The Frontbenchers

+971 56 683 0775 (UAE)

+44 7938 439 469 (UK)

+64 21 562 082 (NZ)

Joby Beretta, Founder and Director 

Joby has over 18 years’ experience gained both in-house and private practice in the UK, UAE and New Zealand.  He has an extensive range of TMT experience including commercial, intellectual property, technology, e-commerce, start-ups, outsourcing, media & entertainment, franchising, sponsorship, telecommunications, data protection and sports law.


He also advises owners, investors and operators on hotel management, licence, centralised services technical services and associated agreements.   He also has significant experience of acting for both franchisees and franchisors of F&B operations.  


Who's Who Legal 2016 described Joby 'as a “standout” lawyer in the Middle East. His expertise spans entertainment, sports, franchise and IT law, and he is “incredibly gifted”. Clients appreciate his “industry insight” gained while working in-house, and having been based in Dubai since 2003, he has a “great appreciation for the cultural nuances of the region”.

  • Band 1 Ranked Lawyer - TMT - UAE by Chambers 

  • Leading Individual - TMT - UAE by Legal 500

  • Who's Who of Franchise Lawyers

  • Who's Who of Sports and Entertainment Lawyers

  • Who's Who of TMT Lawyers

Big Law Training New Law MindsEts

+971 58 531 2464 (UAE)

John Stamper, Legal Director

John is a English law qualified (admitted Jan 1994) business-focused solicitor based in the GCC since 2013.

He is a former partner of a UK national law firm and subsequently Head of Legal for a UK regulatory compliance plc consultancy. He advises and represents clients across numerous sectors; extensive experience in employment law, transactional and regulatory matters. Experience includes wider areas of compliance, business fraud (including sanctions and related investigations) and professional conduct matters. 

Chris Appleby, Senior Consultant 

Chris has over 25 years’ experience gained with both international law firms and in-house. He has an extensive range of IT experience including large scale systems integration, outsourcing and government procurement.  

Prior to joining The Bench, Chris was the Middle East head of Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) for both Dentons - the world’s largest law firm and Al Tamimi & Co - the Middle East’s largest firm.   Before that Chris was in-house at Dell Services in Qatar and Vodafone Qatar.    

Chris is dual qualified in New Zealand and New South Wales (Australia).  

Elise Gillians, Senior Consultant 

Elise has spent her entire career since qualification working in the UAE, starting initially in private practice at Pinsent Masons and Clyde & Co and later transitioned in-house.  She has a broad range of experience but specialises in construction, engineering and infrastructure and has worked on a number of landmark hotel, leisure and entertainment projects in the region.  


Her last role prior to joining The Bench was Vice President – Legal Affairs at Dubai Parks and Resorts PJSC, whilst concurrently Legal Director at its parent company Meraas Holding.

Elise is a solicitor qualified in England and Wales. 

Will Jackson, Senior Consultant 

Will is an experienced senior counsel with a demonstrated history of working in the IT and services industry.   His areas of expertise include IT law (including SAAS), complex outsourcing, privacy, e-commerce, international business and joint ventures.  


He was previously Associate General Counsel at Sabre Corporation based in the UK and is qualified in England and Wales.  

Ahmed has spent most of his career working in-house with some of the largest banks in the world.

He has over 14 years of experience which spans across corporate / commercial, banking, syndicated financing, project finance, trade and receivables finance, structured commodities finance, payments and cash management, real-estate, employment, competition, IT, outsourcing, digital banking and fintech.

Ahmed has been working in the UAE for the last 8 years. Prior to joining the Bench Ahmed was Vice President – Group Head of Advisory for Emirates NBD Bank.  Prior to that he held senior positions at First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC and Barclays in Dubai, Hong Kong and Egypt.

Ahmed is an Egyptian qualified lawyer.

Ahmed Thabet, Legal Director

+971 52 908 4892 (UAE)

+20 122 957 3697(Egypt)

Nadia Barton, Senior Consultant


Nadia joins The Bench from Dentons, Dubai where she was a Senior Legal Consultant in the Construction & Dispute Resolution practice.  She is a construction & engineering law practitioner with over 20 years’ experience, specialising in major projects, commercial property and infrastructure development with extensive experience in PPP/PFI both in the UK and internationally. Most recently Nadia has been advising Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) on the mega mixed-use property development, Uptown Dubai.  Prior to relocating to Dubai in 2010, Nadia worked at Clifford Chance, London and Simmons & Simmons, London and Paris.  


Former Managing Editor of Construction Law International, a quarterly legal journal published by the IBA. Nadia is qualified in England and Wales.

+971 55 886 3724 (UAE)


Gerard Hobby, Senior Consultant


Gerard has over 26 years' experience in the MENA region, including over 20 years in Dubai. He has a broad range of commercial experience in corporate, contract, private client, regulatory law and related disciplines across international borders.


Gerard was part of the team that established the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (now the Dubai Development Authority Free Zone) in the early 2000s. Subsequent to that he was Chief Legal Officer (General Counsel) of Dubai Holding LLC (the holding company for the Jumeirah Group, Dubai Properties Group and TECOM Investments) from its inception in 2004 until 2017, and more recently, the Registrar of Companies for the Dubai Development Authority Free Zone.


Gerard is dual qualified in England and New Zealand.

Peter Hansen, Senior Consultant

Peter has over 20 years’ experience across a range of intellectual property areas including IP dispute resolution, litigation and enforcement, IP issues in commercial transactions including licensing and assignments, brand protection strategies, IP issues in the creation and exploitation of literary and artistic works, internet related disputes and trade secrets.


Prior to joining The Bench, Peter was Head of IP, Middle East at Hogan Lovells, Managing Partner (and one of the founders) of Cedar White Bradley and Senior Consultant at Rouse, all based in Dubai. Before moving to the Middle East in 2001, he was a partner of the law firm Freehills, Sydney (now Herbert Smith Freehills).


Peter literally wrote the book on IP Law in the United Arab Emirates (IP Law and Practice of the UAE – Oxford University Press, 2009). He is qualified in Australia


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