Samar Abbas

Year of call:

+44 (0)20 7832 1111

“Extremely smart, commercial and a pleasure to work with”
Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017

“pays attention to details”
Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016

“extremely prompt in his responses”
Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016

Samar Abbas’s practice focuses on commercial and construction disputes, financial services and international arbitration. He is recommended in Legal 500 Asia Pacific as a leading junior in international commercial arbitration. He has experience in undertaking pleading and advisory work for a wide variety of domestic and international clients. As an advocate, Samar has appeared in all types of courts and tribunals.

Before coming to the Bar, Samar spent a number of years working as a management consultant and strategy professional. In this capacity, he was engaged in organisational restructuring, post-merger infrastructure consolidation and profitability analyses for the legal, IT and marketing divisions of leading multi-national firms in the US, Canada and the UK. In particular, he brings to the Bar extensive knowledge of market constraints, supply chain concerns and regulatory pressures in the pharmaceutical, telecommunications and consumer packaged goods industries.

Samar has a particular interest in international work, having worked in Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America. Most recently, Samar spent six months in Singapore working with Clifford Chance Asia.

International Arbitration

International arbitration constitutes a sizeable proportion of Samar’s practice, along with litigation concerning arbitration. He has experience of both ad-hoc and institutional arbitrations, in particular those conducted by ICC, LCIA and SIAC. Much of his arbitration practice touches upon construction and infrastructure disputes, and he edited the arbitration chapter of the most recent (3rd) edition of Wilmot-Smith on Construction Contracts.

Examples of recent work include:

  • Currently acting for a contractor in an ICC arbitration concerning a significant infrastructure project in the Middle East. Amounts in dispute approx. US$200 million
  • Currently acting for a state-owned Petroleum company in an ICC arbitration with an EPC Contractor in the Caribbean. Amounts in dispute approx. US$40 million
  • Currently advising a Middle Eastern consortium in relation to proposed LCIA arbitration arising out of a Joint Venture dispute in South Asia. Amounts in dispute approx. US$35 million
  • Acting for a Japanese information technology company and several of its subsidiaries in JCAA arbitration against South Asian distributors
  • Acting (with Clifford Chance Asia) for the contractor in SIAC arbitration with a sub-contractor relating to a construction project in Dubai
  • Acting (with Clifford Chance Asia) for an American manufacturing conglomerate in a dispute with an Indian joint venture party in ad-hoc arbitration administered by SIAC raising novel issues of the proper law of the arbitration agreement and the seat of the arbitration
  • Assisting Ricky Diwan QC in ICC arbitration between a Caribbean government and a South American aluminium company relating to the establishment of an aluminium smelter
  • Assisting David Brynmor Thomas and Jess Connors in LCIA arbitration arising out of a manufacturing joint venture in India
  • Acting in an application for an anti-suit injunction
  • Acting in an action to enforce an ICC Award
  • Drafting request for arbitration in ICC arbitration for a Middle Eastern conglomerate in a telecommunications dispute with an African government


Samar has a broad commercial practice, with a particular focus on cross-border disputes and private international law. His work encompasses banking and financial services, civil fraud, company law, energy (including oil & gas disputes), insurance contracts and professional negligence. In addition to his substantial international arbitration practice, he appears regularly in the High Court (Commercial Court, TCC and the Chancery Division) both by himself and as junior counsel. As a sole advocate, he appears most frequently in jurisdictional and enforcement disputes, winding up proceedings, and applications for interim relief such as freezing and search orders.

Samar brings a number of years of experience working in the commercial world to the Bar and has a strong understanding of clients’ commercial needs. While his previous work encompassed a wide cross-section of industries, he has particular familiarity with the financial services, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications sectors and expertise in issues involving complex quantitative analysis.

Examples of work include:

Commercial Litigation

  • Taylor v Van Dutch Marin Holding Ltd (Chancery Division): acting (with James Ramsden QC) for a creditor in proceedings against debtor companies and their directors involving issues of jurisdiction, enforcement and contempt of court
  • 3M v The States of Guernsey (Commercial Court): successfully defending (with Stephen Tromans QC and Karim Ghaly QC) the US-based 3M Company and its UK subsidiary, 3M United Kingdom PLC, in a c£28m product liability claim brought by the States of Guernsey; multi-week trial involving e-bundles
  • Acting (with Hefin Rees QC) for a financial advisor in a substantial Commercial Court dispute involving allegations of complex fraud; successfully resisting a worldwide freezing order; currently listed for a multi-week trial
  • Acting (with Hefin Rees QC) in a c£35m Commercial Court dispute between a leading member of a Middle Eastern royal family and a real estate developer concerning investments in Europe; currently listed for a multi-week trial
  • Acting (with James Ramsden QC) for a foreign investor in UK real estate in ongoing Chancery Division proceedings involving a number of foreign entities and allegations of complex and multi-jurisdictional fraud
  • Acting as sole counsel for a financial services professional in ongoing Chancery Division proceedings involving allegations of embezzlement; acting in applications involving freezing orders and tracing orders
  • Assisting Adrian Hughes QC and Ben Olbourne in claims related to air freight charges
  • Acting (as a sole advocate) for an American professional services firm in a multi-jurisdictional battle for the recovery of unpaid professional fees
  • Skyscanner v Competition and Markets Authority [2014] CAT 16: successfully intervening (with Duncan Sinclair) against CMA’s decision to accept commitments to remove certain discounting restrictions for online travel agents; first case of its kind successfully argued before CAT with major implications for major hotel and travel groups
  • Acting for a Japanese information technology company and several of its subsidiaries against South Asian distributors
  • Advising a Middle Eastern consortium in relation to a joint venture dispute in Pakistan
  • Advising on application to the Commercial Court to obtain an anti-suit injunction to enforce an arbitration clause
  • Advising on international enforcement proceedings against an offshore trust company
  • Advising an investment advisory firm on payment of fees for services rendered
  • Appearing for a telecommunications company in a strike out application
  • Drafting pleadings and advices in general commercial disputes with particular focus on insurance, professional liability and insolvency
  • Working with forensic experts in obtaining disclosure using e-discovery software

Financial Services

  • Acting as sole counsel for an investment management firm in claim brought against a broker in relation to certain bond transactions; claim raised issues relating to set-off (and the parties’ ability to exclude its operation via contract), and the allocation of bonds procured in response to a customer’s order
  • Working with Edwin Glasgow QC and Marion Smith on the Commission of Enquiry before Sir Anthony Colman into the collapse of Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Ltd, CLICO Investment Bank Ltd, British American Insurance Company (Trinidad) Ltd and other entities in the CL Financial Group and the Hindu Credit Union Co-operative Society Ltd. The Enquiry’s terms of reference encompass the effectiveness of the accounting and auditing firms and the institutional, regulatory and statutory bodies with oversight responsibility involved, including the Central Bank and Securities and Exchange Commission in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Instructed as part of a team acting as s.166 skilled person in ongoing FCA-approved review of sales of Interest Rate Hedging Products by a major high street bank.
  • Advising an offshore financial regulator on enforcement proceedings against a trust company.
  • Advising a Collective Investment Scheme administrator on licensing in an offshore jurisdiction.
  • Advising the UK office of a foreign financial services firm on the risk-based customer due diligence requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.
  • Advising an investor on a proposed negligence claim against a financial advisor.
  • Drafting advice on impact of the UK Bribery Act 2010 and US FCPA on international commercial transactions

Construction & Engineering

Samar has experience of a wide range of construction and engineering disputes, ranging from residential buildings to commercial premises and infrastructure projects. He is familiar with the major standard forms of construction contract and, in addition to his international arbitration, has experience of adjudication, domestic arbitration and TCC litigation. Examples of work include:

  • Acting (with Karim Ghaly QC) for Project Co in disputes with the Construction Contractor and the FM Contractor arising from pipework and heating failures in a hospital. Issues include: engineering defects; facilities management failures; consideration of metallurgical evidence; attribution of liability.
  • Acting (with Clifford Chance Asia) for the contractor in SIAC arbitration with a sub-contractor relating to a construction project in Dubai
  • Acting for a contractor in an ICC arbitration concerning a significant infrastructure project in the Middle East. Amounts in dispute approx. US$200 million
  • Acting (with Sean Wilken QC) for an NHS Trust in a dispute with Project Co arising from a PFI Contract. Issues include: fire compartmentation; whole Hospital Unavailability; construction of and validity of notice of Unavailability; interpretation and application of Safety Condition; access.
  • Acting (with Karim Ghaly QC) for Project Co in disputes with the New Build Contractor and Refurbishment Works Contractor arising from a regeneration scheme involving hundreds of new homes. Issues include: service diversion works; delays; attribution of liability between Project Co and the subcontractors.
  • Acting (with Richard Wilmot-Smith QC) in multiple related disputes arising out of a partnering agreement relating to a local authority’s housing stock
  • In the Matter of Caribbean Scene Ltd (in administration) (TCC) (Ramsey J) 11/04/2014: appearing as sole counsel for defendant contractor in its application for a final charging order against the Claimants before the TCC where the court considered it appropriate to depart from the fixed charge regime
  • Assisting on enforcement of adjudication decisions in TCC
  • Assisting in preparation of quantum analysis on behalf of an offshore investment vehicle owned by a Middle Eastern client in a professional negligence dispute (TCC) with a leading private bank
  • Advising a Sub-Contractor on the validity of a withholding notice purportedly given under s.111 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996
  • Advising an Employer in relation to proposed proceedings against a Contractor arising out of disputes as to delay
  • Advising on serving TCC proceedings outside the jurisdiction
  • Working with economic consultants to prepare an analysis of damages caused by breach of contract by a multinational firm


“‘Extremely smart, commercial and a pleasure to work with” (Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017)
“pays attention to details” (Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016)
“extremely prompt in his responses” (Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016)

Related Cases


Competition Appeal Tribunal in Skyscanner v Competition and Markets Authority

Taylor v Van Dutch Marin Holding Ltd

3M v The States of Guernsey

Samar's Sectors

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