Ashley Freeman, recognised as one of the most influential Islamic finance and banking lawyers, has joined Excello Law.

For 13 years he was head of legal at the Central Bank of Bahrain - the financial regulator of the world’s Islamic banking centre - where he had significant input into the legal and regulatory regime of Bahrain.

Prior to joining Excello, he was head of Islamic finance at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. His involvement in the Islamic finance industry covers more than 20 years having worked on some of the very earliest Islamic finance transactions in the City of London.

He was a key member of the working parties that designed and established the Islamic Financial Services Board and the International Islamic Financial Market working on many projects to standardise sharia-compliant documentation and practices.

He is a noted expert on sukuk (Islamic bonds, structured in such a way as to generate returns to investors without infringing Islamic law) and regularly gives presentations on Islamic finance topics around the world.

He has acted on transactions in more than 50 countries with substantial experience in litigation and dispute resolution.

George Bisnought, founder and MD of Excello, said: ‘Ashley’s pedigree within the Islamic finance sector is first-class. He brings substantial international transactional and regulatory experience, significantly broadening the expertise and advice we can offer clients.

‘Our business model supports specialist lawyers who wish to develop their own businesses within a collaborative structure and we are delighted to welcome Ashley to the firm.’