Our Doha, Dubai and London offices lead our global Islamic finance practice, and we work closely with other offices, including Hong Kong and San Francisco, and other practice areas including real estate and financial services.

We advise principally on English, United Arab Emirates, Qatari, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) law as they touch Shari’ah-compliant transactions and structures, and we work with other counsel to advise on local law issues in many countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain and Kuwait. We provide international and regional clients advice on local law security issues and have established a strong international trustee/agency practice as a result of acting on secured financings requiring agents for the banks in local jurisdictions.

We have strong debt capital markets and structured products capabilities, both internationally and regionally, and have developed innovative structures for clients facilitating access to the local equities and asset-based markets and mitigating foreign ownership restrictions and local law issues.

In the real estate sector, we build on our strong real estate finance practice in London to provide advice to banks and investors looking to structure Shari’ah-compliant whole facilities or tranches of facilities.

We combine skills across the whole cycle of Islamic finance transactions: our Islamic finance group works hand-in-hand with our experienced corporate and finance lawyers based in the Gulf, and apply their significant regional, European, U.S. and international experience to a broad range of corporate, commercial and regulatory activities including mergers, acquisitions and disposals (both public and private), joint ventures, equity capital markets, corporate restructurings, private equity, funds and regulatory matters. Regulatory matters include advising on product development, prudential and supervisory guidance for Islamic finance institutions, product marketing and distribution, and advising in connection with regulatory approvals for new institutions. We can service structures that have regulatory requirements regardless of their location, from our offices in the Middle East, Europe or the United States.

We regularly provide a one-stop solution for clients who are looking for legal and Shari’ah advice on new products and documentation. We work with a number of Shari’ah scholars based in different jurisdictions, who are able to provide Shari’ah law guidance, input and ultimately fatawa for clients across a number of schools of thought in Islamic jurisprudence.

The following highlight deals demonstrate our wide range of expertise:

  • Shari’ah-compliant real estate acquisition and development finance: £34m financing of a UK city centre retail store; $106m Murabaha facility to finance a housing development in Qatar; $90m Ijara financing of Dubai real estate; a $180m development financing in Saudi Arabia
  • Islamic compliant debt capital markets and structured products: establishment of a Sukuk programme for a global bank; advising an international bank on a series of Islamic structured deposit transactions; acting for a Qatari investment bank on the issuance of Islamic trust certificates under a $5bn programme
  • Combining Islamic-compliant and conventional finance in one deal: advising a family office in connection with a $320m syndicated refinancing including a $190m Islamic tranche; combining conventional and Islamic compliant sources to complete a UK real estate deal
  • Middle Eastern financial services regulatory and agency/trustee/delegate/custodianship advice: advising a global bank on the restructuring of $300m facilities; counselling an international bank on its role of delegate in a $100m Sukuk structure; acting for a global bank on the listing of a UK Islamic bank on NASDAQ Dubai
  • Islamic compliant project finance: an oil shale project in Jordan; and a solar project in Qatar
  • Corporate finance: $300m Murabaha facility for the acquisition of a Middle Eastern financial institution
  • Advising governments on Islamic finance initiatives: advising on the legislative infrastructure required to promote Islamic finance in an offshore jurisdiction
  • Restructuring and insolvency: advising an Islamic bank on its rights in Chapter 11 proceedings in the U.S.

Market Recognition

“K&L Gates LLP undertook a broad range of work in 2013, from capital markets transactions to property deals and regulatory matters. In Dubai, Natalie Boyd advised Deutsche Bank on the Nasdaq Dubai listing of Bank of London and The Middle East. Jonathan Lawrence co-heads the team from London. In Doha, Amjad Hussain is also recommended.”
Legal 500 2014

“Honourable mention” in Restructuring & Insolvency category
Islamic Finance News Law Awards 2014

“This team earns praise for its ‘excellent’ advice, with one interviewee stating: ‘They understood the transaction structure and how to handle everything.’ The firm has a significant network of offices across the world, and has a noteworthy practice founded on funds transactions.”
Chambers UK 2013

“The firm’s practice is ‘very competent and professional’“
Legal 500 UK 2012

“Jonathan Lawrence of K&L Gates is a finance partner with established expertise in the Islamic finance arena. Clients admire his ‘in-depth knowledge’ of his subject matter.”
Chambers UK 2013

“Head of department Amjad Hussain has significant experience on corporate and Islamic finance transactions in the [Middle East] region. He is widely respected by peers, while clients report that he is ‘very responsive, likeable and practical.’”
Chambers Global 2014 – Qatar chapter

“’Very strong’ debt capital markets specialist Natalie Boyd”
Chambers Global 2013 – UAE chapter