Middle East

As the UK economy skids to a downturn, the Gulf is providing a potential counter-balance through inward investment from sovereign wealth funds.

However, the West should ease off in its drive to regulate these entities, says Dubai-based Denton Wilde Sapte partner Neil Nicholson, or else risk a large-scale flight of capital to Asia and an ensuing crisis for our own banking system.

On the other hand, the Gulf itself provides massive opportunities for UK lawyers because of the importance of English law to commercial and financial activity there. The workflow for regulatory lawyers is poised to continue if an imminent capacity shortfall is filled with nuclear power, says Ashurst partner David Wadham.

The Financial Services Authority says that Islamic Investment Funds must adhere to the same principles as other financial bodies, but Muneer Khan, partner at Simmons & Simmons Dubai, argues that a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be put in place.