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Amir Ghaffari

Amir Ghaffari Partner, International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration

Amir is an experienced international arbitration partner. He has acted as counsel in more than 75 international commercial and construction arbitrations administered under the rules of all the major arbitral institutions, as well as in ad hoc proceedings. 

He has represented clients across a number of sectors, with particular experience in energy and natural resources, and construction and engineering. Amir has considerable experience representing governments (state owned entities and ministries) and international corporations in complex, ‘bet the company’ disputes and investigations. 

Amir is a seasoned advocate, and he has appeared as Advocate before numerous international Tribunals and various State Courts. He teaches International Arbitration Advocacy as a Faculty Member of the Federation of International Arbitration Advocacy (FIAA).  Amir also regularly sits as an arbitrator (including as sole arbitrator), under the ICC, LCIA and DIFC-LCIA Rules.  

Experience Highlights

  • Counsel to a leading European EPC contractor in a dispute relating to a cancelled pipeline project 
  • Representing the Panama Canal Authority in relation to the construction and engineering aspects of the $5.25 billion Panama Canal Expansion Program, including the procurement of the major Locks Contract (FIDIC Yellow Book based), the program manager’s appointment, and a number of technical and high-value disputes in DAB proceedings, ICC arbitration proceedings and related U.S. court proceedings
  • Counsel in an ICC arbitration representing a private Italian pharmaceuticals company in relation to a dispute with a U.S. pharmaceuticals company concerning a therapeutic anti-pain drug
  • Counsel in two LCIA arbitrations for a large Chinese corporation in relation to commodities transactions in Central Africa
  • Counsel in a dispute representing a state-owned utilities entity in the Middle East against three foreign joint venture investors in relation to events arising out of the Arab Spring
  • Counsel in a complex arbitration representing a multinational agribusiness company as respondent, defending claims brought by a joint venture partner seeking to impose extensive liability for construction delays under the parties’ shareholders agreement and on extra-contractual grounds
  • Represented claimant in an UNCITRAL arbitration in relation to various agreements concerning the design and construction of a seed crushing plant in Ukraine
  • Represented claimant in an ICC arbitration in a dispute arising out of the purported termination of various construction contracts governed by the Rules of the Federation Internationale des Ingenieurs-Conseils (FIDIC)
  • Sole Arbitrator in a dispute, under the LCIA Rules, between U.S. and Swiss parties in relation to the sale and purchase of scrap metals contracts (English Law / London Seat)
  • Co-arbitrator in a dispute, under the LCIA Rules, between Singaporean and Chinese parties in relation to the sale and purchase of physical commodities (English Law / Singapore Seat)

As Counsel

  • Three consolidated ICC arbitrations representing a global private equity fund in relation to major real estate projects throughout Eastern and Central Europe
  • A dispute representing a state-owned utilities entity in the Middle East against three foreign joint venture investors in relation to events arising out of the Arab Spring
  • An LCIA arbitration representing a major UK manufacturer of beverages against its European distributors in a claim for breach of contract
  • An LCIA arbitration acting for a subsidiary of a worldwide travel services and hotel operator in a dispute with a private investment vehicle in the Gulf over the construction and operation of a beachfront hotel
  • An arbitration under the Rules of the Netherlands Arbitration Institute in a dispute arising out of various finance agreements
  • An LCIA arbitration for an Iranian party against a South Korean conglomerate arising from the alleged termination of various distributorship agreements
  • Represented claimant in an arbitration under the Rules of the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration arising from the alleged payment of bribes in the procurement of major construction projects in the Middle East
  • An arbitration under the LCIA Rules in a contractual dispute arising out of a shareholders’ agreement
  • An ICC arbitration for a jet engine manufacturer in disputes arising from the cancellation of a regional jet engine development programme

As Arbitrator

  • Sole Arbitrator in a dispute under the LCIA Rules between English and French parties in relation to sums allegedly owed under a supply agreement (English Law / London Seat)
  • Co-arbitrator in two parallel LCIA proceedings between an energy company and its former directors (Gibraltar Law / London Seat)

Contact Details

Dubai

T +971.4.403.6230
M +44.7736.633601
F +971.4.330.1300
aghaffari@velaw.com
DIFC
Gate Village 10, Office 211
P.O. Box 504945
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Local time: 1:14 AM
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Amir's Practices

  • University of Bristol, LL.B., 1999
  • The College of Law, London, LPC, 2000
  • Admitted to practice: Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales; Dubai International Financial Centre (Advocate)
  • Other Languages: Farsi (fluent), French (working knowledge)
  • Amir served as a Co-Chair of the London Court of International Arbitration’s Young International Arbitration Group (2009–2013), and is a regular speaker on a variety of arbitration topics. He is an English Solicitor-Advocate and an Advocate of the Dubai International Financial Centre.

  • In 2002, Amir served as a judicial assistant to The Rt. Hon. The Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, in the English Court of Appeal. Amir has practiced international arbitration in London, Paris, and Dubai. His country experience includes Bahrain, Cameroon, China, France, Gabon, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Oman, Russia (and CIS), Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
  • Who's Who Legal (Law Business Research Ltd.); Future Leaders – Arbitration, “’A very polished and very smooth’ advocate with a superb reputation for Middle Eastern disputes”, 2017 and 2018
  • Chambers UK, International Arbitration, ("Amir Ghaffari is singled out by peers as a 'star of tomorrow.'"), 2016−2018
  • Legal 500 EMEA, Commercial, Corporate M&A: United Arab Emirates, 2018
  • Commercial Arbitration, Rising Stars 2016 – Expert Guides (The world’s leading lawyers chosen by their peers)
  • Chambers UK, Leading Individual in International Arbitration, having an “enormous level of experience” and as “an excellent tactician and commercially astute practitioner,” 2015
  • Legal 500: UK, Real Estate, Construction, 2015 and 2016
  • Legal 500: UK, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration, 2015−2017
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration–a “Rising Star,” 2014 - 2015
  • Legal Media Group’s (Euromoney’s) Rising Star, 2015
  • Chambers UK–“Up and Coming”, “Amir Ghaffari is singled out for his commercial acumen, with one source noting: ‘He is incredibly commercial, very business-oriented and cuts to the chase. Clients comment that: he has the capacity to assimilate and analyse large amounts of complex information and relay his findings in a straightforward manner,’” 2014 
  • Legal 500 UK, “client focused and driven,” 2011
  • The Guide to the World’s Leading Arbitration Practitioners–“leading practitioner,”  2013’.
  • Member: Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Member: International Bar Association
  • Member: London Court of International Arbitration
  • Member: International Chamber of Commerce
  • Faculty Member: Federation of International Arbitration Advocacy, 2012 
  • LCIA YIAG Co-Chair, 2009–2013