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GAR 100 - 10th Edition

Allen & Gledhill

01 March 2017

The Singaporean firm is now doing investment treaty work

Pending cases as counsel 80
Value of pending counsel work US$3.4 billion
Treaty cases 3
Current arbitrator appointments 10 (of which 6 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 6

Founded in 1902, Allen & Gledhill is now one of Singapore’s largest firms, with over 300 lawyers. The 30-strong arbitration practice is co-led by partners Andrew Yeo and Edwin Tong.

The firm has been recognised for its expertise in construction and property disputes. It has handled cases at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), as well as ICC and UNCITRAL cases, within and outside Singapore.

The group expanded significantly in 2013 with the hire of five partners from Rajah & Tann, including that firm’s head of international arbitration, Chong Yee Leong. Another hire around that time was Minn Naing Oo, the former chief executive officer of SIAC, who heads Allen & Gledhill’s associate firm in Myanmar, launched in 2014. Minn, who was born in Myanmar and speaks the language fluently, has helped to draft the country’s new arbitration law.

Members of Allen & Gledhill are closely involved in Singapore’s various dispute resolution initiatives. Former senior partner Lucien Wong, a much-respected banking and finance lawyer, was chair of the SIAC board of directors before his recent appointment as Singapore’s attorney general. Partners Ang Cheng Hock SC and Chong Yee Leong are part of a committee that drew up the plans for the Singapore International Commercial Court, and the firm also has a number of members on the SIAC Users Council.

Network

Besides its presence in Myanmar, Allen & Gledhill has associate firms in Laos and Malaysia.

Who uses it?

In the past few years, the firm has acted for a consortium of international banks in a US$350 million SIAC claim brought by a purchaser of distressed assets; a major power generation company in a US$100 million dispute with an energy company (said to be a test case to determine the effect of the restructuring of the gas industry on long-term gas supply contracts); and a Fortune 500 company in a US$50 million SIAC claim against a Singapore government-linked company over a chemical production facility, in which it recently won an award on liability.

Other clients include: Lufthansa in arbitration and litigation with a Thai provider of IT services; a Singapore trading arm of the world’s largest private-sector coal company; a Chinese state-owned company; and companies listed on the Mumbai and Malaysian stock exchanges.

Another well-known client is Sony, which it recently defended in a dispute with World Sport Group over media rights for Indian Premier League cricket.

Track record

In 2014, the firm won a US$140 million award in an UNCITRAL dispute arising out of a fire at a Malaysian petroleum storage facility. It also settled a complex US$120 million property development dispute in Vietnam involving conflict of laws and Vietnamese real property ownership issues.

Further back, it helped the Philippines defeat a US$565 million ICC claim by a German-led consortium over a concession to build and operate a terminal at the international airport in Manila, as co-counsel to White & Case.

The firm has also entered the investment treaty arena, advising clients on two claims against Southeast Asian states.

Recent events

The firm won a US$145 million SIAC award against a Thai property group, and a multimillion-dollar award in an ICC case against a European conglomerate relating to the construction of a hydroelectric plant.

It acted in the first-ever case at the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre in which non-Vietnamese counsel have appeared in the merits hearing, winning a favourable outcome for a Malaysian motoring client.

It is also acting in a US$80 million SIAC case on behalf of the minority shareholders of an Indonesian company owning concessions in a coal mine.