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Sami Tannous


International arbitration |

He is outstanding and would be my go-to for any large arbitration.

Chambers Global 2023

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About Sami Tannous

Sami is a partner in Freshfields’ International Arbitration Group.

He is an international arbitration specialist focusing on international commercial arbitration and investor-State arbitration. He has represented clients in international arbitrations under all major arbitration rules including the ICC, LCIA, DIFC-LCIA, ICSID, DIAC, SCC and UNCITRAL rules, regularly sits as arbitrator and is an accredited mediator.

Sami has particular expertise of disputes involving the Middle East and North Africa. His experience includes advising clients on a broad range of commercial disputes including joint venture and shareholder agreements, SPAs, production sharing agreements and distribution/agency agreements, across a broad range of industry sectors.

Sami also sits on the LCIA Court (the LCIA’s governing body) and the court of the Abu Dhabi International Arbitration Centre (arbitrateAD). He is listed as a ‘Global Elite Thought Leader’ in Who’s Who Legal 2024.

Sami has been based in Dubai since 2012. Before relocating to Dubai, Sami worked in Freshfields’ Paris office, and in London.

Recent work

  • Acting for an automotive manufacturer in an LCIA arbitration concerning the termination of a distribution agreement relating to the distribution of vehicles and parts in Iraq.
  • Representing an international technology company in relation to a dispute under the DIFC-LCIA Rules regarding a distributorship agreement with an Egyptian distributor’s subsidiaries in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • Acting for a UAE-based petroleum storage company in a DIAC arbitration relating to the storage of naphtha.
  • Acting for a group of Lebanese, Jordanian and French investors in investment claims against Libya under the OIC Agreement and the France-Libya BIT.
  • Representing Pearl Petroleum, Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas in a US$ multi-billion LCIA arbitration in connection with disputes regarding their interests in Iraq and the Kurdistan region.
  • Representing a Middle Eastern financial investor in a post-M&A arbitration under the DIFC-LCIA Rules.
  • Representing a master developer in a string of DIAC arbitration proceedings arising out of individual developers’ failure to develop a number of major mixed-use real estate/leisure developments in Dubai, including DIAC’s longest and largest arbitrations to date.
  • Acting for Nine Pakistani independent power producers in LCIA arbitrations against the Pakistani electricity authority in connection with their entitlement to receive capacity payments under the terms of power purchase agreements.
  • Representing a group of individual investors in relation an ICSID arbitration against the State of Kuwait under the Egypt-Kuwait BIT arising out of a real estate development in central Kuwait City.



  • Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England & Wales


  • London School of Economics and Political Science, UK (LLB law with French law)
  • Université Robert Schumann, Strasbourg, France (Diplôme d’Etudes Juridiques Françaises)

Professional memberships

  • Member of the LCIA Court
  • Court member of the Abu Dhabi International Arbitration Centre (arbitrateAD)


  • International arbitration Top Trends 2022 Perspective

  • With Samantha Lord Hill and Amr Omran, 2016 United Arab Emirates country chapter in the ‘International Handbook on Commercial Arbitration’

  • International Law Office, 25 August 2016 (with Samantha Lord Hill) Arbitration in Abu Dhabi Global Market – another common law jurisdiction in the Middle East

  • International Law Office, 9 July 2015 (with Matei Purice) No BIT available? Multilateral investment treaties in Middle East and North Africa

  • International Law Office, 18 December 2014 (with Joseph Chedrawe) Arbitration Clauses and the Dubai Government

  • Arbitration International, Vol 25, No 2 (2009) (with Reza Mohtashami) Arbitration at the Dubai International Financial Centre: a Common Law Jurisdiction in the Middle East