Peter Smith is a Senior Associate in Al Tamimi’s Litigation practice in Dubai. He is recommended as a ‘Rising Star’ in the Legal 500, 2020 (Dispute Resolution: Arbitration and International Litigation: Tier 1) and as “notable” in the Legal 500, 2019.

Peter is a barrister with experience of a wide range of commercial disputes including banking and finance, employment, technology and construction, real estate and professional negligence (acting for both claimants and defendants, including professional indemnity insurers). He has an extensive knowledge of cross-jurisdictional media law including defamation (both libel and slander), malicious falsehood, data protection and media regulation.

Peter has wide experience of DIFC law and practice and advocacy before the Courts. He came to Al Tamimi from the English Bar on a Pegasus Scholarship, during which he spent time at the DIFC Courts and Dispute Resolution Authority. He has also acted in and advised on proceedings before the Courts of the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the Qatar Financial Centre.

Memberships: the DIFC Courts Pro Bono Committee; the ADGM Courts Rules Group (and formerly the Young Lawyers Liaison Group); and Al Tamimi’s Innovation and Efficiency, Private Wealth and Law Update Editors committees.

He is interested in legal technology, including remote participation in proceedings and document automation.

Read More

Thought Leadership

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Update on the DIFC Courts”, Linklaters, DIFC, March 2020
  • Speaker, “Dispute resolution in the UAE – arbitration or litigation in on-shore or off-shore courts: is there too much choice?”, World Litigation Forum, Dubai, January 2020
  • Speaker, “Family Business Council Legal Roundtable”, DIFC, November 2019
  • Speaker, “Dispute resolution options for media professionals”, In5 media/Dubai Production City, September 2018
  • Speaker, “Jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts”, presentation to clients, Al Tamimi Abu Dhabi, February 2018
  • Speaker, “Commercial and business contracts: a practical guide to protecting your interests”, Dubai Design District, February 2018
  • Speaker, “Update on the Joint Judicial Committee established by Decree 19 of 2016”, briefing for clients, Al Tamimi DIFC, May 2017
  • Speaker, “Joint Judicial Committee established by Decree 19 of 2016”, briefing for clients, Al Tamimi DIFC, March 2017

Key Publications

  • Report on Family Business Dispute Resolution in conjunction with the Family Business Council – Gulf (2020)
  • United Arab Emirates-DIFC chapter in Encyclopaedia of International Commercial Litigation (Kluwer Law International) (2019 and 2020; co-author)
  • DIFC Courts Pro Bono Clinic Frequently Asked Questions on DIFC Landlord & Tenant Law (2020; forthcoming)
  • United Arab Emirates litigation including DIFC and ADGM know-how chapter in Global Arbitration Review (2019)
  • Frequent Lexology contributor including Litigation – Enforcement of foreign judgments in the DIFC 2019
  • Sovereign Immunity and the Enforcement of Arbitral Awards, UAE Arbitration Yearbook 2017 (LexisNexis)
  • Astana’s New Dispute Resolution Institutions: Developing GCC and Kazakhstan’s Relations, UAE Arbitration Yearbook 2019 (LexisNexis)
  • Reshaping civil justice – enhancing the inquisitorial system, Society of Conservative Lawyers, 2015
  • Regular contributor to the Entertainment Law Review (Sweet & Maxwell) on privacy, defamation and data protection cases (2015 to present)
  • The problem of the non-justiciability of religious defamations Denning Law Journal, University of Buckingham, Vol 21, No.1 (2015)
  • Have the cases on relief from sanction under the Civil Procedure Rules, from Mitchell onwards, gone too far? Winner of the London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association Jonathan Brock QC Memorial Prize Essay competition 2014
  • Towards the reasonable accommodation of religious freedom Denning Law Journal, University of Buckingham, Vol 1, No.1 (2014)


  • Scholarship from South East Circuit to attend International Advocacy Course, University of Florida, 2015
  • Bar Council Scholarships Trust / London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association International Legal and Professional Development grant to visit Sierra Leone, 2013
  • Bar Mock Trial competition, school assistant, 2014 and 2015
  • South Eastern Circuit International Advocacy Course (Keble College, Oxford)
  • Panel volunteer, Bar Pro Bono Unit (including advising an NGO on pre-publication matters), 2011 to 2016

Recent Experience


Recent DIFC & ADGM litigation experience including:

  • (1) Orion Holdings Overseas Limited (2) Orion Global Financial Services LLC (3) Orion Capital Limited (all in liquidation) v (1) Mohammed Abu Al Haj (2) Nidal Abdel Khaleq Abu Al Haj (3) Privatbank IHAG Zurich AG [2015] DIFC CFI 033 (jurisdiction; permission to appeal)
  • Mashreq Al Islami Finance Company PJSC (formerly Al Badr Islamic Finance Company PJSC) v Babar Rehman [2017] DIFC CFI 016 (breach of Ijarah residential property agreement) and
  • Tavira Securities Limited v (1) Re Point Ventures FZCO (2) Jai Narain Gupta (3) Mayank Kumar (4) Saroj Gupta [2017] DIFC CFI 026 (breach of contract; jurisdiction)
  • Sunteck Lifestyles Limited v (1) Al Tamimi and Company Limited (2) Grand Valley General Trading LLC [2017] DIFC CFI 048 (interim injunction)
  • GlobeMed Gulf Healthcare Solutions LLC v Oman Insurance Company PSC [2017] DIFC CFI 015 (ongoing)
  • Associa MENA Owners Association Services v IT-UP-02 Index Tower Residential Body Corporate [2017] DIFC SCT 355
  • Tatiana Mikhailovna Akhmedova vs (1) Farkhad Teimur Ogly Akhmedov (2) Straight Establishment [2018] CFI-011 and [2018] DIFC CA 003 (enforcement of English High Court order; jurisdiction)
  • (1) Vinod Sharma (2) Avalon Global Education Services Limited (3) Avalon Heights World Private    School LLC v Sheikh Khaled Saeed Rashid Humaid Al Nuaimi [2018] DIFC CFI 022 (interim injunction)
  • Laktineh & Co Ltd v (1) Ahmed AlHatti (2) Cayan Real Estate and Development LLC [2020] ADGM CFI 013 (application to set-aside default judgment)
  • Request for interpretation in respect of the DIFC Trust and Foundations Law [2020] DIFC CA 002 (interpretation of DIFC law including points of Sharia)
  • DIFC enforcement of foreign and domestic judgments and arbitral awards of various seats.
  • Arbitration: experience of arbitration proceedings under LCIA/DIFC-LCIA, DIAC and ICC arbitration rules; applications in the DIFC Courts relating to DIFC-seated arbitrations.
  • Litigation in the UAE Courts (particularly Dubai Courts) and under UAE law; applications to the Joint Judicial Committee established by Dubai Decree 19 of 2016; expert evidence on DIFC law in support of proceedings in foreign jurisdictions (principally England and Singapore).
  • Legislative drafting: proposed Federal legislation; amendments to existing legislation in Dubai and in DIFC; memorandums of understanding between DIFC DRA and Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
  • Foreign laws: the application of foreign laws in proceedings (New York State, English, Swiss, UAE and other GCC).
  • Employment: advising employees and employers on disputes in the Court of First Instance and the Small Claims Tribunal in respect of DIFC and English employment law (e.g. restrictive covenants/non-compete clauses; rights to bonuses and clawback obligations; injunctive relief; third party disclosure; statutory rights).
  • Pro bono: assisting in the creation of the ADGM Courts Pro Bono Scheme, including drafting process rules and other documents.


England & Wales

  • General commercial litigation: disputes involving sales of goods and the supply of goods and services; misrepresentation claims and litigation over distribution agreements; general banking and finance contacts (including derivatives); and real property.
  • Alternative dispute resolution: acting for numerous SMEs and sole traders in the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Interest Rate Hedging Product Review, including very substantial awards of basic redress and consequential losses (MJH Executive Homes Limited and MJH Investments Limited).
  • Media: acting on behalf of individuals, charities and companies in disputes involving libel and slander, malicious falsehood, privacy and confidence, and data protection breaches. E.g. one of the first cases to test the requirement of serious harm to reputation under s.1 Defamation Act 2013 (Sam Theedom v (1) Nourish Training t/a CSP Recruitment (2) Colin Sewell [2015] EWHC 3769 (QB) and [2016] EWHC 1364 (QB)). Also involved in proceedings brought against Google, Inc., on behalf of a number of anonymous clients pursuing claims under the ‘right to be forgotten’ principles (NT1 and NT2 v Google LLC [2018] EWHC 799 (QB)).
  • Professional liability and insurance: claims against solicitors, accountants and IFAs, including very high value work; acting on behalf of professional indemnity insurers including policy coverage issues. E.g. MCashback Limited (in liquidation) v Nabarro Nathanson (a firm) part of a team representing a company in liquidation in a professional negligence claim against the company’s former solicitors (a ‘silver circle’ London firm), one of the UK’s largest commercial claims in 2014. £10+m in damages were recovered on behalf of the liquidator; the defendant also agreed to pay the company’s costs under the terms of the confidential settlement.
  • Technology and construction: contractual disputes involving range of public and private clients; professional negligence disputes in related fields, e.g. engineers, architects and surveyors.
  • Costs disputes, including successful detailed assessment of multi-million pound bill of costs involving conditional fee agreements and ATE insurance (MCashback).


  • English
  • French


BA, MA, MPhil – University of Cambridge

Common Professional Examination/Graduate Diploma in Law – City University, London

Bar Vocational Course – Inns of Court School of Law


2019 – Registered practitioner with rights of audience, Astana International Financial Centre Court and International Arbitration Centre

2018 – Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

2017 – Dubai Legal Affairs Department Legal Consultant

2016 – DIFC Part II Registered Practitioner

2008 – Bar of England & Wales