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GAR 100 - 11th Edition

Allen & Gledhill

04 April 2018

One of Singapore’s most distinguished firms

Pending cases as counsel
86
Value of pending counsel work
US$4.38 billion
Treaty cases 2
Current arbitrator appointments 14 (of which 11 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator  7

Founded in 1902, Allen & Gledhill started growing its arbitration practice in the late 1980s under the leadership of former partner Michael Hwang SC, and 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.

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

Beside its headquarters in Singapore, Allen & Gledhill works with associate firms in Myanmar and Malaysia. The Myanmar associate firm is headed by Minn Naing Oo, a former chief executive officer of SIAC who is qualified to practise in Singapore and New York. She was born in Myanmar, speaks the language fluently and has helped to draft the country’s new arbitration law.

Who uses it?

The firm doesn’t like to name its clients but some of its instructions have entered the public domain. It has defended Sony subsidiary MSM Satellite in an ICC case brought by India’s World Sport Group concerning media rights for Indian Premier League cricket. It is also known to have acted for a consortium of banks including the Philippine National Bank in a US$350 million SIAC arbitration relating to the purchase of a distressed steel plant.

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 Fortune 500 company; and a Cayman Islands investor group

It has acted for 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 Singapore shipyard in a dispute over a drilling rig in Central Asia worth US$210 million.

Lately the firm has entered the investment treaty arena, advising clients on claims against South East Asian states.

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, and settled a US$120 million property development dispute in Vietnam.

More recently it has 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 successfully defended a US$1.4 billion ICC award in set-aside proceedings arising from a dispute involving an airport terminal project.

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.

It has also 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.

Recent events

Allen & Gledhill represents a Singapore-listed company in a US$150 million contract dispute regarding construction of a power plant in India; as well as a steel and manufacturing group in two ICC arbitrations worth US$227 million arising from a Malaysian steel plant.

The firm won a victory for Taiwanese clients in their US$23 million ICC claim in relation to the importation of pharmaceuticals. The claim alleged breaches of a supply agreement and involved regulatory issues in Chinese and Taiwanese law.

In March 2017, it helped a Singaporean client settle a dispute relating to a copper and gold mine in Laos, which had seen a subcontractor allege breaches of a services agreement.

Benjamin Koh and Ng Si Ming were promoted to the partnership at the start of 2018.

Insight

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