(L-R) Awards host Shadia Bseiso; Munir Suboh, head of commercial and real estate, and Alan Rodgers, head of banking and finance, Hadef & Partners; and awards judge Mark Hultum, Deutsche Bank

Finalists: Al Tamimi & Company (Highly Commended); Baker McKenzie; Berwin Leighton Paisner.

Hadef & Partners collected the real estate team award for its work advising on the UAE’s first regulated Sharia-compliant real estate investment trust. (REIT)

The firm helped The Residential REIT navigate the complex real estate laws in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, as well as advising on conveyancing procedures, Islamic finance and the securitisation of real estate assets. The deal involved the sale and purchase of almost 500 residential properties in exchange for shares in the REIT, all within a very short timeframe. That meant negotiating agreements with the sellers and financier, and drafting the transaction documents (which had to be Sharia compliant) while simultaneously carrying out conveyancing and mortgage registration processes on all the properties.

Hadef & Partner’s deep understanding of the UAE’s real estate market and regulatory backdrop, alongside its key relationships with the respective land registries, ensured the transaction was completed smoothly. The deal will also likely serve as a template for other international financial institutions considering structuring a REIT in the UAE.

“We chose Hadef & Partners to represent the UAE’s first residential real estate investment trust, The Residential REIT, because of their real estate expertise and practical knowledge of how to conduct business in the UAE,” said the trust’s general counsel Adam Omar Shanti.

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