2023 Judging Panel

Dr Fatma Al-Mesleh
Vice President for Student Affairs
Lusail University

Fatma Al-Mesleh is the Vice President for Students Affairs at Lusail University, the first national private university in Qatar. She was assigned as Assistant Dean for Students Affairs from 2017 to 2020 and a Teaching Assistant of Law since 2015 at Qatar University College of Law. She is responsible for developing strategies for students’ engagement in the educational process, managing students’ grievances and appeal and providing advice, counseling, and orientation to students.

Fatma Al-Mesleh received her master’s degree in public law (2017) and her bachelor’s degree in law (2014) from Qatar University College of Law. She was the Externship Program Coordinator in 2015, as she was instrumental in building relationships with legal entities in Qatar, including law firms and government institutions. Ms. Al-Mesleh has been awarded the Creative Ideas Award for the Academic Year 2014-2015 at Qatar University College of Law.

Duha Al-Mulla
Case Progression Manager Associate
Qatar International Court & Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC)

Duha Al-Mulla is responsible for the administration of cases before the Qatar International Court, the Regulatory Tribunal and Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre. She joined QICDRC in 2019 as Case Progression Manager – Associate to manage the progress of cases from the point of initial enquiry to final determination and disposal.

Duha previously worked at Sidra Medicine as an in-house lawyer from 2015 to 2019 and as a trainee lawyer at Simmons & Simmons. She holds a Master of Law and a Legal Practice Course award from the University of Law in London as well as an LLB from Nottingham Trent’s Law School. She is a Member and the Rapporteur for Qatar International Court’s Strategic Legal Committee and manages all matters in relation to issues arising from the committee.

Duha has an LL.M from the University of Law and an LL.B from Nottingham Trent University. She is admitted as a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales.

Dr. Ali Alkubaisy
Assistant Professor
Lusail University College of Law

Dr. Ali Alkubaisy: Assistance Professor in Public Law, Public International Law, International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law at Lusail University Qatar and a professor of English Law, and British Constitution Law at Sorbonne University Qatar.

Dr. Alkubaisy holds PhD degree in Public International Law, Comparative International Law and Human Rights from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge UK, a Master’s degree of Legal Studies in Law (Corporate Manslaughter and Legal Responsibility) from Kingston University London UK and a Bachelor degree of Laws from the College of Law at Damascus University Syria, with teaching and research interests focuses on current legal issues of International Law and Human Rights.

Umar Azmeh
Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre

Umar is the Registrar of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC). He is a dual-qualified solicitor and barrister, and has practised as a self-employed barrister, within government for the Attorney General for England and Wales, and in private practice as a solicitor. Umar has a master’s degree from the University of Oxford (Worcester College), where he graduated at the top of his class, and is currently undertaking a doctorate in law from the same university (St Anne’s College).

Professor Hilary Bell
Assistant Professor of Law and Juris Doctor Coordinator
Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Law

Professor Hilary Bell is an Assistant Professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Law. She teaches construction and infrastructure development law, dispute resolution and legal skills courses. In addition to teaching, she coaches teams competing in the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

Professor Bell has 11 years of professional dispute resolution experience, she holds an LL.M (Distinction) in Construction Law and Arbitration from Robert Gordon University and an LL.B (Hons) from the University of Glasgow.

Professor Bell is a solicitor and notary public, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration.

Professor Bell’s scholarship focuses on construction law, dispute resolution and legal education. She regularly presents to international audiences at education conferences.

Nada Boutros
Chief Legal Officer
Chalhoub Group

Originally Lebanese, Nada Boutros grew up in a Dubai that looks very different from today’s Dubai. She moved to the United States for university and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in biology in 2008. She found her calling after a short stint in the legal non-profit world and obtained her J.D. from Berkeley in 2012.

Nada practised as a securities and complex commercial litigation attorney at Latham & Watkins LLP in San Francisco for nearly ten years before moving back home to Dubai. In June 2021, she joined the Chalhoub Group, the lead luxury fashion, beauty and gifts retailer in the GCC and larger MENA region, as Deputy Chief Legal Officer. In 2023, she was promoted to Chief Legal Officer.

Arnaud Depierrefeu
LPA-CGR Avocats

Arnaud Depierrefeu is a Partner in the Paris office of LPA-CGR avocats. His practice focuses on the Middle East region, with a particular focus on the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar where he was based and practised for 10 years.

With more than 20 years of private practice, Arnaud specializes in corporate structuring (establishing, transforming, and liquidating legal entities, negotiating joint-venture agreements) and in projects development in emerging markets, in particular in the energy, infrastructure, construction and defence sectors.

He also heads the firm’s Middle East Desk in Paris, set up to support the firm's French clients in the development of their activities in the Middle East but also Middle Eastern clients in their projects in France.

Before joining LPA-CGR avocats, Arnaud was a partner of Simmons & Simmons based in Doha and a member of the Energy & Infrastructure Projects team. Previously, he worked at Gide (in France and China) and then at UGGC law firm (in China and Qatar).

HHJ Christopher Grout
Circuit Judge
High Court of England and Wales

HHJ Christopher Grout Christopher sits as a Circuit Judge, assigned to the Southeastern Circuit, and is based at Woolwich Crown Court.

Prior to this appointment, he held fee-paid judicial posts as a Deputy District Judge, Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Courts), and Recorder, and was the Registrar of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution from 2012-2022. Prior to that, he practised at the Bar, specialising in criminal defence work.

Christopher has a passion for advocacy and so, having previously held the post of President of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple's Mooting Society, regularly assists with advocacy training for undergraduates, graduates, and legal professionals.

Yosr Hamza
Head of Legal, Director of Legal & Compliance – Middle East

Yosr Hamza is a bilingual multi award-winning tech legal director managing the Middle East region for Gartner. She is a Board Member for ACC MENA Chapter, and also serves on the leadership of New to In-House Network, International Legal Affairs Network, and Women in the House Network.

Yosr’s practice focuses on General Corporate/Corporate Commercial/Contracts and Data Privacy, Ombuds to executive negotiations, legal risk management, corporate governance and compliance, crisis management and acting as a trusted business advisor to the C-Suite and my top management.

Saad Hegazy, B.Eng, MSc, LLM, FCIArb, MRICS, MAE
Resolve International

Saad Hegazy is a Delay and Quantum Testified Expert Witness, Member of the Academy of Experts with over 20 appointments, Expert Determiner, Arbitrator and CEDR Accredited Mediator based in Doha with more than 17 years of experience in Disputes Resolution in various industries and projects types in GCC, Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Saad has a wealth of experience and knowledge, having worked on airports, metros, infrastructures, industrials, oil & gas, water treatment, utilities, luxuries and high-rise building projects. His education includes BSc in Civil Engineering, MSc in Strategic Project Management, and LLM in construction law and International Arbitration.

Saad is the President of AACE Qatar Branch, Vice-Chair of CIArb & QFC Qatar Branch, and previous ICC YAF MENA Regional Representative.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), Expert Witness and Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS), CEDR Accredited Mediator, and Arbitrator listed at QICCA, SCCA, CIArb, and W&W rosters.

Cassandra Heilbronn
Private Family Office

Cassandra Heilbronn is the CEO for a Family Office of a Saudi Royal Family, responsible for overseeing strategy, investments and general operations internationally. Prior to this, she practised as a lawyer in Australia and Saudi Arabia predominantly in Sports & Corporate Risk.

Cassandra acted as President of Women Lawyers Association of Queensland from 2016 to 2018 and has held a number of Board positions, in addition to various appointments, including the Judicial Appointment Advisory Panel by the Attorney-General of Queensland.

In 2022, Cassandra was named an Honourary Member of the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland, the youngest to be awarded such membership in the association’s history. Cassandra was listed by Queensland Business Monthly as a ‘Top 20 under 40’ in 2017 and regularly features on the Who’s Who List of Australian Women.

Michael Patchett-Joyce
36 Commercial

Michael Patchett-Joyce is a barrister and Deputy Head of 36 Commercial at the 36 Group, London. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and CEDR-qualified mediator. He has acted as Counsel in many cases heard by the DIFC and ADGM Courts. He sits as an arbitrator or acts as arbitral counsel, particularly in commercial arbitrations seated in the Gulf/MENA regions. Beyond pure commercial law, he has a keen interest in international regulatory law, including environmental law. He has strong professional links across the Gulf and MENA regions. He is a long-standing supporter of the MENA pre-Vis arbitration moot competition and of legal education and capacity-building. He is a frequent and popular speaker at professional and academic conferences. He is a member of the Scientific Board of the MENA Business Law Review and sits on the Saudi Centre for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA) international advisory committee.

Dr. Jon Truby PhD
Director MENA Executive Training and AI Governance Educator

Dr Jon Truby is an AI Law Professor and Director of www.MENAExecutiveTraining.com, Qatar’s leading professional training company specialising in upskilling staff in law, technology and skills. He has worked in higher education and legal research in Qatar since 2010, formerly a law professor at Qatar University and director of the national university’s legal research and policy centre, which published in AI and emerging technologies law. He is the Middle East’s first AIGP (Artificial Intelligence Governance Professional Certification) trainer, having established  www.MENAExecutiveTraining.com as the Middle East's IAPP Authorised Training Partner for accredited data privacy training and certification.

At MENA Executive Training, Dr. Truby and his team help enterprise and government clients train workforces with cutting-edge skills and knowledge needed for Qatar’s digital transformation, such as data privacy and data governance, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. The organisation helps GCC lawyers fulfil continuing legal education and professional development needs through high-quality certified training programmes. He has established Qatar’s first Accredited Commercial Mediator Qualification for the Arabian Gulf, offering IMI certified meditator training programmes in person in Doha and online.

Dr. Truby is a visiting professor of AI law at Newcastle University and a highly cited legal academic in AI and emerging technologies law, having been listed by Stanford University as one of the World’s Top 2% of legal scholars.

Farouk Yala
Senior Legal Counsel
Qatar Energy

Farouk Yala is a French-qualified barrister and solicitor with 22 years’ experience, encompassing eight years spent in the private practice in France (Avocat à la Cour, barreaux des Hauts-de-Seine and Paris), and 15 years as in-house counsel in the oil & gas industry, holding several positions, first with a major US oilfield service company based successively in Tripoli (Libya) and Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). Farouk is currently Senior legal counsel at Qatar Energy, the national oil company of the State of Qatar. He holds a JD and an LL.M from the University of Pantheon-Assas Paris 2 School of Law.

Nayla Younes
Al Koubaissy & Associates – Beirut, Lebanon

Nayla Younes a seasoned legal professional with 22 years of experience in the practice of Corporate and Commercial Law.

She is currently an integral member of Kobeissi & Associates, where she her practice focuses on M&A, shareholder agreements, MOUs, MOIs, and Call Options, fluently navigating between Arabic, English and French. Nayla’s expertise extends to overseeing the incorporation of companies in the UAE and Qatar, studying cases and files for the Gulf region, and drafting and reviewing commercial contracts.

Nayla also acts as a Legal Representative of the General Manager at the General Directorate of Cooperatives (GDC) in Lebanon, defending and presenting lawsuits before the courts and actively participating in the cooperatives sector.

Prior to her current position, Nayla worked in the Corporate & Contracts Division at Walid Merhej Law Office, where she specialized in labour, real estate, and criminal law. Her practice included corporate restructuring, corporate recovery, offshore incorporation, and intellectual property law.

Nayla hold a Master’s 1 degree in Law from Saint Joseph University of Beirut.

Basel Zeitoun
Legal Counsel
Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy 

Basel Zeitoun is a legal professional with 12 years' experience. After nine years in private practice in Syria as qualified lawyer with the Damascus Bar Association and in Qatar where he joined a local law firm and handled complex international and local construction legal cases, Basel moved on to become Legal Counsel at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, where he contributed to the successful delivery of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar.

Basel Graduated from Aleppo University in Syria and holds an LL.M in Alternative Dispute Resolution and International Trade from Europa Institute of the University of Saarland in Germany.