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John Smy

John Smy

Partner, Head of Engineering & Construction


+971 4 429 2999

John advises clients on a wide range of UAE construction matters, working with developers, funders, contractors, major sub-contractors and consultants in all types of commercial projects.
He undertakes contract drafting and amendment as well as advising on procurement choices as well as in relation to, bonds, guarantees, warranties, and insurance documentation.
John also deals with all aspects of dispute resolution including arbitration, conciliation, mediation and adjudication both in the UAE and internationally, covering issues such as time, cost and quality, extensions of time, loss and expense, variations, and payment and final account claims.
Prior to commencing with Hadef & Partners in early 2009, he worked in the construction department of a well known London law firm.
John completed his legal studies and Legal Practice Course at the University of Sheffield and is qualified as a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales. He is a member of the English Law Society.

  • John Smy is well versed in a variety of contentious construction issues, such as disruption and delay claims. He also demonstrates an extensive skill set in cross-border disputes. One source considered him to be "extremely knowledgeable in all matters relating to construction law."

    Chambers Global, 2021

  • ‘The construction team at Hadef is highly experienced and has an excellent grasp and understanding of technical issues. Matthew Page, John Smy and Paul Suckling are all highly professional and a credit to the firm.’

    Legal 500, 2020

  • ‘John Smy is exceptionally experienced in big-value disputes. He is unflappable even in the most trying circumstances, cheerful, calm and very client friendly. The attention to detail and preparation for hearings is magnificently impressive.’

    Legal 500, 2020

  • John Smy is “a highly experienced lawyer who is very well versed in international arbitration”, with one client saying: “His knowledge is second to none”.

    Chambers Global, 2020

  • Recognised as a “Leading Lawyer”

    Legal 500, 2019

  • John Smy, the firm's head of engineering and construction, is 'highly skilled at managing large-scale complex construction litigation while keeping a grip on the detail of the case, a rare and unusual skill'; he represents subcontractors, contractors and developers in matters with leading London counsel instructed concerning major building developments, towers, hotels and infrastructure.

    Legal 500, 2019

  • Recognised as a “Leading Lawyer”

    Legal 500, 2018

  • “Unflappable even in the most trying circumstances and very client-friendly”

    Legal 500, 2018

  • "I have worked with John in a complex arbitration case where the contractual arrangements between the parties and the issues at disputes were very uncommon and tangled. Dealing with such issues required thinking outside the box, which John was able to do most impressively. John was able to grasp the complex issues and set out a very effective legal strategy and strong legal arguments that I am sure made a big difference to his client’s position. I was very impressed with John’s ability to get to the core of the technical issues and be able to reflect on them and fully understand how these technical issues may affect the legal arguments, and act accordingly. John is a pleasure to work with and a very nice person to know, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to work with and know him."

    A Leading Delay Expert

  • "Following the Hearing I wanted to note how genuinely impressed I am with how the client’s pleadings and evidence were prepared and presented by John Smy and the Hadef & Partners team. Having worked for many years with the blue chip London outfits I can honestly say that this is one of the best prepared and presented cases I have encountered."

    A Leading Construction Barrister

  • “John Smy is ‘meticulous and client-focused’.”

    Legal 500, 2017