UAE: Support pours in for top lawyer after he parts ways with international firm Baker McKenzie

Dr Habib Al Mulla confirmed the decision in a tweet on Saturday

File photo
File photo

A Staff Reporter

Published: Sun 11 Sep 2022, 12:34 PM

Last updated: Sun 11 Sep 2022, 8:33 PM

One of UAE’s top lawyers, Dr Habib Al Mulla, has parted ways with international law firm Baker McKenzie. In a tweet on Saturday, the lawyer confirmed the development and said “separation and exit negotiations will begin next week”.

The news comes after Dr Habib expressed his view on homosexuality, calling it “problematic”.

In a statement, Baker McKenzie said any social media comments by Dr Habib “represent his own views and not those of the firm”.

Support from the local community has been pouring in for the lawyer, with many criticising the firm for breaking business ties over his “personal views on homosexuality”.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Dr Habib acknowledged the support he has been receiving. He defended his views, saying they stemmed from “my religion and values”.

“I am very proud of (my values) and will not apologise for my comments. We are a tolerant society, but reject ideas and beliefs imposed on us or go against Islamic ideals,” he tweeted.

He said Habib Al Mulla & Partners will continue to operate as “an independent law firm”, providing clients with the “same level of service they have come to expect”.

Hundreds of Netizens have been posting messages of support for the lawyer.

Emirati social media influencer Hassan Sajwani said Baker Mckenzie “does not stand for freedom of speech as it claims” as it is “hypocritical” to break ties with Dr Habib “just because he commented on homosexuality in the west on Twitter”.

“Irrespective of Dr Habib being right or wrong in his comments, it is unprofessional and unethical to break / mend business and corporate ties basis of personal comments on any platform. Those are his personal views,” Sajwani said on Twitter.

Baker Mckenzie said it “strongly believes that however much we may disagree with the beliefs and personal views of others, we must find ways to disagree respectfully, encourage inclusive dialogue and to ensure an inclusive work environment for all”.

On its website, the law firm describes Dr Habib as one of UAE's “most highly respected legal authorities”.

“He has over 38 years' experience in UAE law and has drafted many of the modern legislative structures in place in Dubai today. Dr Habib is a strong advocate for the improvement and modernisation of UAE Laws. He is a frequent commentator on the legislation and economy of the UAE and is often consulted to draft and advise on federal- and emirate-level laws.”

The lawyer has held multiple prominent government positions over the years. According to Baker McKenzie, these include “being a member of the UAE Federal National Council, the federal parliament of the UAE; member of the Legislative Committee, in charge of reviewing federal legislation; member of the Economic Committee, in charge of reviewing fiscal and economic policy of the federation; director of the Institute of Advanced Legal and Judicial Studies, in charge of training judges and prosecutors in the Emirate of Dubai; and Chairman of the UAE Jurists Association”.


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