Philip Punwar is a practising barrister and a partner in the international arbitration and dispute resolution group of Baker Botts L.L.P.
Punwar is an experienced civil and common law practitioner. Over the past 25 years he has appeared in a wide range of commercial proceedings in court and arbitration under English, UAE, DIFC and International law. He has recently acted in arbitration proceedings arising out of aircraft charter agreements, agreements for the provision of armed security and logistics in areas of conflict, sub-development agreements, construction agreements, operating agreements, distribution agreements, production sharing agreements and diverse joint venture agreements. Punwar has also advised clients seeking to pursue investment treaty claims. He is an active arbitrator and mediator.
He was born near London and educated at: the University of Birmingham (BA (Hons.) philosophy); the City University, London (postgraduate diploma in law); the Inns of Court School of Law & the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple (Barrister at Law); and SOAS, the University of London (MA, international studies and diplomacy).
Punwar was called to the Bar of England & Wales by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 1989. He was elected a Master of the Bench of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 2013.
He practised as a barrister in London until he moved to Dubai in 2005 to establish the English language disputes practice of a leading regional law firm based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). His practice outside London and Dubai has included short periods in both Paris and Hong Kong. In 2012, he was made an Honorary Overseas Member of the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR).
He has been involved in a number of government initiatives relating to arbitration. From 2007 to 2008 Punwar worked with the UAE Ministry of Economy on the production of the 2008 draft Federal Arbitration Law. During this period he was also a member of the Dubai International Financial Centre’s 2008 arbitration law steering committee. Since 2010, he has represented the UAE national committee of the ICC at the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR.
Punwar has lectured annually on international arbitration for the University of Pretoria and the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA) since 2003, and for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) since 2006.
He has been extensively involved in the establishment and development of the DIFC courts. Punwar has been a registered advocate of the DIFC courts since 2006 and a member of the DIFC courts users’ committee (2006-2009, 2011-2013); chairman of the DIFC courts code of conduct drafting sub-committee (2009); member of the DIFC courts rules sub-committee (2009 - present); chairman of the DIFC courts education sub-committee (2013 - present); director of the DIFC courts advocacy training programme(2013 - present) and guest lecturer in civil procedure at the DIFC Academy (2012 - present). He is also the author of the official commentary to the rules of the DIFC courts (Thomson Reuters, 2011).