Dentons have encountered continuing issues in their Middle East operations with recent news that the world’s largest law firm has now encountered problems operating in the Sultanate following a case taken by a local law firm against Dentons.
The case taken by the Omani law firm operating in the same field as Dentons had resulted in unlawful competition and was a violation of Omani legislation, according to the report.
The plaintiff based his case on the fact that foreign legal consulting firms operating in the Sultanate were given a stated period to correct their operative situation in accordance to the provisions of the law and its executive regulations (70/99) whereby these firms were required to have at least one Omani lawyer as a partner within the stipulated grace period.
A report in the Oman Daily Observer said that a decision declaring the invalidity of a licence to operate in the Sultanate as a ‘foreign legal consulting firm’ was unprecedented and “. . it paves the way for a radical correction in the way foreign law firms operate here — creating new employment opportunities and a healthy competitive environment that is attractive to potential investors.”
Dentons was not specifically named in the Oman Daily report but they confirm that they have been were the party and said in a statement provided to LawFuel that Dentons had been operating in Oman for 40 years “in compliance with regulations relating to foreign law firms” and in association with their associated Omani law firm Al Yaqdhan Al Busaidi Advocates (YBLF), which has been “fully licensed” by the Omani authorities.
The firm was, it said in the statement, “indirectly affected” by the recent judgment of the Administrative Court and “in light of this judgment we have been liaising with the Omani authorities to ensure that we continue to deliver our services in a compliant manner, working together with YBLF”.
Dentons have faced criticism from within the firm in recent years regarding their Middle East practices, including allegations reported in law blog Roll on Friday when they reported that a former CIA consultant was investigating claims that a former Dentons partner penned an anti-US article which accused Barack Obama of faking Osama Bin Laden’s death in order to declare war on Pakistan, among other claims involving sexism, anti-colonial attitudes and Islamic fundamentalism within the MidEast office.
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