“A fantastic lawyer” who specialises in financial services, Saima has a "high profile in the field" and is recognised for her "great knowledge of the FS industry" (Chambers & Partners). She is “technically very gifted” (Chambers & Partners) and can “creatively argue against accepted legal principles” (Legal 500).

She has acted in a number of high profile disputes, including the Forex manipulation scandal, Keydata (“one of the few successful JRs of the FCA”, Chambers & Partners) and the 1MDB investigation in Singapore. She is currently sole counsel in two major FCA investigations, an enforcement action where she is representing the PRA and the widely publicised SKAT ‘dividend arbitrage’ litigation in the Commercial Court.  

Her practice is cross-border, covering jurisdictions including Dubai (“she is well-versed in… the DFSA’s rules and their application” Legal 500 EMEA), Hong Kong, Singapore and Guernsey, where she represents the regulator.

She prides herself on her client friendliness and is “highly responsive and commercially focused” (Legal 500). Assertive in court, she “exudes confidence” and “packs a punch as an advocate” (Chambers & Partners).


Legal 500 UK 2018 - 2019

“A fantastic lawyer. She is technically very gifted, very responsive and commercially savvy.”

Chambers & Partners

“Her advice is detailed, thorough, commercially focused and client-friendly. She has great knowledge of the FS industry and is very approachable and responsive.” Chambers & Partners 2014

Saima is a Recommended Junior in Financial Services (see below) and has published widely in this area (see below). She acted for Mr Roberts (the former CEO of Catalyst) in the Upper Tribunal and was led by Hodge Malek QC. Previously she acted for Mr Ford (the former CEO of Keydata) in the high-profile FSA investigation.

Notable cases include the extensively-publicised Upper Tribunal decision in Karan v FSA and UBS [2012], the landmark High Court judgment in Ford v FSA [2013] and Khan v FCA [2014] (Upper Tribunal). She is a former member of the EU Law Committee of the Bar Council, which considered the impact of EU law on the UK financial services regime, and a current member of the FMLC’s Advisory Group  which has been convened to consider and address the legal uncertainties which may ultimately result from the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

She has advised on the full range of issues arising under FSMA 2000,  including the new consumer credit rules, the operation of collective investment schemes, and liabilities arising from misleading statements in public offer documents. A bond issuance programme on which she advised was described by The Lawyer magazine as ‘ground-breaking’.

Matters in which she has been involved recently include:

  • Acting for a major pay-day lender in potential enforcement action by the FCA;
  • Acting for a bank in the Middle East in a banking dispute;
  • Acting on behalf of individuals in Dubai subject to enforcement action by the DFSA;
  • Successfully representing an individual and a firm before the RDC in connection with an application for Part 4A permission;
  • Acting on behalf of a mortgage broker in the Upper Tribunal [2014] All ER (D) 130 (Apr);
  • Representing a firm in a judicial review of a FOS  decision relating to an alleged collective investment scheme, Chancery (UK) LLP v FOS [2015] EWHC 407 (Admin);
  • Advising various SMEs in respect of IRHP mis-selling claims;
  • Providing an expert report in a financial services dispute;
  • Acting for a client facing enforcement action in the Isle of Man;
  • She is also regularly instructed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

Saima is particularly experienced in FCA enforcement investigations and has appeared before the RDC, the Upper Tribunal and the DFSA in Dubai. She has also attended compelled interviews for individuals/firms under investigations in addition to drafting a response to the Preliminary Investigation Report. Her work is cross-border, covering a number of jurisdictions including the Isle of Man, Guernsey and the Middle East.

Her experience has been enhanced by secondments to the Financial Services department of Clifford Chance, the Bank of England and both the Enforcement Division and General Counsel’s Division of the FCA. At Clifford Chance, she worked on matters including the collapse of Northern Rock and drafted the law of partnership for Qatar. At the Bank of England, she was the Legal Assistant to the Financial Markets Law Committee and assisted with the drafting of 8 papers on esoteric legal issues in financial markets (see http://www.fmlc.org/), including the problems created by the s235 FSMA definition of a collective investment scheme and the problems of jurisdiction under the Brussels Convention. She also has extensive experience of regulatory compliance issues, including money laundering and anti-bribery matters.

Saima has lectured widely in this area and is a contributor to PLC financial services column.

Saima is listed in the directories as leading junior in professional disciplinary work, and is an editor of the leading text in this area, Disciplinary and Regulatory Proceedings (2015  ed). She has appeared in some of the leading cases and currently acts for Mr Roberts’, the former CEO of bond-distribution company Catalyst, in his appeal to the Upper Tribunal.  Prior to this she acted for Mr Ford, the former CEO of Catalyst. She has appeared before a range of regulatory bodies such as the RDC, the SDT and the BSB, as well as appearing in the Upper Tribunal, High Court  and Court of Appeal. Her regulatory expertise encompasses financial services, legal and healthcare regulation. Within healthcare, her clients encompass both individuals (e.g. pharmacists, doctors and dentists) and public bodies such as NHS Commissioning Boards (formerly PCTs) and the NHS Litigation Authority.

Case of note include:

  • Roberts v Financial Conduct Authority, February 2015;
  • BSB v Rehman, December 2014;
  • Khan v FCA [2014] UKUT B6;
  • Ford v Financial Services Authority & Anor [2012] EWHC 997 (Admin);
  • Karan v FSA [2012] UKUT B8;
  • R (Chakravorty) v NHS Litigation Authority and Wakefield PCT (2011)  Admin Court;
  • R (Hussain & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Health Department [2011] EWCA Civ 800.

Saima has significant experience in general commercial litigation, including cross-border litigation. She has a specific expertise in commercial matters that have a financial services or regulatory element.

Examples of recent matters in which she has been instructed include:

  • Acting for a borrower against a major bank which was seeking to assign a loan in contravention of the loan agreement;
  • Mis-selling of IRHPs;
  • Acting for a third party beneficiary in respect of the negligent execution of a life insurance policy;
  • Acting for an investor disputing the validity of an OTC derivative transaction;
  • Acting for a bank in respect of a LMA trade and representing a group  of depositors who had placed deposits with Kaupthing, Singer & Friedlander.

She is also frequently instructed in respect of interlocutory matters such as security for cost applications, interim injunctions and freezing orders. She has appeared in the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division and the Technology and Construction Court.

She is also published in this area and has contributed to Atkins Court Forms on Contract and Agency.

Saima has a strong Public Law practice, with particular expertise in licensing and regulatory law. She has represented individuals and public bodies at all levels up to the Court of Appeal.

Regulatory: She has acted in multiple Judicial Reviews and has developed an expertise in judicial review challenges relating to financial services matters:

  • She recently represented the claimant firm in a judicial review challenge to a decision of the Financial Services Ombudsman, who characterised a tax mitigation scheme as a collective investment scheme: Chancery (UK) LLP v FOS [2015 ] EWHC 407 (Admin);
  • She has advised a group of IFAs as regards the merits of judicially reviewing the decision of the FCA to appoint a skilled person pursuant to s166 FSMA 2000;
  • Advising an interest group  in respect of the merits of a judicial review of the FCA’s conduct of the IHRP mis-selling redress scheme;
  • Acting for the successful claimant in Ford v FCA [2011] EWHC. 2583 (Admin), one of the few successful judicial reviews of the FCA’s conduct during an enforcement investigation.

Her practice also includes healthcare regulation and commercial matters such as consumer credit and public procurement. Within healthcare, her clients encompass both individuals (e.g. pharmacists, doctors and dentists) and public bodies such as NHS Commissioning Boards (formerly PCTs) and the NHS Litigation Authority. Her consumer credit practice covers both lenders and borrowers. She appears across the range of regulatory tribunals and courts.

Case of note include:

  • Chakravorty v R (on the application of)  NHS Litigation Authority   and Wakefield PCT (2011), High Court, unreported  (dispute relating to the interpretation of a dentist’s contract);
  • Hussain & Ors, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Health Department & Anor [2011] EWCA Civ 800 (14 July 2011)  (dispute relating to GP contracts).

Licensing: Saima is a Recommended Junior (Legal 500 and Legal Experts) in this area. Her work covers entertainment and alcohol licensing, taxi licensing and gaming. She has experience in the entire licensing process, right through to the Court of Appeal. She is regularly instructed by applicants (some as public access clients), interested parties and councils.

Cases of note include:

  • Acting for the Metropolitan Police to revoke the premises licence of ‘Madam Jojos’;
  • Acting in respect of the revocation of the licence of ‘Avalon’ a west-end nightclub;
  • Advising a client on the interpretation of the notification requirements in the Licensing Act 2003 in conjunction with s7 of the Interpretation Act 1978;
  • Corporation of the Hall of Arts and Sciences v The Albert Court Residents Association [2011] EWCA Civ 430;
  • Developing Retail Ltd, R (o.a.o) v East Hampshire Magistrates’ Court    [2011] EWHC 618 (Admin);
  • Hope and Glory Public House Ltd, R (o.a.o) v Westminster Magistrates’ Court [2009] EWHC 1996 (Admin).

Saima advises and represents corporate clients (including FCA-regulated entities), individuals and public bodies in respect of data protection and freedom of information matters. She has advised on range of matters from information relating to PFI contracts, to protecting material produced for a private adjudication process. She appears in both the First-Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal and has a particular expertise in electronic information and the internet. Cases of note include: acting for the successful appellant in Chichester District Council v ICO [2012] UKUT 491 AAC, and successfully appearing for the respondent in Farrand v ICO [2014] UKUT 0310  (AAC).

Saima is recommended in the areas of Financial Services and Professional Discipline by Chambers UK. Legal 500 and Legal Experts recommend Saima in the area of Licensing law.

Financial Services

Recommended as a leading Junior by Chambers & Partners since 2013

“Incredibly thorough, intelligent, quick to respond and someone with incredible analysis.”

“She’s obviously extremely intelligent but also very good  with clients as she’s not intimidating to them.”

“Her advice is detailed, thorough, commercially focused and client-friendly. She has great knowledge of the FS industry and is very approachable and responsive.”

“She’s very user-friendly and very switched on to the issues at hand. She looks at instructions from the viewpoint of the client and gives a tailored work product.”

“[Saima Hanif] was a “vital junior” in the Ford v FSA judicial review.”

[Saima acted for the successful claimant in] “one of the most headline-grabbing cases of its kind for many years.”

“She’s very hard-working, and pays great attention to detail.” “extremely user-friendly, fast, efficient and extremely bright”

Professional Discipline

Recommended as a leading Junior by Chambers & Partners since 2013

“A pleasure to work with, she is a very smart advocate who really understands how FCA enforcement investigations work.” “She packs a punch as an advocate given her polite yet assertive manner. She’s ultra-professional and conscientious in her conduct.”

“She offers very clear guidance on the law and isn’t scared to give her opinion and points clients in the right direction. She exudes confidence.”

“Saima Hanif is “the hardest working junior I have ever seen” comments one impressed solicitor… “she shifts so much  work it’s unbelievable.”

“She is a good  up-and-coming junior. She handles clients very well and has a lovely manner.”

“Hanif was recently led by Hodge Malek QC in one of the few successful judicial reviews of a decision by the FSA.”

Legal 500

“A trusted junior.”


Recommended as a leading Junior by Legal 500 since 2011

“Able to grasp concepts and creatively argue against accepted legal principles.”      Legal

“Saima Hanif is extremely user friendly, fast, efficient and extremely bright.”

“Saima Hanif recently acted in the high-profile Court  of Appeal case Albert Hall v Westminster CC and another.”

Cited as a leading Junior by Legal Experts.

1998 - 2001: Oxford University, BA (Jurisprudence)

Registered in Part lI of the Dubai Courts’ Register of Legal Practitioners.

Saima has published widely and in many leading texts including:

Tribunal Practice (2012), 1st edition, co-author. Published by Jordans

A Practitioner’s Guide to FSA Investigations and Enforcement, contributor

Butterworth’s Financial Regulation Service

Prospectuses and  Public Offers, contributor to Tolleys Company Law

Phipson on Evidence, 17th ed, contributor

Administrative Court Digest, co-editor

Atkins Court Forms: contributor to volumes on contract, agency, administrative court and  financial services.

Public Access Accreditation

Saima can be instructed directly by the public. Companies and individuals working in the financial services industry are especially encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.