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Islamic finance

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Meet the team

We have advised on Islamic finance transactions for more than 30 years and are one of the most experienced law firms in this field. As part of the cross-border group, we provide integrated advice across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. 

“Norton Rose Fulbright is ‘a leading firm in the structuring of any type of Islamic finance'.” Legal 500 2015

Our team in London is highly experienced in Shariah governance and regulatory issues. We have close relationships with many of the leading UK-based and international Shariah scholars.

Our global Islamic finance team comprises more than 90 lawyers, delivering advice in our key industry sectors: financial institutions; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.

We play an active role in the shaping of global Islamic finance legislation and products, providing regular advice to national governments on the introduction and implementation of local policy. A trusted advisor to a number of prominent Islamic finance institutions, conventional banks, major corporates and sovereign states; we provide a deep and broad service, unrivalled by many.

We deliver

  • The longest Islamic finance experience and the greatest skill-set of any global legal practice.
  • Guidance on how to conduct any transaction in a Shariah compliant manner.
  • Experience in credit facilities and real estate acquisitions involving a Musharakah partnership arrangement with either conventional debt providers or Islamic investors.
  • In-depth knowledge of Islamic mortgage products and Takaful insurance policies, together with a guarantee that all terms and conditions are Shariah compliant.

Our areas of work include

  • acquisition finance
  • asset finance
  • bank finance
  • bonds
  • capital markets
  • derivatives
  • funds
  • private equity
  • project finance (including through Istisna’a and Ijara Mawsufah fi al Dhimmah contracts)
  • real estate finance
  • structured finance
  • Sukuk (Islamic bonds)
  • Takaful.

Our recent work:

  • Advising the arranger of the US$20bn Oasis programme which used Murabaha and Wa’ad structures to offer certificateholders exposure to various underlying variables including equities, indices and funds.
  • Advising the Ministries of Finance in Hong Kong, Pakistan, Bahrain and Indonesia on sukuk issuances as well as advising Islamic Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, the Central Bank of Afghanistan, the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Norges Bank Investment Management (manager of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund) and the Cyprus Investment Funds Association on establishing regulatory and legislative frameworks for Islamic finance.
  • Advising national/regional governments in France, Germany, Canada and Australia on the necessary legislative and regulatory requirements to implement Islamic finance.
  • Advising Shamil Bank of Bahrain on the case which established the treatment of Islamic finance transactions under English law.
  • Advising Goldman Sachs in relation to the issuance of a debut benchmark US$500 million sukuk. The sukuk is the first issuance of a sukuk by a US financial institution and we advised on all aspects of the transaction including drafting all documentation, conducting negotiations with the Shariah Board to gain approval of the structure and liaising with the stock exchange.
  • Advising the Asian Development Bank on a project to promote the legal and regulatory changes needed to facilitate Islamic banking in Afghanistan. We oversaw the project, which involved working with local counsel (Kakar Advocates in Kabul) and the Central Bank of Afghanistan. We provided training to the Central Bank on the steps needed to create an Islamic banking industry, and the Central Bank prepared a strategy and draft banking law (on which we advised) and an action plan for establishing the industry.
  • Our London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh and Singapore offices advised the Al Jaber Group in relation to its debt restructuring. The deal is notable for its size and complexity, involving the restructuring and rescheduling of approximately $4.5bn of conventional and Islamic debt facilities provided by local and international banks.
  • Advising on the launch of Cobalt Underwriting Services Limited, the world’s first Shariah-compliant underwriting agency. Cobalt has secured underwriting capacity from XL Group to underwrite property risks out of London. The initial focus will be on property cover, with maximum capacity of up to US$300 million, and the products will allow Islamic investors to tap London’s subscription-based insurance market for the first time.

Awards and accolades

  • Tier 1 for Islamic finance, Legal 500 2016
  • Best law firm – Banking, Islamic Finance News Awards 2014
  • Pakistan deal of the year – Pakistan US$1bn sukuk, Islamic Finance News Awards 2014
  • Best Islamic Real Estate Deal – Park Crescent West, Euromoney Islamic Finance Awards 2014
  • Takaful law firm of the year 2014, International Takaful Summit