Ashley Freeman

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Ashley Freeman


Head of Banking & Finance

Areas Of Practice:

Global finance – including retail and wholesale banks; challenger banks, financing companies and fin-techs; central banks and monetary authorities, including financial regulation, payment systems and financial investigations; stock exchanges and capital markets (including bond and sukuk issues); bank and financial institution rescues and restructurings; investment business, including collective investments schemes and sovereign funds; insurance and takaful; financial services disputes; general corporate and commercial matters.

Contact Details:

+973 1753 7771

+973 1753 7117


Ashley heads the Banking & Finance group of Haya Rashed Al Khalifa.  He has extensive expertise of all aspects of global and domestic finance gained over 25 years of exclusive specialisation in this area.  Ashley is best known in Bahrain for his 13-year tenure as General Counsel of the Central Bank of Bahrain (2001-2014).  This position gave him unique insight into numerous financial law matters, rarely encountered by banking lawyers, including the regulation and supervision of banks and financial institutions.  He was also responsible for leading the legal team of the Government of Bahrain’s bond and sukuk issuance programme between 2004-2014.

Ashley began his legal career in the City of London in the early 1990s.  During this time, he worked on hundreds of bank financings, often for large cross-border syndicates, including asset-backed and project finance, corporate acquisition and Islamic finance structures, encompassing all the principle asset classes.  In the late 1990s, he joined Clifford Chance (then the world’s largest most successful law firm) gaining additional exposure to capital markets issues and was particularly active in international restructurings and reorganisations.  Towards the end of the decade, he was selected to work on (what is still) the world’s largest bank merger to date and was subsequently appointed to the new mega bank’s “preferred lawyer” panel.

Ashley first became resident in Bahrain in 1999 when he was seconded to Gulf International Bank (then owned by the six GCC countries) as their Head of Legal.  Rapidly rising to local prominence for his expertise and professionalism, he was soon recruited by the Central Bank of Bahrain (then the Bahrain Monetary Agency) as their Adviser of Legal Affairs in 2001.  Ashley has enjoyed close interactions with many Ministers, Governors and bank CEOs in Bahrain over more than 20 years.  He had significant influence over the development of the local banking and financial sector, having written many of its laws and regulations, including being the primary author of its principle enactment, the Central Bank of Bahrain and Financial Institutions Law (Decree No. 64 of 2006).  Ashley continues to be a preferred adviser to many banks and financial institutions both in Bahrain, throughout the Gulf and for persons overseas dealing with the region. 


  •  Cambridge University, BA and MA in Law
  •  College of Law (now University of Law); Law Society Finals


  •  Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England & Wales (admitted 1995)

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