Tom Wilson is a former member of the firm’s Global Board, serves as managing partner of our UAE offices, and heads our construction and arbitration practices in the Middle East. Among the leading construction disputes lawyers in the region, Tom represents public and private owners, international contractors and original equipment manufacturers in resolving disputes over the construction and operation of infrastructure assets. Tom has considerable experience in resolving disputes through arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, and serves as advocate in arbitration proceedings of all types, and in the DIFC courts. Chambers Global 2019 noted that Tom is “a construction lawyer through and through”, who “understands the Middle East very well”, and in 2021 that he has a “wealth of experience representing clients in significant ICC arbitrations”. Who’s Who Legal rates Tom as a “Global Elite Thought Leader” and “one of the standout names in the construction market”.

Tom also advises on project delivery systems, contract negotiation, contract compliance and risk management, and serves as project counsel to clients executing complex projects. As project counsel, Tom works closely with clients to avoid or achieve early resolution of disputes through structured negotiation and mediation, often during the pendency of the project. Tom also regularly sits as a presiding and party-appointed arbitrator in ICC, LCIA, DIAC and ad hoc arbitrations.

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  • Hamad International Airport Project: Lead disputes counsel to the government in regard to the construction of the US$15 billion international Hamad International Airport in Qatar. This engagement includes project counsel services and serving as lead counsel in international arbitrations and ADR proceedings.
  • Riyadh Metro Project: Serving as project counsel to a consortium of contractors and OEMs performing a circa US$10 billion contract for the construction of the Riyadh metro system.
  • Downstream Oil and Gas Engineering and Construction: Serving as project counsel to the developer of a US$2.2 billion oil refinery. Advising the client on the avoidance and resolution of disputes arising during construction of the project.
  • Upstream Oil and Gas Engineering and Construction: Advising one of the world’s leading EPC contractors on the advancement of circa US$100 million arising from the construction of a US$3 billion facility in Saudi Arabia.
  • Defence of Decennial Liability Claims in the UAE: Lead counsel to an international engineering consultant in two arbitrations concerning more than US$50 million in decennial liability claims arising from the construction of a signature tower at the Dubai Marina. The multiparty disputes were successfully resolved through mediation.
  • Qatar Highway Project: Advising the contractors in regard to a US$400 million litigation in Qatar courts arising from the construction of a new highway.
  • Project Counsel to the American University in Cairo: Represented the American University in Cairo, Egypt with regard to its construction of a new US$400 million, 2 million square foot campus near Cairo. Served as project counsel to the University for nearly four years. Analyzed and advised on the resolution of tens of millions of dollars in claims from and against the contractor, including claims related to delay, liquidated damage liability, force majeure, unforeseen circumstances, and design defect issues.
  • Abu Dhabi Highway PPP: Advised a consortium bidding on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project for the construction and operation of a highway from Abu Dhabi to Saudi Arabia the first transport-related PPP to be attempted in the GCC.
  • Metro Project in Saudi Arabia: Advised a key trade contractor regarding delays, variations, and other claims related to this critically-important fast-track project near Mecca. Supported the trade contractor in presenting, negotiating and settling tens of millions of dollars in claims while also completing Phase 1 of the project on time.
  • LCIA Arbitration on a Dubai Project: Lead counsel to an international design consultancy in successfully prosecuting and settling tens of millions of dirhams in claims against a Dubai quasi- government developer.
  • Deep Water Drilling Rig Dispute: Advised owner/operator in regard to delays and related claims arising from the construction of a new deep water drilling rig. Assisted owner/operator in achieving a favorable settlement of claims and timely delivery of the rig.
  • Power Development Dispute in Africa: Represented an international infrastructure developer in an ICC arbitration related to the construction of a power plant in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • DIAC Arbitration and DWT Proceedings: Lead counsel to an international architecture firm in an arbitration concerning design work done for Dubai’s Waterfront project. Procured arbitral award and ratified the award before the Dubai World Tribunal.
  • DIAC Arbitration on Dubai Project: Lead counsel to an international infrastructure engineering firm in an arbitration more than 70 million dirhams in claims related to design services performed for the Dubailand development.
  • DIAC Arbitration over District Cooling Plant: Lead counsel to contractor in successfully resolving tens of millions of claims arising from the construction of a district cooling facility in Dubai.
  • European CCGT Build Program: Served as project counsel to an international independent power producer in regard to the construction of four gas-fired combined cycle power generation facilities in Europe. Analyzed, evaluated and defended contractor claims while also enforcing liquidated damage provisions for delay and for performance shortfalls. The representation involved several complex, multiparty structured settlement processes and contract re-negotiations.
  • Coal-Fired Power Plant Dispute: Lead counsel to an international EPC contractor/OEM in multiparty disputes arising out of the construction of an US$800 million coal-fired power generation facility. All disputes were ultimately settled through two separate structured settlement processes – one for disputes among the employer, the client and the client’s consortium partner; and the other for disputes between the client and its subcontractors.
  • Project Counsel for US$4.5 billion in Coal-Fired Power Generation Assets: Served as project counsel to an international EPC contractor/OEM on the construction of four coal-fired power plants in the US over a four-year period. The representation involved claims and disputes of all types and included numerous third-party-facilitated settlement negotiations.

Work As Arbitrator

  • Sole Arbitrator, Presiding Arbitrator, and Party-Nominated arbitrator in more than 25 arbitrations, including matters administered by the ICC, LCIA, and DIAC, and ad hoc matters under UNCITRAL rules. Arbitration appointments in matters arising from the construction and infrastructure, real estate and financial industries.


  • University of Tennessee, J.D., 1995
  • Sewanee: University of the South, A.B., 1990


  • DIFC, Dubai
  • Georgia

Memberships & Affiliations

  • International Bar Association, past Co-Chair of the International Construction Projects Committee (ICP)
  • Dubai International Arbitration Centre, Arbitrator
  • ICC-UAE National Committee, Member of Task Force on UAE Arbitral Law
  • Recognized by Who’s Who Legal 2019 as a “Global Elite Thought Leader”
  • Recognized in The Legal 500 Europe, Middle East & Africa 2019 for United Arab Emirates – Construction, Dispute Resolution: Arbitration and International Litigation
  • Recommended in Chambers Global 2016 Edition for Construction in United Arab Emirates
  • Recognized in Chambers Global 2015 as a leading international expert on Real Estate, United Arab Emirates
  • Recognized in Who’s Who Legal 100 2015 for construction

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  • “Dispute Boards in the Middle East: Why We Haven’t Used Them, and Overcoming Obstacles to Their Use,” ICC Middle East Seminar, Dubai, November 2015, and Doha, February 2016.
  • “The Middle East: Overcoming the Challenges of Building in a Fast-Changing Market,” Chartered Institute of Building Seminar, London, November 24, 2015.
  • “The Client’s Role in Preparing the Case for Arbitration: Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Case Preparation,” A paper given at the SCL (Gulf) Conference in Dubai, April 24, 2014.
  • Speaker, “Protect Your Profits: Avoiding and Resolving Disputes in the Construction Industry,” Patton Boggs Construction Dispute Resolution Seminar, April 22, 2014.
  • “The UCC Rail Project: Interconnection of the GCC States from Oman to Kuwait,” International Bar Association Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law Conference, April 22, 2012.
  • “How to Deal with Disputes? A Primer on Negotiating Contractual Dispute Resolution Provisions,” International Bar Association Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law Conference, April 22, 2012.
  • “Construction in the Middle East: The Future Still Looks Bright,” Construction Law Update 2011, May 17, 2011.
  • “Suspending or Postponing Construction Contracts: Legal and Practical Pitfalls,” 7th annual IIR Contract Management Conference, Dubai, January 31, 2010.
  • “A New Legal Framework For Nakheel, Limitless Claims,” Law 360, January 12, 2010.
  • “Assessing ADR Options in the UAE,” Dispute Resolution in Construction Conference, Dubai, June 15, 2009.
  • “Construction Industry Outlook and Dispute Resolution in the UAE,” 20th annual American College of Construction Lawyers Conference, Amelia Island, Florida, February 21, 2009.
  • “Exploring the Lawyers Role During Project Execution - the Project Counsel Initiative,” IBA Conference, Construction Projects from Conception to Completion, Brussels, Belgium, September 5, 2008.
  • “Collecting on Dispute Board Decisions,” International Bar Association's International Construction Project Committee, IBA Annual Meeting, Singapore, October 16, 2007.
  • “Resolving Disputes Abroad: Effective Use of International Arbitration,” Association of Corporate Counsel, Atlanta, Georgia, August 15, 2006.

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