Laya Aoun-Hani is a Counsel and senior member of the EMEA Baker McKenzie International Commercial & Trade Practice Group. With over 17 years of experience in the Middle East, Laya regularly advises multinational clients from different industries on commercial transactions, multijurisdictional distribution and agency arrangements and restructurings, commercial disputes settlements, competition law, trade compliance, export controls, trade sanctions and customs matters. She is the Middle East lead for the Baker McKenzie Consumer Goods and Retail Industry Group and has also extensive experience in the Healthcare sector.
Laya trained at one of the largest law firms in Lebanon and one of the largest international law firms in London before she joined Baker McKenzie in Dubai in 2013. She was a lecturer and coordinator of a Business Law course for five years at the Faculty of Business at Antonine University in Lebanon and she currently delivers training courses to lawyers in the private practice at the Dubai Legal Affairs Department.
Representative Legal Matters
- Advised a multinational toy manufacturer on the planning and implementation of their regional distribution centre in the UAE, including the VAT, Customs and income tax aspects across the UAE and the destination countries.
- Advised multinational luxury goods manufacturers on the restructuring of their distribution arrangements in the Middle East and setting up a hub for the region.
- Advised global companies from different industries on the negotiation of new distribution terms and conditions with current distributors in the Middle East.
- Advised and assisted manufacturers on their legal position in relation to the termination of their agency agreements with their agents in the Middle East. Drafted and negotiated settlement agreements for the termination of the agency.
- Advised global clients as part of their general compliance programs on various aspects of UAE laws such as anti-bribery, competition, consumer protection and data protection.
- Advised on customs regulations across the GCC relating to different types of products and advised on related governmental approvals.
- Advised global clients on the tax and customs implications of their corporate or distribution restructuring plans.
- Assisted global clients located in the UAE free zones in customs audits and helped them to reduce customs penalties.
- Advised clients on customs valuation in the GCC.
- Advised pharmaceutical and medical devices companies on regulatory and commercial matters as well their regional tax structures.
- Advised clients from different industries (food and beverage, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, childcare, etc.) on the customs requirements for the entry of their products into the GCC.
- Advised clients on import and export regulations as well as export controls regulations and liaising with the UAE Executive Office for Control and Non-Proliferation.
- Advised on trade sanctions and embargoes applied by GCC countries (such as the lifting of the Qatar and Israel embargoes by the UAE and the Russian sanctions).
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Beirut Bar Association - Member
- Lebanon (2006)
- Dubai - Registered Legal Consultant
- University of Westminster (MA in Diplomatic Studies and International Relations) (2005)
- Saint Joseph University (LLB Lebanese and French Private Law degree with honors) (2004)