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GAR 100 - 12th Edition

Skrine

05 April 2019

The Malaysian firm is home to AIAC’s acting director

People in Who's Who Legal 1
Pending cases as counsel 5
Value of pending counsel work US$1.1 billion
Treaty cases 0
Third-party funded cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 6 (4 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 4

Founded in 1963 from the ashes of Bannon & Bailey, Skrine was a small outfit that grew into a full-service firm. At around 100 lawyers, it is one of the largest firms in Malaysia.

Vinayak Pradhan – a big name in local arbitration circles – has been practising for almost 40 years. He’s a former president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and acting director of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) in Kuala Lumpur, having also sat on its advisory board. A former member of the UN Compensation Commission, he sits as an arbitrator at ICSID, and is a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

The arbitration group spans some other senior partners, notably Lim Chee Wee (former president of the Malaysian Bar), Ivan Loo (admitted to the English Bar and a member of the ICCA 2018 ambassadors representing Malaysia) and Leong Wai Hong (current head of the firm’s dispute resolution practice and a member of the ICC Malaysia panel of arbitrators). Sharon Chong Tze Ying meanwhile was a member of the first ever ad-hoc arbitration panel for the South East Asia Games tournament in 2017.

Who uses it?

The firm represents numerous international construction and engineering companies, including Japan’s Kumagi Gumi, US company Kellogg Brown & Root and the UK’s Taylor Woodrow as well as companies in the energy sector. Important clients include Shell, BP, Bains Harding, Standard Elektrik Lorenz and Tipco Asphalt.

Track record

Skrine bagged a US$20 million win against Glencore for a subsidiary of Tipco Asphalt a few years back in a dispute regarding a breach of an oil sale contract.

On behalf of the Polar Electro Group, a manufacturer of heart-rate monitors, it convinced the Malaysian High Court to reject an application to set aside an US$18 million ICC award issued in Singapore.

The firm also obtained and enforced several awards against India on behalf of Scotland-based Cairn Energy. One case, concerning the construction of telecoms towers, clarified the scope of the Malaysian courts’ ability to review AIAC awards under the country’s 1952 arbitration law.

Skrine acted for Cairn in three other cases against India on matters arising out of an offshore oil production-sharing contract. Two of the resulting awards have been enforced in Malaysia. The third – issued in a dispute over the costs of developing an oil field in the Bay of Bengal – was upheld by the Malaysian Court of Appeal in 2014.

Partners Khoo Guan Huat and Ivan Loo are also advising US company Petrocon in another case arising out of the same model production-sharing contract, in which the Indian government is seeking to set aside a partial award made in Petrocon’s favour. The Federal Court dismissed the appeal in 2016.

Recent events

In a dramatic turn of events, Pradhan was appointed acting director of the Kuala Lumpur-based AIAC in late 2018 following the resignation of director Sundra Rajoo, who is being investigated by Malaysian authorities for alleged corruption.

Skrine partner Janice Tay left the firm at the beginning of 2018 to join the partnership of Baker & McKenzie's Malaysian member firm, Wong & Partners.

Together with Ince & Co, Skrine continues to act for Malaysia’s state-owned shipping corporation MISC in a billion-dollar dispute with a subsidiary of Shell over a semi-floating production system for one of the country’s largest offshore oil fields. The case is playing out before AIAC, as well as in adjudication proceedings and litigation.

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