Leigh Hall

Hannah Kennett(Business and Finance Lawyer)

(Business and Finance Lawyer)

EXPERTISE

Hannah has had a broad range of banking (conventional and Islamic finance), corporate and commercial experience since qualifying in 2004. She has advised multinational and national companies, major banks and international law firms in relation to banking and finance, regulatory compliance, company law and labour and immigration issues. Since relocating to the Middle East 10 years ago, Hannah has advised on Omani, English, Qatari and UAE law, as well as the laws and regulations of various GCC Free Zones.

In addition to working with leading international law firms she has also experienced working in-house, having been on a long-term, full-time secondment with a leading GCC bank. Her role there was primarily a commercial one, in the bank's Special Assets Management Group, but also involved assisting the bank’s legal department with various high-value litigation claims.

At Al Sheaily Law she continues to advise on a broad range of banking, commercial and employment matters across Oman and the GCC region, including advising lenders in respect of conventional and Islamic Finance transactions and security documentation, and local law issues arising from employment and immigration queries, negotiating and drafting contracts and other employee documentation for international and regional clients.

Before moving to the Middle East, Hannah practised in England and specialised in employment law. She acted on many contentious and non-contentious employment-related matters for claimants and respondents, and appeared as chief advocate at employment tribunals.

Representative Experience

Banking:

  • Ahli Bank SAOG and Ahli United Bank BSC: Advised the Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers in connection with a US$235 million term loan facility agreement, including amendment and restatement, for project financing for the Muscat Sohar Pipeline Project;
  • Bank Sohar: Advising the Mandated Lead Arrangers on a syndicated mixed conventional and Islamic Finance facility totalling US$277 million. Advising on appropriate structure; drafting of Islamic Finance documentation, including istisna'a, forward lease and ijara and associated documentation and reviewing common terms agreement;
  • Bank Nizwa SAOG: Acted for an Islamic bank in connection with a US$40 million revolving murabaha and ijara facility to be used to fund the development of an antimony production plant in Sohar, Oman with an annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes;
  • Masraf Al Rayan QSC: Advised Investment Agent in connection with QR1.8 billion commodity murabaha facility to be used to fund an infrastructure project in respect of a logistics hub in the south of Doha, Qatar;
  • Commercial Bank of Qatar: Long term secondment in the Special Assets Management Group (GSAM) and assisting the legal department. Analysed existing corporate loan exposures, provided recommendations for restructuring to avoid default scenarios and identifying appropriate strategies for managing loan exposures. Restructured non-performing loans; monitored the bank's reports, including past dues, watch list and provisioning; and assisted the legal department with four claims of litigation totalling US$420 million and advising on employee termination procedures, including end of service entitlements;

Corporate/Commercial:

  • G4S Qatar SPC and Al Rayan Investment LLC: Advised on IPO and private share sale in accordance with QFMA, including undertaking legal due diligence on the company and preparing report and drafting Prospectus and Information Memorandum and ancillary documentation;
  • Royal Mail Group plc and Royal Mail International Limited:Advised in connection with the Memorandum of Understanding with Qatar's Ministry and Information and Communications Technology and subsequently establishing a branch office in Qatar and advising on secondments from RMIL to Q-Post in respect of service agreements valued to modernise the postal system. Drafted Secondment and Other Services Agreement, local Labour Law contracts and advised on immigration issues;
  • Champion Technologies LLC: Advised on corporate establishment in Qatar;
  • Confidential: Advised a major Japanese industrial company in respect of structuring a proposed joint venture investment in Qatar for the establishment of an automotive business worth QR200 million;
  • Global Investment House: Advised on doing business in GCC and appropriate company structures;
  • Virgin Health Bank QSTP-LLC: Provided company secretarial support on an ad hoc basis, as well as advising on English and GCC employment laws and drafting service and separation agreements.

Employment:

  • Confidential: Advising on numerous disciplinaries and terminations of this company’s international division in respect of employees based in the GCC as a result of financial misstatements by the division over a number of accounting periods
  • Doha 2020 Bid Committee: In connection with the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games bid drafted consultancy agreements, employment contracts, secondment agreements and staff handbook; and advised on labour and sponsorship issues;
  • Qatar Football Association and Bid Committee: Advised on the successful FIFA World Cup 2022 bid by assisting with preparing the bid presentation, reviewing and analysing FIFA standard contracts; drafting employment contracts for private sector and government employees; drafting consultancy and manpower supply agreements and staff handbook; and advising on employment issues under the private sector and civil service laws, together with sponsorship issues;
  • Qatar Rail: Advised in relation to US$38 billion rail project, including advising on employment and sponsorship issues, and reviewing contracts of employment and drafting HR policies and procedures;
  • DB International GmbH: Advised in relation to US$25 billion rail project, including negotiating and drafting secondment framework agreement, secondment agreements and local law contracts of employment. Advised on immigration and sponsorship issues;
  • Al Jazeera Satelitte Network: Instructed as global counsel to provide advice in relation to Al Jazeera's employees in over 70 jurisdictions worldwide, including drafting global and local staff handbooks and contracts of employment and liaising with local counsel. Advised on grievance, disciplinary and dismissal procedures in Europe and GCC and on immigration procedures and sponsorship laws in the UK and throughout GCC;
  • GE Infrastructure and GE Oil & Gas, GE Aviation: Instructed as local counsel and main point of contact for GE's in-house Labour & Employment team in the Gulf region, including providing advice in respect of the GCC and Pakistan.
  • Gas Exporting Countries Forum: Advised the Executive Board on and redrafted staff handbook to bring it into line with international best practice, and provided advice relating to employee benefits and termination;
  • Standard Chartered Bank: Advised on the termination of employment procedures, drafting of relevant separation agreements and associated documentation and assisting with the Labour Department; and
  • VISA: Advised on and amended staff handbook and advised on employee relations issues.