Matthew Showler


Matthew Showler is a Partner and the Head of Trowers & Hamlins' International Dispute Resolution department.  He is an English qualified lawyer who practices in the United Arab Emirates, the wider Middle East and England.

Matthew focuses on Litigation and International Arbitration. He is recognised as a leading practitioner in both The Legal 500 and Chambers and has been recognised recently by the Legal 500 as a "Leading Individual" for the fifth consecutive year (2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016).

Matthew has significant experience of UAE law, having practiced there since 2010, in addition to experience of other jurisdictions such as England, the USA (New York, Texas), Bahrain, Oman, India, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, the Isle of Man, the Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Matthew has acted for a wide variety of clients including banks, multinational corporations, governmental institutions, NGOs, heads of state, high-net-worth individuals and FTSE 100 (or equivalent) companies, in addition to having been seconded to the legal department of a major UK retail bank.

Matthew is also a DIAC and DIFC: LCIA registered arbitrator. He has conducted arbitrations before all of the major institutions. He writes and lectures on international arbitration and is the author of numerous published works.

Relevant experience

Shareholder disputes

  • Confidential client: Acting for a major US based pharmaceutical technology company in arbitral proceedings valued in excess of USD 375 million involving allegations of breaches of a Joint Venture Agreement and breaches of Intellectual Property rights in software programs and source code. Parallel proceedings before the Courts of the Cayman Island are also involved. (English, Cayman and Californian law/ DIFC seat/ DIFC: LCIA Rules).  
  • Confidential client: Acting for a high net worth individual and a BVI registered company in connection with a dispute subject to the LCIA Rules, regarding a well-known Russian corporation. The dispute involved arbitration proceedings in London and associated proceedings in the BVI, Russia and the English Commercial Court. The case resulted in a USD 1 billion settlement being achieved for the client. (English, BVI and Russian law/ English seat/ LCIA Rules/ English Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a high net worth individual in a shareholder dispute subject to the LCIA Rules relating to the management of a Luxembourg based investment vehicle and owner of a Russian based asset valued at USD 800 million and in connection with the collapse of a prominent Russian company. The arbitration involves allegations of the extent of shareholders' and fiduciary duties and obligations owed under a Shareholders’ Agreement and related proceedings before the English and Luxembourg Courts. (English, Russian and Luxembourg law/ English seat/ LCIA Rules/ English Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a high net worth individual in respect of a shareholder dispute valued at AED 108 million relating to a prominent UAE based company listed on the Dubai Financial Market. (UAE law/ Dubai seat/ DIAC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a high net worth individual in respect of a shareholder dispute in connection with a Ras Al Khaimah free zone registered leading oil and gas company involving complex issues of contested liquidations, breach of fiduciary duties and a contested takeover valued at USD 25 million. (UAE law/ UAE Court)
  • Confidential client: Acting for a German scientific institution against a DIFC-based investment bank in a multi-million-dollar DIFC: LCIA arbitration and with related English Commercial Court proceedings in respect of the financing of an alternative energy project based in the Arctic. (English, UAE, DIFC and German law/ English Seat/ DIFC: LCIA Rules/ English Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a UAE based investment fund in DIFC: LCIA arbitral proceedings against a Joint Venture partner for sums owed under a settlement agreement. (DIFC law/ DIFC seat/ DIFC: LCIA Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a global telecommunications entity in arbitral proceedings worth USD 15 million brought by its Joint Venture partner involving allegations of a breach of a Share Purchase Agreement and allegations of negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation. (English law/ DIFC seat/ DIFC: LCIA Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for an English software entity in proceedings valued in excess of USD 15 million brought against it by its former joint venture partner involving allegations of breaches of the JV agreement and loss of profits. (English law/ DIFC seat/ DIFC: LCIA Rules).

Commercial disputes

  • Confidential client: Acting for a UAE domiciled company and high net worth Indian individual in proceedings valued at USD 45 million in DIFC, Texas and Mumbai regarding the distribution of family assets, businesses and income streams derived from those assets and businesses after the death of the family patriarch. (English, DIFC, UAE, Indian and Texan law/ DIFC Courts/ Mumbai Courts/ Texan Courts).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a well known US defence contractor in a contractual dispute valued at USD 40 million with its Iraqi counterparty in respect of the operation of a US Army base in Iraq. A world wide anti suit injunction was also obtained for the client from the DIFC Courts. (DIFC and Iraq law/ DIFC Courts).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a prominent Saudi Arabian domiciled corporation in proceedings valued at approximately USD 18 million brought against it by a fashion company before the English Commercial Court with parallel DIFC seated arbitral proceedings subject to the DIFC: LCIA Rules. (English and Saudi law/ DIFC seat/ DIFC: LCIA Rules/ English Court).   
  • Confidential client: Acting for a UAE based company in proceedings before the DIFC Courts against another group relating to retention of title of a cargo and unlawful interference in a contract and unlawful interference with property under the DIFC Law of Obligations. (DIFC law/ DIFC Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Brazilian commodities dealer in a high value arbitration subject to the ICC rules in respect of the sale and purchase of precious metals involving allegations of economic duress. (English law/ English seat/ ICC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a significant English insurance company in proceedings before the courts of the DIFC involving allegations of breach of contract in respect of damage caused to a priceless work of art. (DIFC law/ DIFC Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a UAE based airline company in proceedings worth USD 3 million before the English Courts with related proceedings to take place before the Courts of the DIFC and Mexico, relating to sums owed under a flight operations and support services contract. (English law/ English Court and DIFC law/ DIFC Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a high profile European watch maker in connection with a dispute it has with its UAE based distributor in respect of unpaid sums owed under a distribution agreement. (English law/ English Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a national cricket board and numerous high profile international cricketers in a group arbitration arising from the collapse of a global T:20 cricket tournament. (UAE law/ Dubai seat/ DIAC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a major European chemicals and pharmaceutical company in proceedings against a Middle Eastern pharmaceutical partner.

Financial and Banking disputes

  • Confidential client: Acting for a prominent UAE based individual and family business in defending proceedings worth USD 330 million brought by a group of Banks involving allegations that funds lent under various facility agreements were misappropriated and also contesting freezing and disclosure orders obtained by the banks. (DIFC law/ DIFC Courts).   
  • Confidential client: Acting for a prominent Bahraini bank in proceedings worth USD 50 million brought against a high profile individual and healthcare provider in respect of funds lent under a facility agreement that were alleged to have been misappropriated. (DIFC law/ DIFC seat/ DIFC: LCIA rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a prominent state owned bank in proceedings before the DIFC Courts. The dispute involves pursuing the bank's claim for USD 30,000,000 in respect of sums disbursed under a Facility Agreement and related urgent applications for Worldwide Freezing Orders and Third Party Disclosure Orders. (English law/ DIFC Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for one of the largest and most valuable banks in the world in proceedings valued at USD 12.5 million against a defaulting borrower under a Facility Agreement. These claims will be disposed of by the Courts of the DIFC. (English law/ DIFC Court).
  • Confidential clients: Acting for two well known UAE domiciled retail and wholesale banks issuing arbitral proceedings valued at AED 300 million against a defaulting borrower under various Islamic Finance documents. (UAE law/ DIFC seat/ DIFC: LCIA Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a high net worth Emirati individual as Defendant in proceedings before the Courts of the DIFC brought by an Investment Bank for AED 88,000,000. The case involves novel issues of DIFC and UAE law on the valuation of shareholdings when pre-emption rights are exercised. (DIFC and UAE law/ DIFC Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a US based healthcare technology company in connection with the enforcement of bank guarantees worth AED 230 million. (UAE law/ UAE Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a well known London based investment fund in respect of the enforcement of sums owed to it under a Facility Agreement and related Guarantee. (English law/ DIFC Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a well known UAE bank in proceedings valued at AED 157 million against a UAE based company relating to claims of default under a Facility Agreement for the financing of a real estate development. (UAE law/ UAE Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Singaporean financial institution in proceedings it brought against a Dubai based counterparty in respect of the mis-selling of financial products. (DIFC law/ DIFC Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a major retail bank on the English unfair bank charges “test case” OFT v Abbey National and Others. (English law/ English Court).

Fraud, Investigations and Crisis Situations

  • Confidential client: Acting for the External Administrators of a financial institution in a claim against the Central Bank of a state and a major family owned and run business and bank regarding a highly sophisticated fraud which resulted in judgments in our client's favour in excess of USD 2.5 billion. (UAE, Swiss, New York Bahraini and Saudi Arabian law, Swiss Courts, New York Courts, Bahrain Courts, Saudi Arabian Courts).
  • Confidential client: Extensive experience of advising on proceedings before the Supreme Court of the Seychelles in connection with the enforcement of an arbitral award valued at USD 150 million involving allegations of fraud, conspiracy, the interpretation of directors' fiduciary and professional duties and a detailed knowledge of the Seychelles’ anti money laundering and international business companies legislation. (English, Seychelles, Luxembourg and Kyrgyz law/ English seat/ LCIA Rules/ English and Seychelles Courts).
  • Confidential client: Instructed by a globally known US based car manufacturer to assist it with an internal investigation into its employees' conduct in response to an internal whistle blower claiming that over-reporting of sales figures was widespread. This work involved allegations of criminality and breaches of the relevant contracts of employment. (UAE law/ UAE Court).
  • Confidential client: Instructed by a national cricket board in respect of an internal investigation and extremely serious allegations of bribery, corruption and match fixing made against its players and staff by the well known media outlet Al Jazeera. (English and UAE law/ English and UAE Courts).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a US based manufacturer of solar panels who was defrauded out of sums totaling in excess of USD 10 million in respect of a sham transaction and a related internal investigation. (English and UAE law/ English and UAE Courts).
  • Confidential client: Advising a high-profile corporation in respect of a crisis situation in Somalia. (Somalian law/ Somalian Court).

Technology, Media and Telecommunications disputes

  • Confidential client: Acting for a leading global provider of satellite and telecommunication services in high value and extremely complex proceedings before the DIFC Courts with parallel proceedings before the Courts of Pakistan. This is one of the most significant cases dealt with by the DIFC Courts and has resulted in the DIFC Courts granting its first ever anti suit injunction in favour of our client. (US and Pakistani law/ DIFC seat/ DIFC: LCIA Rules/ DIFC and Pakistani Courts).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a global telecommunications corporation in an ICC arbitration valued at USD 165 million in respect of the installation and performance of telecommunications infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. (UAE, Saudi Arabian and English law/ Dubai seat/ ICC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a household name media and telecommunications entity in a DIAC arbitration valued at USD 20 million in respect of the breach by its broadcast partner of a distribution and broadcast agreement. (UAE law/ Dubai seat/ DIAC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a global telecommunications brand in an ICC arbitration valued at USD 18 million in respect of the installation and performance of telecommunications infrastructure in Kuwait City and also involving allegations of breach of contract and bribery. (Kuwaiti and Swiss law/ Swiss seat/ ICC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a high profile Dubai based satellite television operator in respect of high value proceedings against one of its broadcast partners and television show production companies in respect of breach of contract, non-contractual damages and professional negligence. (UAE law/ Dubai seat/ DIAC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a MENA based television operator in respect of a dispute with one its leading broadcast partners involving breaches of a license agreement. (English law/ Dubai seat/ ICC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a European based weapons manufacturer in respect of high value proceedings against a Dubai based entity relating to military services provided in the Middle East. (UAE and German law/ UAE Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a leading Russian and Central Asian telecommunications company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in respect of proceedings arising from the purchase of a telecommunications licence. The proceedings involved resisting the enforcement of a multi-million dollar arbitral award and involved complex allegations of fraud and money laundering. (English law/ English seat/ LCIA Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a high profile telecommunications entity in an arbitration in respect of telecommunications networks and infrastructure in Afghanistan. (English law/ English Seat/ ICC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a non-governmental organisation in respect of proceedings involving a prominent member of the media in the Middle East. (UAE law/ UAE Court).

Shipping disputes

  • Confidential client: Acting for a prominent European corporation in respect of the enforcement in the UAE of two English seat arbitral awards valued at USD 120 million against a high profile Dubai based company. The dispute involved landmark issues of DIFC law. (English, DIFC and UAE law/ English seat/ LMAA Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Nigerian oil company in English High Court proceedings in respect of a dispute regarding an oil concession and involving resisting an application for a worldwide freezing order. (English law/ English Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Nigerian oil company in a LMAA arbitration seated in London concerning a dispute with a Thai based counterparty involving allegations of a breach of a charterparty and misrepresentation. (English law/ English seat/ LMAA rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Nigerian oil company in a HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong, concerning a dispute with a Chinese based counterparty involving allegations of a breach of a charterparty. (English law/ Hong Kong seat/ HKIAC rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for an Omani steel company in a LCIA arbitration seated in London concerning a dispute with an English based counterparty regarding allegations of a breach of a charterparty. (English and Oman law/ English seat/ LCIA rules).

Construction, energy, infrastructure and real estate disputes

  • Confidential client: Acting for a major Dubai government-owned entity in a DIAC arbitration worth AED 2.3 billion relating to the insolvency of its contractual counterparty and to a landmark construction project. (UAE law/ Dubai seat/ DIAC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Dubai sovereign owned entity in arbitral proceedings valued in excess of AED 100 million in respect of a claim brought by a contractual counterparty in respect of a landmark project in the UAE. (UAE law/ Dubai seat/ DIAC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Cayman Islands domiciled High Net Worth Individual in respect of a dispute regarding the manufacture and supply of oil pumps and pipelines involving proceedings in Ras Al Khaimah, the DIFC and the Netherlands. (DIFC, UAE and Dutch law/ DIFC, UAE and Dutch Courts).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Canadian oil company in respect of a dispute with a Saudi Arabian based sub-contractor involving parallel proceedings in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. (UAE and Saudi Arabian law/ UAE and Saudi Arabian Courts).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Canadian oil company in respect of a dispute with its contractual counterparty in a Dubai seat, UAE law ad hoc arbitration. (UAE law/ Dubai seat).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Dubai sovereign-owned entity in a DIAC arbitration valued at approximately AED 220 million in respect of a dispute regarding a district cooling plant and disputed power consumption rates. (UAE law/ Dubai seat/ DIAC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a high-profile real estate developer in proceedings against a prominent high-net-worth Emirati family owned conglomerate in respect of a construction project on the Palm Jumeirah valued at AED 40 million. (UAE law/ Dubai seat/ DIAC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a Dubai based real estate developer in an English statutory adjudication in respect of the development of a well-known real estate project. (English law/ English Court (statutory adjudication regime)).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a European construction entity in respect of ICC arbitral proceedings relating to the construction of a chlorine plant in the Middle East. (English law/ Dubai seat/ ICC Rules).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a German scientific institution against a DIFC-based investment bank in a multi-million-dollar DIFC: LCIA arbitration and with related English Commercial Court proceedings in respect of the financing of an alternative energy project based in the Arctic. (English, UAE, DIFC and German law/ English Seat/ DIFC: LCIA Rules/ English Court).

Employment disputes

  • Confidential client: Appearing before the Dubai World Tribunal on behalf of a major governmental entity in respect of employment proceedings brought by its former chief executive officer. (UAE law/ DIFC Court (Dubai World Tribunal)).
  • Confidential client: Appearing before the Dubai World Tribunal on behalf of a major Governmental entity in respect of a contentious employment claim brought by a former officer of the company. (UAE law/ DIFC Court (Dubai World Tribunal)).
  • Confidential client: Advising the former Chief Financial Officer of a high profile state owned entity in respect of the termination of his employment and his rights in respect of the same. (UAE law/ UAE Court).
  • Confidential client: Advising a high profile UK based manufacturer in respect of the employment of individuals in the UAE. (UAE law/ UAE Court).
  • Confidential client: Acting for a well known Russian based oil company in respect of a portfolio of employment claims before the Dubai Courts. The claims have been brought by a collection of their former employees in respect of the termination of their employment. (UAE law/ UAE Court).

Costs

  • Confidential client: Conducted the first ever detailed assessment of legal costs before the Courts of the Dubai World Tribunal. (UAE law/ DIFC Court (Dubai World Tribunal)).

Prior and Present Employment

  • Partner, Dentons (2016 – 2020)
  • Senior Associate, King & Wood Mallesons (MENA) LLP (previously SJ Berwin LLP) (2010 - 2016
  • Associate, Addleshaw Goddard LLP (2005 - 2010)

Admissions and Qualifications

  • Solicitor, Senior Courts of England and Wales
  • Registered Practitioner of the DIFC Courts

Publications

  • "COVID-19 and the use of remote hearings".
  • "The enforcement of judgments and arbitral awards in the UAE" (published on Thomson Reuters and Practical Law Company).
  • "DIFC Courts: Still a conduit jurisdiction?"
  • "The enforcement of judgments of the DIFC Courts and their transportability as arbitral awards: an analysis of the DIFC Courts’ proposed Practice Direction".
  • "Bilateral Investment Treaty Arbitration: investor protection in Ukraine and Russia".
  • "Arbitration Agreements in Kuwait: A cautionary tale for multi-national corporations doing business in Kuwait".
  • "A comparison of DIAC and Indian models of arbitration".
  • "Successful Claimants should not presume that interest on judgments is recoverable".

Activities and Affiliations

  • Member of the LCIA
  • Member of the DIFC: LCIA
  • Member of the DIAC
  • Member of the Young International Arbitration Group.
  • Member of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration       

Recognition

  • The Legal 500, recognised in top tier of "Leading Individual" for the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
  • Chambers, 2020 edition: "a very bright, dynamic and articulate partner".
  • The Legal 500, 2018 edition: "a first-rate strategist and case manager".
  • The Legal 500, 2017 edition: “an excellent tactical approach with an acute eye for the merits of, and real issues in, a dispute”.
  • Chambers, 2017 edition: "an intelligent and serious guy".
  • The Legal 500, 2016 edition: “diligence and sound judgement”.
  • Chambers, 2016 edition: “a first class mind and his judgement is excellent”.

 


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