David Holloway

Barrister, FCIArb, IMI Accredited Mediator , Partner, Head of Advocacy


David is a partner in our international disputes team and leads the firm’s advocacy unit. He appears as partner and  lead counsel in complex commercial cases (both in the common law courts and in international arbitration). David’s current practice involves litigation and arbitration cases across a number of sectors including banking and finance, joint ventures, family wealth disputes, disputes in the defence and security industries and commercial and trading cases including maritime and commodities disputes. He is also involved in significant cross border fraud and asset tracing cases.

David studied law at Cambridge University in the UK and had been in practice at the English Bar for over 20 years. He joined Al Tamimi in 2022 from a leading set of chambers in London. He has lived and worked in the UAE since 2019 and has been listed as one of the leading English barristers practising in the region in the Legal 500 in 2021 and 2022.

David is a specialist in international trade law and international commercial dispute resolution. He has developed particular experience of the oil and gas industry, joint ventures, banking and finance, insurance and reinsurance disputes (particularly in the marine and energy sectors), commodities disputes, and disputes involving carriage of goods, and banking and financial disputes. He has been instructed in several cases involving State parties and in various matters involving public international law including claims arising under bilateral investment treaties and disputes involving issues of State Immunity before national courts.

David has an extensive DIFC litigation practice and has been counsel in some of the significant recent cases in the DIFC Court involving issues of jurisdiction, State immunity, insolvency, remedies and principles of DIFC law.

David been appearing as counsel in  international arbitrations for over 20 years and has represented clients in numerous arbitrations conducted under various international institutional rules and in ad hoc arbitrations including ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, LMAA and LME. He is also experienced in court proceedings ancillary to arbitration, including applications for interim relief and contested enforcement proceedings.

In addition to counsel work David sits as an arbitrator and is appointed to the panel of arbitrators for DIAC (Dubai), CIETAC (Beijing), SCIA (Shenzhen), C.A.A (Taipei) and THAC (Bangkok). He has also served as a Tribunal Member of the Hong Kong Board of Review (the Hong Kong tax appeals Tribunal). He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb).

David is also an accredited mediator (IMI accredited), and has significant ADR experience. He has played a leading role in developing the firm’s mediation practice and been involved in many initiatives involving promotion of mediation and ADR in the region,

David has spent several years of his life working in China (mainland and Hong Kong) and is a key member of the firm’s China practice group.  He is also a member of a number of firm- wide committees, including the working group on the practice of English law, the risk and compliance committee (which encompasses sanctions issues) and the diversity equality and inclusion committee.

Directory Listings

  • Legal 500 Middle East 2024 Dispute Resolution: Arbitration and International Litigation-UAE: ‘The lead partner on our case is David Holloway who is one of the best litigators we have ever worked with. A highly impressive advocate.’
  • Legal 500 (Middle East 2022), Leading UK counsel (commercial). The directory listing stated ‘David has a very clear mind and quickly identifies relevant issues. He is also a strategic and commercial thinker who can provide relevant legal advice in context. David is unflappable and persists to advocate persuasively even in hostile settings.’
  • Legal 500 (Middle East 2021), Leading UK counsel (commercial). The directory listing stated “He is seriously clever and a true expert on matters of international trade, oil and gas and the procedure and tactics in high value international arbitration matters.’

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Thought Leadership


  • Appointed to COMBAR working group on the reform of the English Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Appointed to the DIFC working group on Maritime Law
  • FCIArb
  • Panel appointments with various arbitral institutions
  • Tribunal Member for Hong Kong Tax Appeals (Board of Review, Inland Revenue


  • International Arbitration Law Review (Sweet & Maxwell). – General Editor (1998-present).
  • Co- author of Schmitthoff: The law and Practice of International Trade (11th Edition Sweet & Maxwell September 2007, 12th Edition 2012. Commissioned as the main editor of the 13th Edition (in progress).
  • DIFC Court Practice. Contributing author to the 2nd edition of the “blue book” comprehensive and authoritative guide to DIFC law and DIFC Court procedure. Submitted for publication in 2024. (Edward Elgar, eds. Rupert Reed QC and Tom Montagu Smith QC).
  • The Cambridge Research Compendium of International Arbitration. Book Chapter, “State Control of Arbitration by National Courts” (editors Ferrari, Bjorklund, Kroell, Cambridge University Press 2023). “One Belt One Road One Dispute Resolution clause”, book chapter with Michael Hwang SC in “China and Dispute Resolution in the context of the BRI” (Cambridge University Press 2021, eds Shan, Su et al). Published also in Michael Hwang SC: “Collected essays in Dispute Resolution, December 2018”.
  • The New Chinese International Commercial Court and the Future of Dispute Resolution in the Belt and Road Initiative. 20188: Vindabona Journal of International Commercial Law and Arbitration (2018) 22 VJ (2) pp. 96-125. This research was also published in the book, Dispute Resolution in China, Europe and the World (Springer 2020, Chapter 3).
  • Research Handbook on Unilateral Economic. Sanctions (ed. Prof. Charlotte Beaucillon). Book chapter, “Unilateral Economic Sanctions in  International Arbitration- Procedural and Substantive issues” (with Prof. Eric de Brabandere of the University of Leiden); Edward Elgar.  September 2021.
  • Research Handbook on Sanctions and International Law (ed. van den Herik). Book chapter, “The impact of International Economic Sanctions in International Arbitration” (with Prof. Eric de Brabandere of the University of Leiden); Edward Elgar. July 2017- Chapter 14.
  • Strengthening Hong Kong’s Position as an Arbitration Hub under the Belt and Road Initiative, Research Centre for Sustainable Hong Kong (CSHK) policy paper 8. (http://www.cityu.edu.hk/cshk/p_papers.html). (In English and Chinese). Also published as David Holloway and Prof. Lin Feng. International Arbitration Law Review 2018 (4) p.106.
  • Avoiding Duplicative Litigation about Arbitral Awards within the EU. Oxford Journal of International Dispute Settlement (2011, 2 435-457).
  • Retour sur la comity: les origines de la
comity au carrefour du droit international privé et du droit international public(Journal du droit international (Clunet), with Thomas Schultz, December 2011 Volume 3 pp.863-886).
  • Retour sur la comity: la comity dans l’histoire du droit international privé (Journal du droit international (Clunet) with Thomas Schultz, March 2012 Volume 1 pp. 572-595).”

Recent Experience


  • Ongoing large family wealth dispute.

Instructed by one of the largest family businesses in the MENA region. LCIA London arbitration and ancillary DIFC Court proceedings in a dispute over the ownership of companies valued at over US$600million. Lead partner, and lead counsel in the DIFC proceedings (interim relief), counsel (with Andrew Hunter KC) in the LCIA proceedings.

[DIFC ARB 011 2023/ LCIA Arbitration No: 235929]

  • Ongoing DIFC Enforcement proceedings in relation to a non- DIFC judgment.

Instructed by an international trading company in enforcement and asset tracing claims involving freezing orders, the appointment of receivers and international enforcement issues (including the relationship between the DIFC Court and wider UAE Courts in enforcement and execution matters and proceedings for contempt of court). Lead partner and lead counsel in the DIFC proceedings.

[DIFC CFI-046-2023/ ENF 022-024/2023]

  • Ongoing Oil Trading Case (Venezuelan Oil)

Instructed by an international trading in relation to a large oil trading dispute involving a sale of Venezuelan oil and a related series of transaction. Lead counsel on urgent freezing order applications involving the jurisdiction of the DIFC Court to make orders in support of arbitration proceedings.

[DIFC -ARB- 006-2024]

  • JTrust Asia Pte Ltd v Konoshito and others.

Instructed by an Asian investment trust in DIFC court proceedings arising out of a complex muti jurisdictional fraud (a USD 210 million investment fraud / conspiracy dispute involving multiple parties/ cross-border litigation). Lead partner and lead counsel in the DIFC proceedings. Successfully obtained enforcement orders in the DIFC Court of judgments of the Singapore and BVICourts amounting to more than US$124 million. Worked with colleagues from Dubai and co counsel in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand to ensure a coordinated approach between the client’s UAE representation and various other jurisdictions.

[DIFC- CFI-034- 2023]

  • Kirtanlal International DMCC v State Bank of India and others

Instructed by the State Bank of India in resisting claims for more than US$18m following the non-renewal of a facility agreement. Lead partner and lead counsel representing the Bank in successfully defending proceedings before the DIFC Court culminating in a 5-day trial in the DIFC Court. The case involved construction of the terms of the facility agreement and also issues of DIFC contract law, the law of obligations and regulatory law as well as issues of damages.

[DIFC- CFI- 041-2022]

  • LCIA commodities arbitrations (as arbitrator)

Appointed by LCIA as co-arbitrator in 3 consolidated commodities disputes between Chinese and European parties. Award issued in 2024.

[LCIA Consolidated Arbitration 225462]

  • UNCITRAL Arbitration

Instructed as counsel (whilst at the independent bar) to advise on an UNCITRAL arbitration arising out of the cancellation of a power concession. Claims and counterclaims valued at over US$1billion.

  • THAC Arbitrator Challenge Decision (2022)

Appointed as part of a panel of the THAC arbitrator committee to decide the first ever challenge to an arbitrator under the rules of the Thailand Arbitration Centre (THAC). The challenge arose in the context of an dispute on arbitral claims valued at c.US$1 billion and involved questions of issue conflicts and multiple appointments in the energy sector.

  • FAL Oil v Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) (DIFC Court of First Instance 2021)

Successfully represented an international energy company in enforcing in the DIFC Courts an unsatisfied judgment from the Sharjah Courts for  over US$300 million. Lead counsel in contested enforcement proceedings against a UAE public utility company. The case is a leading authority of DIFC Law on issues of state immunity, international jurisdiction and enforcement and the inter- Emirate enforcement of judgments. [DIFC-ENF-221-2019]

  • Credit Suisse and others v Emirates Hospitals Group and others

Representing an international banking syndicate in claims against borrowers, personal and corporate guarantors for US$304 million. The claims involve issues of jurisdiction, insolvency and the interaction of Dubai and DIFC law. This case also involves jurisdictional challenges and parallel proceedings, including a reference to the UAE Union Supreme Court to resolve an alleged conflict of jurisdiction.  [DIFC -CFI-060-2020]


  • French
  • German
  • English


  • BA and MA in Law, Cambridge University (Squire Law Scholar)
  • Master of Law and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • FCIArb


  • 1996 – Barrister, England & Wales
  • 2019– Hong Kong. (Registered foreign lawyer)
  • 2020– DIFC Court, Dubai. (Part II Registered advocate)
  • 2021 –AIFC Court, Nur- Sultan, Kazakhstan. (Licensed advocate)
  • 2024 Barrister, British Virgin Islands