Muhammad Ussama

Senior Partner

Practice Areas
    • Arbitration (domestic, international commercial & investor-State)
    • Litigation (before ordinary, administrative & economic courts)
    • Settlement Negotiations and Contracts
    • Administrative Law (disputes concerning contracts with administrative authorities and/or state-controlled or -owned entities)
    • Public International Law
    • Social Media and Data Protection
    • Construction
    • Civil & Commercial Transactions
    • Insurance

    Muhammad Ussama is a former Judge, a practicing lawyer in Egypt and admitted to the Egyptian Bar (Appeal level). Thus, he is well versed in both private-law and public-law matters and is able to provide professional assistance and legal advice to investors (local and international) at any stage of their investments. Muhammad is currently involved, as counsel, in a number of international commercial and investor-State arbitrations, as well as a number of high-profile litigation cases. The amounts in claim have ranged from a million to well over a billion dollars. Moreover, Muhammad sits as an arbitrator in international commercial arbitrations. Muhammad is often involved in matters involving both Egyptian and non-Egypt laws (such as the laws of the UAE, the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait). Muhammad has recently acted on the following cases (a non-exhaustive List):
    1- As Arbitrator:
      • CRCICA Arbitration No. 1554 of 2022 (Chairperson of the Tribunal) (ongoing).
      • CRCICA Arbitration No. 1422 of 2020 (Co-Arbitrator) (closed with the issuance of the Final Award on 29 April2021).
    2- As Counsel or Co-Counsel (non-exhaustive list of counsel roles in both arbitration and litigation matters):
      • ADCCAC Case No. 40 of 2020, representing the Respondent (a state-owned Abu Dhabi   airports  company)   against   the   contractor  in  relation  to  a construction contract for  works on a new  airport in  Abu    Amount in dispute is in the range of USD 5.6 billion.
      • Ad hoc Arbitration seated in Oman under Sultani Decree No. 47/1997, representing the Respondent (the Omani Ministry of Transport and, ultimately, the interests of the Sultanate of Oman) in relation to a contractual claim brought forward by the Engineer in relation to works on an extension for an existing airport in Oman. Amount in dispute, including claims and counterclaims, is in the range of OMR 1.4 billion.
      • Representing the claimant in an ICSID investment arbitration against the Arab Republic of Egypt (‘Egypt’) concerning treaty breaches by Egypt and the harms incurred by the client’s gas distribution project in a number of governorates in Egypt. This arbitration was filed under the Egypt-UAE BIT.
      • Acting as Co-Counsel with a Canadian Firm representing a foreign (Canadian) investor in an investment arbitration filed against Egypt for breaches of Egypt’s obligations under the Canada-Egypt BIT. This is an ad hoc arbitration administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (the ‘PCA’J).
      • Acting as Co-Counsel with a Canadian Firm representing the client (a Canadian investor) in an ICC arbitration filed under a contract concluded between the client and a state-controlled entity for breaches of the underlying contract.
      • Successfully representing a client, an Egyptian real-estate technology start­ up company, in a DIFC-LCIA arbitration. The dispute was governed by Emirati law and the arbitration proceedings were governed by DIFC Law and the Arbitration Rules of the DIFC-LCIA. The claim’s value was in the range of USD 15 million.
      • A CRCICA arbitration concerning breaches of a hotel management and operation contract. The claims were in the range of EGP 250 million.
      • Successfully representing the Claimant, a Leading contractor, against the Respondent (the employer) in a CRCICA arbitration case. The dispute arose from a construction contract for the performance of works in a chemical plant in El Behera Governorate in Egypt, and the disputed amount was in the range of EGP 275 million.
      • Representing a Leading real estate developing company in Egypt and the Middle East in ICC Arbitration Case No. 25396 / AYZ / ELU. The arbitration was initiated by the opposing party (the contractor) and Shalakany defends the client’s interests against the contractor’s claims and, in addition, pursues counterclaims for the client. The overall amount in dispute is in the range of USD 20 million. We are expecting the Tribunal’s Final Award to be issued by end of July or during August.
      • Representing a leading real estate developing company in Egypt and the Middle East in CRCICA Arbitration Case No. 1407/2020. The arbitration was initiated by the opposing part (the contractor) and Shalakany defends the client’s interests against the contractor’s claims and, in addition, purses counterclaims for the client. The overall amount in dispute is in the range of USD 12 million. The Arbitration was terminated in February 2022 as a result of the execution of a settlement agreement between the disputing parties.
      • Successfully representing our clients, a leading hotels and tourism company, in CRCICA Arbitration Case No. 1292 of 2018. The amount in dispute is in the range of USD 18 million. Shalakany initiated the Arbitration on behalf of our client, and we managed to secure a favorable award in 2020. Currently, Shalakany is representing the client in enforcement procedures against the opposing party and managed to succeed in defeating a nullity action of the award that was filed by opposing counsel.
      • Successfully representing the firm’s client, a Kazakh investor, in settlement negotiations in relation to an investment dispute that would have potentially gone to ICSID arbitration. Muhammad led the team handling the settlement negotiations directly with the opposing party and counsel and managed to secure a commercially-sound settlement agreement for the client. The settlement agreement was concluded in June 2022.
      • Muhammad and his team successfully represented the Firm’s client, Meta (formerly known as Facebook), before the Egyptian Council of State (the administrative judiciary) concerning the validity of removal of content from the client’s website. Muhammad led the team working on this litigation matter, personally pled before the Court of Administrative Justice dismissing the claim and obliging opposing party to pay all expenses and fees.
      • Successfully represented the Firm’s client, the Abu Dhabi Airports Company, in a number of litigation cases in Abu Dhabi (alongside a UAE firm). These cases concerned (a) the nullification of a provisional arbitration award issued by the tribunal in the arbitration between our clients and a contractor, and (b) the liquidation of the full value of unconditional, on-demand bonds with Mashreq Bank. Shalakany and the UAE firm managed to secure wins from the competent Abu Dhabi Appeal and Cassation Courts, with the end result being (a) the successful nullification of the tribunal’s adverse provisional award ordering our client not to liquidate the bonds, and (b) the issuance of final and conclusive ruling from Abu Dhabi highest courts confirming our client’s entitlement to liquidate the full value of the bonds (i.e., AED 1.2 Billion).
      • Muhammad and his team are currently representing a number of board members of General Motors Egypt (including the Chairperson of the board) in a litigation case filed by opposing party (a number of minority shareholders) before the Cairo Economic Court. The case concerns allegations by opposing party of breaches by members of GME’s board of their fiduciary duties, and opposing party is claiming compensation (unquantified). Muhammad has personally attended and pled before court in this important case, and this case is currently reserved for a ruling to be issued by court in August 2022.
      • Muhammad and his team have successfully represented the Firm’s client, Dabur Egypt, before Egyptian courts in relation to (a) an interim-measure case seeking the eviction of opposing party from a plot of land and plant owned by Dabur Egypt, and (b) a substantive case seeking confirmation of the termination of a lease agreement and compensation in the amount of USD 4 million. Shalakany managed to secure wins for the client in the 2 aforementioned cases, and Shalakany is currently handling, in parallel, the enforcement proceedings and the settlement negotiations.
      • Muhammad and his team have successfully represented the Firm’s client, Three Corners for Hotels and Resorts, before the Cairo Court of Appeal in relation to a Nullity Action of an Arbitral Award that was pursued by the losing party in a CRCICA Arbitration. Muhammad personally attended and pled in this case on behalf of the Firm’s client and managed to secure a win in this Nullity Action and thereby affirming the existence of the favorable arbitration award that the Firm is currently in the process of enforcing against the opposing party.
      • Muhammad and his team successfully represented the Firm’s client, Three Corners for Hotels and Resorts, before the Cairo Court of Appeal in relation to an application for the issuance of an Exequatur for an arbitral award. The issuance of the Exequatur took less than a month which is considered an excellent record in Egypt for the issuance of exequaturs for arbitral awards.
      • Muhammad and his team successfully represented the Firm’s client, General Motors Egypt, in relation to a consumer protection – related dispute before Egyptian courts.
      • Muhammad and his team successfully represented the Firm’s client, Mondelez Egypt Foods, in relation to a number of litigation cases concerning claims in relation to the products of the company and health and safety requirements.
      • Muhammad and his team are currently handling Litigation cases before Egyptian courts for the Firm’s new client, Ajinomoto Foods Egypt S.A.E. (part of the global Ajinomoto brand). The litigation work the team is handling concerns an adverse ruling that was issued by an Egyptian court in absentia against the client. The adverse ruling obliges the company to pay an amount in the range of EGP 110 million, plus interest. Muhammad and his team have filed 3 separate court actions in June 2022 on the client’s behalf to annul the a dverse ruling, as well as a court case seeking the lifting of an attachment imposed by the opposing party with the client’s bank in Egypt. All court actions handled by Muhammad and his team remain ongoing before the various competent Egyptian courts.
      • The successful representation of the Firm’s client, Misr Insurance Company, in various litigation matters (appeals and cassation challenges) concerning claims by opposing parties (the insured and the beneficiary) in amounts in the range of EGP 360 million. Muhammad Led the team working on the litigation matters under the umbrella of this particular dispute and Muhammad personally pled before court in these appeals and cassation challenges. Muhammad and his team managed to secure favorable appeal rulings reversing the first instance rulings issued against the client, as well as managed to successfully overturn unfavorable appeal rulings before the Cassation Court. The current net result is that the client is not obliged to pay any amounts to either the insured or the beneficiary, and the Last cassation challenge is currently being heard before the Cassation Court and is expected to be decided upon in late 2022.
    Former and Other Roles
      • Judge at the Egyptian State Council (Administrative Judiciary) (7 years’ experience serving as a Judge, from 2011 to 2018).
      • Committee Member in the Committee established by the Ministry of Justice for the Digitization of Egypt’s Court System (ongoing).
    Publications (non-exhaustive list)
      • Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law, October 2019 Vol., ‘Sovereign Wealth Funds and Investor-State Dispute Settlement: The Interplay between Domestic and International Law’ (Journal Article).
      • International Journal of Arab Arbitration, 11 – No.2 (2019), ‘The Egyptian State Council and the Enforceability of Arbitration Agreements Concluded Within the Ambit of Administrative Contracts: A Case Study’ (Journal Article).
      • Arbitration Brief, Fall 2020 Publication (TBD), ‘Sovereign Wealth Funds and Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Examining Questions of ICSID’s Jurisdiction and the Impact and Purpose of Investment Treaty Arbitration’ (Journal Article).
      • IBA, Fall 2020 Publication (TBDI), ‘Egyptian Courts and the Scope of Review of Arbitral Awards through Nullity Actions: A Case Study’ (Article).
    Academic Qualifications
      • Diploma in International and Comparative Law from the American University in Cairo (2019).
      • LL.M. in International Commercial Law, School of Law, University of Glasgow (2017) (distinction in the dissertation on international investment law).
      • Chevening Alumnus and Jameel GAPP Public Leadership Fellow.
      • LL.M. in Public Law (with a focus on Arbitration), Faculty of Law, Cairo University (2014).
      • LL.B., Faculty of Law (English Section), Ain Shams University (2009).
    Association Memberships
      • Member of the Egyptian Bar Association (Appeal level).
      • Member of the African Arbitration Association.
    Arabic and English