Sunday, 14 April 2013
According to its website, Envestors Dubai is the only active business angel network in the region. Angel investment is not entirely new to the Middle East and North Africa or even to the Gulf Co-operation Council region. I wrote a short piece about Angels Den in Qatar on 26 Sept 2011.
For those who are still unfamiliar with the concept I defined a business angel on the Inventors Club website as "a wealthy individual who wishes to invest in a new business." Typically, he or she may well have already built up and sold a business and will therefore have acquired skills, knowledge and experience that can be shared with the new business. Some angels invest as individuals and others as members of syndicates. In the UK an investment can fall anywhere between £10,000 and 750,000. I wrote a little primer on angel investment for my former chambers website in "On the Side of the Angels" on 8 July 2011.
Envestors Dubai appears to be the trading name of Envestors MENA Ltd. which is a member of the Braveheart Investment Group plc of Perth in Scotland. Braveheart was formed in 1997 and manages around £120 million. It offers equity, loan and mezzanine funding to SME as well as advice on corporate finance and investment readiness. For more information on that country and Envestors see "Envestors to operate YABA" in my IP Yorkshire blog (13 April 2013).
Envestors Dubai claims to have met and advised over 1,000 companies in the last 3 years, and have selected about 20 to take forward and present to its investors, of which approximately 50% have been funded. A profile of the company's investors appears on the "Our Network" page of its website, The investment opportunities on offer are on the "Current Deals" page.
Anyone looking to invest and indeed anyone seeking angel investment will require advice on company law, contracts, employment, tax and, of course, intellectual property. I can help with IP and I have written a short article "What Business Angels and VCs need to know about IP" which can be downloaded from the JD Supra website. Parties to a licence, joint venture, shareholders' agreement or other transaction can write their contracts in English, choose to govern them according to DIFC law (which is based on the common law) and to refer any disputes to an English speaking common law court with a judge from the United Kingdom or other common law country by inserting a Dubai International Centre Courts jurisdiction clause (see "DIFC Courts: Choice of Jurisdiction Clauses" 28 Dec 2012).
Sunday, 7 April 2013
On 27 March 2013 the Dubai International Financial Centre ("the DIFC") Courts published a Code of Best Legal Professional Practice (the "Code"). According to the Foreword by the Chief Justice, Michael Hwang SC, the Code has no statutory or regulatory underpinning just yet but the provisions relating to litigation will be incorporated into the Code of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (Practice Direction No. 2 of 2009). Moreover, the courts will regard the Code as a benchmark for behaviour and professional standards and any "failure by a DIFC lawyer or a DIFC firm to behave in accordance with the Code is likely to have consequences for that lawyer or firm in the event that such conduct becomes relevant to any case or hearing that comes before the DIFC Courts."
The Code applies to those who appear as advocates before the courts as well as those who conduct legal business in the DIFC and covers non-contentious as well as contention work The Chief Justice says that the Code is
"based on established professional conduct rules drawn from different jurisdictions. It has been the subject of review by those who practise in the UAE. It has also been the subject of public consultation."It certain;y seems to have drawn heavily on both the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales and the SRA Code of Conduct.
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