James Abbott is Head of the Construction Disputes practice in the Middle East. James specialises in commercial litigation, arbitration and ADR. James has significant experience of cross-border banking and financial litigation, including fraud and asset tracing, regulatory investigations, sanctions issues, joint venture and shareholder disputes.
He has advised on a number of major infrastructure and construction projects and represents insurers and reinsurers. James has experience of arbitration under the ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, ICSID and DIAC Rules.
The DIFC Data Protection Law - proposed amendments
30 September 2019
ADGM Litigation Funding Rules
22 July 2019
The Judicial Tribunal decisions - emerging trends
12 December 2018
The new UAE Arbitration Law - another step in the right direction
31 May 2018
Emergence of a regional financial centre: Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) Courts and International Arbitration Centre (AIAC)
25 March 2018
Career and qualifications
- Durham University (BA Modern Languages) 1987
- Admitted as a solicitor in England & Wales 1996
- Joined Clifford Chance 2002
- Partner since 2010
- Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, (MCIArb)
- Vice-chairman of the UAE Committee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Awards and citations
- James Abbott is acclaimed for his strong regional experience, and is widely noted as a "safe, solid pair of hands." He is prominent for his banking disputes expertise, acting on high-value cases in the DIFC Courts and international arbitration tribunals. One source rated him as "a quality disputes lawyer.“
Chambers Global 2019
- James Abbott draws praise for his smooth handling of complex disputes across the region. Experienced in both arbitration and commercial litigation, he has advised on a number of high-value financial services disputes. He also heads the firm's Middle East construction disputes practice
Chambers Global 2016: Dispute Resolution – UAE (Tier 1)
- James Abbott is based in Dubai, and enjoys a consistently impressive profile for his distinguished work on disputes across the Middle East, including appellate matters before the DIFC Court and regional arbitration. Observers describe him as "incredibly capable."
Chambers Global 2016: Dispute Resolution – Middle East
- Clifford Chance's team is "always on the ball and provides intrinsic knowledge in line with the particular circumstances". The practice included to attract high-value disputes in the financial services and construction sectors. James Abbott is "a shrewd strategist and formidable advocate".
Legal 500 2016: Dispute Resolution – UAE (Tier 1)
- James Abbott is highly rated for his extensive experience in the DIFC courts and regional arbitration. Key areas of expertise include banking, regulatory and fraud-related matters, as well as shareholder disputes.
Chambers Global 2015: Dispute Resolution – UAE (Tier 1)
- The “reliable and dedicated” James Abbott serves as an important point of contact for several prestigious clients, notably in the construction and banking sectors. He is highly rated for his experience in regional arbitration and Dubai International Financial centre (DIFC) court litigation.
Chambers Global 2015: Dispute Resolution – Middle East (Tier 1)
- James Abbott has significant experience of cross-border banking and financial litigation, including fraud and asset tracing, regulatory investigations and sanctions. The firm also handles joint venture and shareholder disputes.
Legal 500 2015: Dispute Resolution – UAE (Tier 1)