Mark is a solution-orientated, innovative and client-centric lawyer with experience working in big law firms, in-house, in finance, in Government and in the judiciary. Mark’s extensive, global and diverse experience allows him to find answers where others find problems, and has led him to be twice named as one of the ‘Top 50 most influential Brits in the UAE’, as one of the 100 most influential people in Dubai and by Forbes Middle East as one of the top 50 most influential expats in the UAE. Mark was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in her 2013 Birthday honours list for his work in strengthening relations between the UK and the UAE, was twice shortlisted by the Law Society of England and Wales as the UK’s Solicitor of the Year – In-House, and in 2018, Mark was awarded The Association of Corporate Counsel Middle East Achievement Award for his work in developing Dubai’s judicial system.
Mark has advised Heads of State, Ministers, Chairmen and C-suite executives of some of the world’s largest organisations. He is also comfortable working with innovators, academics, entrepreneurs and others looking to design the future. Mark brings a commercial and proactive approach to business building, with a risk-based, holistic and pragmatic approach to problem-solving and dispute avoidance. He is described as ‘brilliant, honest, charismatic, and eloquent, and someone who is seen as having boundless, optimistic energy’.
Mark started his career as a commercial lawyer in the United Kingdom, moving to Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 1997 with Clyde & Co. He then moved to Switzerland, designing hedge funds for Man Investments and in 2003 he was appointed General Counsel for MasterCard’s South Asia, Middle East and Africa region. He then moved to the DIFC Courts and became one of the world’s most highly regarded Court leaders. During his 10 years with the DIFC Courts, Mark took the institution from a start-up to becoming recognised as one of the top 3 commercial courts in the world. Mark was also instrumental in the establishment of the Dubai World Tribunal, the DIFC Dispute Resolution Authority, the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration and Mediation Centre, the DIFC Academy of Law and the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry. Mark’s connection to Kazakhstan began in 2015, when he negotiated the signing of an enforcement memorandum between the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan and the DIFC Courts. In that year he also negotiated the agreement pursuant to which the DIFC Courts advised the National Bank of Kazakhstan on the establishment of the Astana International Financial Centre, particularly the dispute resolution mechanisms. In 2016 he was appointed to the International Council of the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan, and since then he has played an active role in the development of both the Supreme Court and the AIFC. In 2019 he was appointed Senior Advisor on Legal Technology to the Astana International Financial Centre Authority and in 2020 he was appointed by the AIFC Governor as Chairman of the AIFC LawTech Advisory Council. Mark also became the first person from a Middle Eastern Court to be appointed President of the International Association for Court Administration, and more recently he has worked with Governments, Ministries and Judiciaries around the world, including his appointment to the International Council of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan. As well as being a co-Founder of Seven Pillars Law, and a professional associate at Outer Temple Chambers, Mark now sits on a number of advisory boards providing input on judicial reform; enhancing effectiveness; and implementing a transformation agenda, including in the context of LegalTech and CourtTech.
Mark is Chairman of The Metis Institute, which advises Governments and Judiciaries on economic diversification through enhancement of the rule of law and effective justice; co-Founder of the Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab at Oxford University; a visiting fellow at Oxford University; and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Expert Network. He is also the Immediate Past President of the International Association for Court Administration; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Global Legal Action Network; a member of the Commercial Dispute Resolution Taskforce, part of the UK Government’s ‘LawTech Delivery Panel’; advisor to the Boards of Resolve Disputes Online, Jur.io and Pheonix Advisors; a member of The Innovation Working Group of the Task Force on Justice focussed on addressing UN SDG 16.3; a Professional Associate with Outer Temple Chambers; and a member of the International Council of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Mark also works with Ministries, Judiciaries, NGOs and the private sector on rule of law initiatives, particularly on the use of technology to enhance access to justice. He is a speaker and lecturer about LawTech; the future of law, commerce and dispute resolution (with a particular focus on blockchain, smart contracts, virtual assets and crypto-enforcement); and the implications and legal issues surrounding China’s Belt and Road Initiative, having addressed Governments, Universities, Research Centres and the Private Sector in, among other places, China, Europe, the Middle East and Europe.
Mark served as the Chief Executive of the Dubai International Finance Centre’s Dispute Resolution Authority, Registrar General of the DIFC Courts and a Small Claims Tribunal judge for over ten years, before returning to the UK in 2018. He was also Registrar to the Dubai World Tribunal. During his 21 years in the United Arab Emirates, Mark also held various board positions, including four years as Chairman of the British Business Group, Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Before joining the DIFC Courts in 2008, Mark served as Regional Counsel for South Asia, Middle East and Africa, and then Vice President, Sales and Corporate Services, for MasterCard. Before that, he started his career as a company and commercial lawyer for Edge and Ellison before joining Clyde & Co in Dubai. He has also worked as a corporate finance lawyer at Man Investments in Switzerland.