFC CFI 074 and  CFI 032 (DIFC) which is a dispute arising from a $30+ million civil fraud dispute. The dispute raises novel issues of the application of principles of “reflective loss” in the DIFC Courts (led by Tom Montagu-Smith QC)
- Erik Rubinghv Veloqx RSC  ADGMCFI 0006 (ADGM) which is an employment dispute in which Stephen obtained judgment for $1 million, that has also raised novel issues in respect of the ADGM’s enforcement procedures that have previously been untested
- An ongoing claim before the DIFC Courts by a business against a bank for negligence and breach of contract, in relation to a number of fraudulent transactions that it processed
- Numerous applications for injunctive relief, pre-action disclosure, and jurisdictional challenges, including issues relating to the scope of the Joint Judicial Committee’s (JJC) jurisdiction that are presently under appeal before the DIFC Courts
Stephen is also currently instructed in relation to a Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) regulatory investigation.
Appointments & Memberships
- Lincoln’s Inn
- Association of Pensions
- DIFC Part II Registered Advocate
- Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
- Hardwicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
Stephen Doherty 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.