Paul Hughes is an experienced litigation and international arbitration specialist based in our Dubai office. He has been practising in the UAE for eight years and specialises in international arbitration, litigation and investigations across a spectrum of industries and sectors including infrastructure, technology, finance, retail and real estate. 

Paul is particularly known for his expertise in shareholder and company disputes and his practice is split between international arbitration and the DIFC Courts which he combines with in-depth knowledge of local UAE law. He represents parties before institutional and ad hoc proceedings under ICC, DIFC-LCIA, LCIA, DIAC, SIAC and ADCCAC Rules. 

Paul is regularly instructed on DIFC enforcement actions and has been instructed on several leading DIFC Court cases creating new law in the process. He has also acted on a number of regulatory investigations and inquiries (both public and private).

Paul's Arbitrator experience includes sitting as a sole Arbitrator under ICC Rules in relation to a dispute arising out of an SPA as well as co-arbitrator under DIFC-LCIA Rules in respect of a shareholder dispute.

  • Paul’s experience includes the following reported DIFC cases:

Ebrahim Al-Jassim v Socii Synergy Investment LLC and Others (CFI-031-2019)

Dispute arising out of high value shareholders dispute concerning online food delivery App (includes related Arbitration proceedings) 

Confidential DIFC Court Proceedings

Successfully sought DIFC Court global freezing order over significant sums (together with disclosure orders) against 19 Respondents on behalf of a Syndicate of Banks 

ED&F Man v RJ O'Brien and others (CFI-015-2018)

Claim arising out of alleged breach of restrictive covenants arising out of team moved involving anti-suit and springboard injunctions in the DIFC Court

Pearl Petroleum & Others v Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (ARB-003-2017)

Brookfield Multiplex v DIFC Investments and another (CFI-020-2016)

  • In addition to his regular arbitration caseload, Paul is currently engaged on two high value complex international shareholder disputes spanning several jurisdictions, both under DIFC-LCIA Rules. 
  • Paul also sits as an Arbitrator and has recently sat: 

as sole arbitrator under ICC Rules in a matter requiring a lengthy award on highly complex jurisdictional issues arising out of the interplay between the ADGM Courts and Abu Dhabi Courts. 

co-arbitrator on a three-member Tribunal under DIFC-LCIA Rules arising out of a shareholder dispute concerning a real estate transaction 

  • Given his experience in the UAE, Paul is often asked to provide advisory services and expert evidence in proceedings: 

Advising on interplay between the DIFC and Dubai Courts for the purposes of enforcement of a foreign judgment

Advising several UK and European retailers on the legality of franchise and commercial agency agreements and optimal forum for pursuing disputes. Advising on strategic approach given multi-jurisdictional nature of disputes

Instructed by New York counsel to advise on strategic interplay between UAE and DIFC Courts in order to manage global risk to litigation

  • Paul's practice also covers investigations and he was recently engaged by leading GCC Bank in respect of internal investigation and related Public Prosecutor proceedings 
Articles / Bulletins
Professional memberships
  • Registered practitioner in the DIFC Courts
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Associate)
  • French

"Addleshaw Goddard's Paul Hughes handles DIFC court litigation, including complex cases involving availability of injunctions, as well as shareholder arbitrations and project managing "onshore" litigation across the GCC. Key names below partner level include Antonia Grieve and New York-qualified Khurram Khan."  Legal 500 EMEA 2020

"Despite being a small team, they have handled some of the highest value and most complex cases in the DIFC courts." Legal 500 EMEA 2020

"Paul Hughes is a superb legal strategist who has a strong grasp of the legal and commercial drivers in any case. He is relentless in pursuing the interests of his client in advancing their case."  Legal 500 EMEA 2020

Ranked: Up and Coming, Dispute Resolution Chambers 2020

"Paul Hughes focuses on DIFC Court cases and is active on a range of commercial disputes, from franchise agreement cases to shareholder disputes. One client described him as a "tenacious litigator," adding that "he is a thoughtful and intelligent guy."  Chambers 2020

GCC Commercial Litigation products

Cost Control Guide

With challenging market conditions and an increasing reluctance to expend cash reserves on potentially costly litigation, the need for banks and commercial entities to properly manage their legal costs budgets is increasingly important. Businesses are becoming more aware of the need to manage litigation cost and risk and are looking for innovative costs solutions to help them remove legal costs from their balance sheet or at least to manage them with an element of budgetary certainty.

At the same time, there have been a number of important recent developments in how international courts and arbitral tribunals deal with the changing landscape of litigation funding, opening the door to a variety of potential cost solutions.

Addleshaw Goddard remains at the forefront of these changes, delivering alternative funding solutions as the costs environment develops, as well as providing its experience and expertise to resolve your dispute in the most cost and time efficient manner.

This guide provides a brief overview of different funding and costs options that Addleshaw Goddard is able to offer and sets out how these options (whether alone or in combination with each other) can offer businesses the budgetary certainty they need in an increasingly uncertain global market.

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Managing Corporate Relationships

Having seen a significant increase in the number of Joint Venture (“JV”) disputes in the GCC, Addleshaw Goddard’s Commercial Litigation and Corporate teams have pooled their expertise to provide a JV ‘toolkit’ which reviews the most common causes of JV disputes and how they can be avoided.  Whilst the focus of this guide is JV disputes, the lessons learned and the pitfalls to be avoided apply equally across all manner of corporate relationships in the GCC from distribution agreements to franchise arrangements, and from mergers to acquisitions.

Download the JV 'toolkit'

Debt Recovery

As market conditions in the GCC remain challenging due to a combination of weak global growth, the continuation of low oil prices and the straining of fiscal policies, the need for financial institutions and business owners alike to collect cash and realise their debts has never been more compelling.

It is for this reason that we at Addleshaw Goddard have assembled a regional team of dedicated commercial debt recovery specialists to assist you in managing your debt portfolio and recovering money you are owed quickly, efficiently and with the support of the latest advancements in technology.

Taking advantage of our extensive team and unique HighQ case management product, we can now offer you that all important fixed fee budget certainty to chase down your debtors and, if necessary, pursue legal proceedings in the appropriate forum.

Addleshaw Goddard’s experienced team in the GCC ensures a strategic approach to debt recovery, relying on a significant investment in innovative technology and know-how to achieve the quick resolution of disputes rather than engaging in a protracted and costly process. This means you can focus on what you do best whilst we pursue your debtors without any hidden financial surprises.

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Download our PDF guides for expertise in the GCC

Supporting retailers in the GCC


Master Community, Strata and Jointly Owned Property Schemes in the GCC

Real Estate Credentials