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GAR 100 - 10th Edition

Cecil Abraham & Partners

01 March 2017

Home to one of Malaysia’s best-known arbitrators

Pending cases as counsel 1
Value of pending counsel work US$12 billion
Treaty cases 1
Current arbitrator appointments 8 (of which 4 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 1

Cecil Abraham launched this Kuala Lumpur boutique in 2015 after serving as head of disputes at Zul Rafique & Partners for eight years.

Arguably his country’s most prominent international arbitrator, Abraham has sat in over 55 commercial cases. He is Malaysia’s appointee to the ICSID panel of arbitrators and represents the state on the ICC Court and as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. He is also a member of the advisory boards of the International Council of Commercial Arbitration and the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA).

Abraham brought a team of three partners from Zul Rafique: Rishwant Singh, Sunil Abraham and Aniz Ahmad Amirudin. Sunil Abraham also serves as co-chair of the International Bar Association’s Asia-Pacific regional forum.

Who uses it?

Various Malaysian government-linked companies have turned to the firm’s lawyers – notably power utility Tenaga Nasional, oil and gas producer Petronas and property group Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad. Well-known Malaysian media conglomerates use the firm, including satellite TV group Astro.

Foreign clients include Australian mining company Lynas and China’s largest construction and design company, China Road and Bridge Corporation.

Track record

It’s still early days for the new firm in terms of results, but Abraham and his team enjoyed notable wins while at Zul Rafique. In 2014, they helped a Malaysian real estate developer win a US$53 million KLRCA award against the Malaysian state of Selangor after the state decided to terminate a joint venture and award the contract to another party.

In the same year, the team helped an Astro unit prevail on claims that it was not in breach of a non-disclosure agreement, also obtaining US$1 million in costs.

Recent events

The firm has been advising member companies of the Astro group on potential investment treaty claims against India. The investors say they have been unfairly targeted by a criminal prosecution linked to India’s “2G spectrum scandal”. Notices of dispute have been issued but no arbitrations are yet thought to have been launched.

The firm is helping a Tenaga subsidiary to resist enforcement of an award before Malaysia’s federal court. It is representing China Road and Bridge Corporation in a dispute over the Penang Bridge construction, valued at almost US$330 million. The firm is also helping Malaysian energy company Wah Seong resist enforcement of a US$11 million SIAC award.