Philip Punwar

Partner

[email protected]

Dubai

P: +971.4.436.3690
F: +971.4.436.3790
M: +971.50.557.7980

Riyadh

P: +966.11.218.7800
Philip Punwar Photo

Philip Punwar is a practising barrister and a partner in the international arbitration and dispute resolution group of Baker Botts L.L.P.

Philip 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. Philip 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).

Philip 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 Philip 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.

Philip 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. Philip 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).

Related Experience

Philip appeared as advocate in the following DIFC Court of First Instance cases:

  • Action for damages for breach of an agreement for the sale of an interest in commercial property in the DIFC; first Freezing Order granted by the Court (before DCJ Michael Hwang SC); first judgment after trial in favour of a Claimant (before Sir Anthony Colman QC); leading decision on Freezing Orders
  • Shareholder dispute; application to strike out proceedings (before DCJ Michael Hwang SC); claim discontinued
  • Injunction proceedings in support of an arbitration under the DIFC – LCIA Arbitration Rules involving a claim for misrepresentation arising out of a contract for the sale of commercial property in Dubai; obtained the discharge of all Freezing Orders previously granted by CJ Sir Anthony Evans QC (before DCJ Michael Hwang SC); leading decision on DIFC Arbitration Law 2008
  • Injunction proceedings in support of an arbitration under the DIFC – LCIA Arbitration Rules involving a claim for misrepresentation arising out of a contract for the sale of commercial property in Dubai; successfully obtained the discharge of all Freezing Orders previously granted by CJ Sir Anthony Evans QC (before DCJ Michael Hwang SC); leading decision on DIFC Arbitration Law 2008

Philip also appeared in the first appeal heard by the DIFC Court of Appeal:

  • Resisted an appeal against the Court of First Instance’s grant of Freezing Orders in favour of the Claimant and the Court’s refusal to grant Freezing Orders in favour of the Respondents (before CJ Sir Anthony Evans QC, Justice Sir John Chadwick QC and Justice Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob); leading decision on Freezing Orders.

Philip’s recent arbitration experience includes the following:

  • Acting as Chairman in an AED 12 million arbitration between a main contractor and a subcontractor: UAE law applying; DIAC Arbitration
  • Acting as counsel for an owner developer in dispute with two contractors on two separate projects, each claim being for approximately AED 30 million: UAE law applying; Ad Hoc Arbitration
  • Acting as counsel for an owner developer in an AED 120 million dispute with a main contractor: UAE law applying; DIAC Arbitration
  • Acting as counsel for an owner developer involved in an AED 2.7 billion dispute with a main contractor: UAE law applying; DIAC Arbitration
  • Acting as counsel for an agent seeking to recover in excess of $20 million commission due: English law applying; ICC Arbitration
  • Acting as Sole Arbitrator in an arbitration between parties to a joint venture agreement: US law applying; DIAC Arbitration
  • Acting as a Tribunal member in an arbitration involving a claim for commission: UAE law applying; DIAC Arbitration
  • Acting as a Tribunal member in a $200 million arbitration involving commercial property: UAE law applying; ICC Arbitration
  • Acting as counsel for a professional services company seeking to recover fees due: UAE law applying; ICC Arbitration
  • Acting as counsel for the vendor of commercial property in two separate but connected arbitrations: UAE law applying; DIFC-LCIA Arbitration
  • Acting as counsel for a purchaser of commercial property in an AED 100 million dispute with a developer: UAE law applying: DIAC Arbitration

Awards & Community

“Philip has real expertise when it comes to international arbitration…He is very reasonable to deal with and very straightforward…Philip is very knowledgeable and does a very good job." Chambers Global 2022, UAE – Dispute Resolution

“Philip Punwar acts both as arbitrator and as counsel in high-value construction disputes. His broader practice encompasses advice on white-collar fraud as well as intellectual property and joint venture disputes. 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

Ranked as a Leading Individual in Chambers Global, 2009-2022

Listed in The International Who's Who of Commercial Arbitration, 2009-2019

Listed in The International Who's Who of Asset Recovery Lawyers, 2012-2014

Listed in The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, 2009-2019

Recommended by Legal 500 EMEA, 2009-2022

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