(L-R): Awards host David Mitchell; Shearman & Sterling’s Thomas Donegan, Barnabas Reynolds, Marella Borthwick, Michael Scargill and Simon Cohen; awards judge Dick Tyler
Finalists: Eversheds (highly commended); Herbert Smith Freehills, Jones Day and Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft; Linklaters and Centrica; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Slaughter and May
Shearman & Sterling took the honours in this category in recognition of the firm’s work on the establishment of a new legal and regulatory regime in Abu Dhabi’s financial centre.
The US firm drafted a set of civil, commercial and financial legislation for the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), which has been designated a financial zone since 2013.
One judge observed: “The sheer size of the job and its huge ramifications make it a clear winner.”
Shearman advised ADGM, drafting the underlying legislation required to set up ADGM as an international financial centre, and its financial regulatory framework. It recommended ADGM adopt an innovative structure for the region, whereby English common law will apply directly in the financial centre on an ongoing basis.
It is the first direct application of English common law and statutory law in the Middle East.
The firm’s team included more than 30 lawyers, with the majority of work led out of London. The team was led by Barney Reynolds, head of the firm’s global financial institutions advisory and financial regulatory practice.
The legislation and rules cover matters such as conduct of business, prudential and capital regulation, solvency and Islamic finance.
These rules reflect some of the well known developments in financial regulation that have been adopted globally, including Basel III, the European Market Infrastructure Regulation and the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive.