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GAR 100 - 4th Edition

Rajah & Tann LLP

18 February 2011

Rajah & Tann was the first Singaporean firm to be included in the GAR 100. (Drew & Napier and WongPartnership have since joined the ranks).

Pending cases as counsel:
58
Value of pending counsel work:
US$7.5 billion
Treaty cases:
0
Current arbitrator appointments:
13 (of which 9 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
7

Its international arbitration practice worked for several years at Jones Day becoming respected around the region. Eventually the prodigal team returned in around 2006-2007. Since then, the team has consolidated its reputation and expanded. It’s succeeded on three occasions in making the GAR 30 ranking of the world’s most active practices. Its clients tend to be construction and engineering companies, energy firms, mining businesses, and now also governments. Partners build their practices by focusing on particular Asian jurisdictions.

Recent events

As one of Singapore’s busiest indigenous firms for international arbitration, Rajah & Tann has been an active player in the development of Maxwell Chambers and the revision of rules at the SIAC. But the big news for the firm in the past 12 months was appointment of managing partner Sundaresh Menon SC, a pillar of the firm’s arbitration work, as Singapore’s next attorney general. Partner Chong Yee Leong, who replaced Menon as practice head a few years ago, says his departure won’t have that much of an impact: the next generation is more than ready to take up the reins. At the beginning of 2010, the firm lost Nadakumar Ponniya to the new Singapore practice of White & Case.

The year brought a high-value instruction from a Philippine steel company in a dispute with the creditors and liquidators of the US National Steel Corporation over the purchase of a steel plant. Rajah & Tann successfully obtained two injunctions – one from the Singapore courts and one from a hastily constituted tribunal – preventing the foreclosure of the plant pending the outcome of a SIAC arbitration. The dispute is thought to be worth more than US$1 billion.

The firm also managed to persuade a Singaporean court to set aside part of an award in favour of a subsidiary of US car maker Daimler. The court ruled that the sole arbitrator had breached natural justice in disregarding the counter claims of Rajah & Tann’s client. The client’s case is to be heard again in a fresh arbitration.

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