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UAE and DIFC Employment Law


10-Week Virtual Course | 25 January – 5 April 2021

Middlesex University Dubai invites legal and other professionals with an interest in employment law to attend a 10-week course on UAE and DIFC Employment law taught by distinguished legal experts in the field. Participants can also attend individual sessions. For lawyers, each session offers 2 CLPD points.

Aims of the course

This course aims to provide an understanding of the way in which employment relationships are regulated in the UAE, through an analysis of the basic elements of the UAE Labour Law and the DIFC Employment Law, which respectively govern employment relationships in the UAE and the DIFC free zone that operates in Dubai.  The course assesses the practical applications of the employment contract on the employment relationship and the practical impact of statutory rights. It also provides an understanding of the manner in which the employment relationship is formed and varied and creates awareness of how the law affects workplace rules and procedures relating to employment protection. The course encourages a critical approach to legal regulation and focuses on the unique double-jurisdictional context of Dubai allowing participants to evaluate and undertake a comparison of two employment law structures that co-exist in Dubai.


  • Types of Contract – Fixed and Indefinite, Terms express and implied
  • Working time and Pay – Overtime, Sick pay, Ramadan hours, Leave, Holiday pay, Allowances, Benefits and Deductions, Family friendly rights
  • Discrimination, harassment in the workplace
  • Case studies on DIFC Employment Law
  • Case studies on UAE Employment Law
  • Ministerial Decrees in the UAE and overview of changes in the DIFC Employment Law
  • Disciplinary and grievance for Workplace injuries)
  • Termination under UAE Federal Labour Law – Conduct, Performance, Arbitrary dismissal, Article 120 summary dismissal
  • Termination under DIFC Employment Law – Notice, termination for cause Article 63
  • Post-employment restrictions in UAE and DIFC

Learning and Teaching Strategies

The course will be delivered through interactive lectures held weekly within a two-hour timetabled slot, during which participants will be provided with an interactive exploration of UAE and DIFC relevant cases. Prior to each session, students will be given preliminary directed reading and will be expected to prepare for the lectures and participate in the discussions, where appropriate.

Course Timetable

The course will start on 25 January 2021 and will be completed by 5 April 2021.
The sessions will be delivered virtually on Mondays from 6.30pm-8.30pm on Microsoft Teams.


Participants who complete the full course will be awarded a certificate of completion by Middlesex University Dubai. Lawyers can receive 2 CLPD points for each session.


The fee for the full course is AED 5000. If participants wish to attend individual sessions, the fee for each is AED 700.

Students and Alumni of Middlesex University Dubai are eligible for a discounted rate of AED 4,000 when registering for the full 10-week course.

Registration Form


Luke Tapp

Partner and Head of the Middle East Employment Practice Pinsent Masons LLP

Luke is a partner for Pinsent Masons and leads our Middle East Employment Practice.  As head of the Middle East Employment Practice, Luke advises clients based in the UAE and Gulf region on all aspects of employment and labour law issues.  Luke is ranked as a leading employment lawyer by Legal 500 and Chambers respectively, and was awarded Young Lawyer of the Year at the 2017 DIFC Gala Dinner.   Chambers 2020 describes Luke as having "an extensive knowledge of employment law in the UAE" and Legal 500 refer to Luke as ‘an exceptional lawyer – his in-depth knowledge of the UAE employment laws coupled with his practical, pragmatic approach to issues makes his advice second to none.‘

The Pinsent Masons Employment Practice is ranked by Legal 500 and Chambers as one of the leading employment practices in the UAE.  Legal 500 recognizes Pinsent Masons as “a stand out employment practice” blending “impressive technical knowledge with pragmatism and commercialism”.  The team were runners-up for Employment Team of the Year 2018 and 2019 at the Middle East Oath Awards.


Luke assists clients on all aspects of the labour laws of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait. He regularly advises clients on non-contentious matters, such assisting in the transfer of employees, reviewing contracts of employment and handbooks, and advising on the placement of employees and consultants in Middle East and African jurisdictions. Luke also assists clients with restructures, senior executive terminations and exit strategies. Luke has managed a wide variety of free zone and onshore GCC labour litigation matters, covering all types of employment law claims.

Thenji Moyo

Thenji has extensive experience working in employment law advising blue chip, multinational, regional, local and private clients from all industry sectors. She advises on complex employment issues, which include global mobility of employees, cross-jurisdictional matters including temporary assignment, secondment, cross border engagement.

She has particular expertise in advising on all HR issues including recruitment, termination, employment disputes, corporate reorganization, mergers and acquisitions, terms and conditions, company policies and procedures.

Thenji is appointed as visiting lecturer at the LLM Course at Middlesex University Dubai on the Individual employment law and the UAE and DIFC Employment Law Module which is the first local law module offered on the UK LLM.

Thenji is an active volunteer lawyer with the pro-bono scheme with the DIFC Authority, the DMCC Free Zone Mediation Centre and the ADGM. In addition, she provides educational employment law seminars for the DMCC Authority, DIFC Academy, business councils and The Human Resources Forum. 

Haytham Alieh

Haytham Alieh is a Partner and heads one of the Disputes Teams practice based in our DIFC office in Dubai.

Prior to joining BSA, Haytham was a partner and Head of Litigation for DWF Middle East and before that he was a Counsel and Sector Leader of the Disputes Department in Baker & McKenzie.Habib Al Mulla’s Abu Dhabi office.

Haytham is an experienced lawyer and legal counselor and has over 24 years’ experience in the Middle East, Haytham has extensive wide-ranging experience specializing in litigation, Arbitration and Mediation across a variety of sectors and he is a registered Lawyer and member of the Beirut Bar Association in Lebanon since 1996.

Haytham has in-depth experience in civil, criminal, banking, real estate, construction, transportation, employment and commercial law in a contentious and advisory capacity and is an expert in drafting and reviewing complex commercial documentation.

Haytham has co-authored six legal books regarding business, commercial and criminal laws and their interpretation and implementation in the Middle East, he has also published several articles on new laws that were introduced in the UAE. He also specializes in the enforcement of arbitral awards and foreign judgments within the UAE courts.

Gordon Barr

Partner, Employment & Incentives

Gordon advises on the full spectrum of employment and immigration law issues throughout the employment life cycle with a particular focus on disputes, whether before the UAE or DIFC Courts. In respect to the latter, Gordon is a DIFC registered practitioner with full rights of audience. 

A key part of Gordon’s practice involves compensation and benefits advice where he advises across all sectors and with a specific focus upon banking, financial services and technology. He was recently elected to the Supervisory Board of the DIFC DEWS (DIFC Employee Workplace Savings) Plan as a DIFC Employer Representative.

Gordon has worked in the Middle East since 2011 after previously working with a leading UK law firm, acting for a wide range of blue chip clients for whom he appeared before Employment Tribunals throughout the UK. Prior to a career in law, Gordon spent several years in financial services.

Samantha Ellaby

Samantha is a legal director in the MEA employment team of Clyde & Co LLP. Whilst she is based in Dubai, her practice covers the MEA region and, particularly, the UAE, Qatar and KSA. Samantha advises clients on the full range of issues throughout the employment life cycle from immigration and recruitment, day to day issues such as performance management and disciplinary matters, managing exits, redundancies and restructures through to post termination issues such as restrictive covenants and confidentiality. Sam has seen an increase in clients seeking support with workplace investigations and has a particular focus on workplace health and safety supporting clients to understand their health and safety obligations and representing clients following a workplace incident.

Sarah Anderson

Sarah is a principal associate in the human resources practice and is based in our Dubai office. She has extensive experience advising a wide range of corporate clients on contentious and non-contentious employment and HR issues in the UAE and the UK. Sarah has considerable knowledge in local custom and practice and has comprehensive understanding of employment law onshore and in the free zones, particularly the DIFC. She has also been seconded to a number of clients during her career to work with their in-house legal and HR teams.

Sarah moved to Dubai in 2015 and joined Al Tamimi before moving to Hadef & Partners in 2017. Prior to moving to Dubai, she practiced law in London where she focused on UK employment law and was the primary contact for several key clients. Whilst in the UK, Sarah also acted for employers and employees in the Employment Appeals Tribunal and Court of Appeal, including being the lead lawyer acting for the claimant in a high-profile employment dispute which involved two prominent London fund managers.

Sarah regularly writes articles for external publications, routinely presents at employment law seminars and is a Dubai Legal Affairs Department (DLAD) approved presenter/trainer.

Recognized by Chambers Global 2020 as an associate to watch for UAE employment. One source mentioned that "her availability, response rate, explanation of UAE legal queries and knowledge on UAE legislation are her biggest strengths."

Sarah is also recognized by Legal 500 EMEA 2020 as a rising star.

Sarah Malik FCIArb

CEO and International Disputes Counsel

Sarah Malik is an experienced and well-regarded lawyer whose 21-year career to date has spanned internationally. Prior to founding boutique firm SOL International Ltd in 2018, she practiced as a Barrister at a leading set of Commercial Chambers in London, was employed Counsel at a UK law firm and headed the Advocacy and Investigations team of an International law firm in Dubai.

Sarah undertakes all aspects of employment work and has a busy employment law practice, both contentious and non-contentious, at the DIFC and the ADGM. She is regularly invited as a speaker at conferences in the UAE, the GCC and internationally.

Sarah is appointed as visiting lecturer on the LLM course at Middlesex University, Dubai on the UAE and DIFC Employment Law LLM module.  She has also lectured for Workplace Law at Murdoch University, Dubai.

In addition to employment law, Sarah has a busy litigation and dispute resolution practice and teaches for the DIFC Academy. She is often used as external Counsel and advocate by law firms and in -house clients and acts as personal advisor to Ultra High Net Worth private clients. She is known as a straight talking, no nonsense lawyer and her approach and commitment has resulted in a loyal client following.

John Stamper

With over 25 years' international experience, John has led Employment teams both in private practice and in-house.

In the region since 2013, John provides day-to-day employment advice to a wide sector of employer's from international businesses to SMEs. He has a particular interest in the protection of business interests, restructuring, M&A corporate support and regulatory matters. His experience also includes wider areas of compliance, professional conduct, and business fraud (including sanctions and related investigations).

Prior to joining Support Legal, John’s experience included working for one of the largest local law firms and as global Employment Counsel for the region’s largest media company.

John is a member of the Employment & Immigration Committee of the Inter Pacific Bar Association and a regular speaker at their conferences. He has previously written and presented the Employment Law course for a College in the UK.

He is a Judicial Officer for World Rugby and deputy chair of Asia Rugby Judiciary Committee.

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