GAR 100 - 7th Edition

Rajah & Tann

Professional notice

Some senior departures have made way for younger faces

Pending cases as counsel:
81
Value of pending counsel work:
US$8.2 billion
Treaty cases:
1
Current arbitrator appointments:
17 (of which 23 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
5

Rajah & Tann is one of Singapore’s leading full service firms, founded in 1955. The roots of the international arbitration practice go back to 1999 when Sundaresh Menon (who went on to become Singapore’s attorney general and later chief justice) and Chong Yee Leong worked on a case in Bangkok. Other cases swiftly followed and the pair worked in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka over the next four years.

In 2003, the entire group moved laterally to Jones Day, with Menon taking the role of head of international arbitration for Asia. However, the prodigal lawyers returned between 2006 and 2007, equipped with new international know-how and experience of arbitrations in London, Paris and Geneva. It was at this point that Rajah & Tann created a stand-alone arbitration practice, led by Chong Yee Leong.

However, the bad memories returned in 2013 as Chong and four other partners – Chong Boon Leong, Allen Choong, Chua Kee Loon and Kamilah Kasim – left to join rival Singaporean firm Allen & Gledhill. Rajah & Tann says the team left because of “professional disagreements”.

The firm has moved swiftly to fill the space, appointing Andre Yeap SC to take Chong’s place as practice head and promoting several younger members to the partnership (see “Recent events”).

Rajah & Tann reckons it still has the largest stand-alone arbitration practice of any firm in Singapore, with 27 lawyers dedicated to the area. In recent years, it has expanded and grown in prominence, thanks in no small part to the Singaporean government’s drive to make the city-state an arbitration hub for the region.

It says it regards its main competitors for high-end and complex arbitration work as not other Singapore firms, but international firms in the UK and US.

Network

The firm has six offices in Asia: in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Shanghai, in the Laotian capital of Vientiane and in the Vietnamese capital of Ho Chi Minh City (it recently filed with SIAC what is believed to be the largest claim emanating from Vietnam to date and is also representing Saigon Metropolitan in a dispute over the assignment of an iconic building in Ho Chi Minh).

Internally, it is also building specialist groups focusing on Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar and South Asia. On top of that, it has affiliations with firms in Indonesia and Cambodia (which have now expanded with new regional offices) and with Dubai-based Al Tamimi & Company. Its Malaysian associate firm was involved in a merger with two others this year to create a full-service law firm, Christopher & Lee Ong.

Who uses it?

The firm advises numerous clients in the energy, chemical and construction and engineering sectors, including Malakoff, the largest independent power producer in Malaysia; Petronas Chemicals Group; Korea’s GS Engineering and Construction and Samsung C&T; and Australia’s Thiess.

It also has metals and minings clients such as Sumitomo, Bhushan Power & Steel and Global Steel Philippines.

In the telecoms sector it has advised AT&T in a dispute with a major telecoms group. It has also advised Kempinski Hotels, Singapore Airlines and Air Asia.

Government clients include Laos, which it represented as co-counsel with Jones Day (against a claim by mining companies Thai-Lao Lignite and Hongsa Lignite), and Kazakhstan, which it assisted in defending a US$1 billion investment treaty claim brought by AES and Tau Power.

Track record

The firm’s significant wins include acting for a group of companies owned by an Indian steel baron; the purchaser of a steel plant in the Philippines, in a dispute over the failure of the vendors to provide encumbrance-free title; a Thai public company in a SIAC arbitration against Singapore and Indonesian entities over breaches of a financing agreement and related coal supply contracts; and a Cayman Islands fund in a dispute over a joint venture with an Indonesian oil group to take on Libyan oil concessions.

In court, it successfully resisted an application for interim relief requiring its client, a US-based software development company, to deposit money in escrow, deliver up software products and licences and refrain from certain business acts. It has also acted in successful enforcement proceedings.

Recent events

The big news in 2013 was the departure of Chong Yee Leong and his team for rival Allen & Gledhill. Later in the year, the head of the South Asia practice, Prakash Pillai, left to join Clyde & Co in Singapore. A more recent hire, Japanese national Tetsuo Kurita, left to join Baker & McKenzie’s associated firm in Tokyo as counsel.

But the firm has also added to the partnership in the past year, promoting Paul Tan (who returned after a two-year break at Oxford University and Essex Court Chambers), Douglas Chi and Hazel Tang. In Cambodia, partner Kelvin Poon has now been transferred to the international arbitration practice.

On the work front, the Thailand office is acting in a number of disputes, including a claim against a Myanmar company over a joint venture for an oil and gas pipeline; and an ICC case over the construction of wind turbine generators. The Thailand office is also acting in a SIAC dispute under Thai law over the construction of a coal power plant.

In Indonesia, the firm is acting for an Indonesian energy company in UNCITRAL proceedings seated in London against a Dutch company. The dispute relates to a gas supply agreement under English law.

Members of the firm are hearing arbitrations under ICC, SIAC and UNCITRAL rules, among others.

People in Who's Who:
5
Pending cases as counsel:
81
Value of pending counsel work:
US$8.2 billion
Treaty cases:
1
Current arbitrator appointments:
17 (of which 23 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
5

Rajah & Tann is one of Singapore’s leading full service firms, founded in 1955. The roots of the international arbitration practice go back to 1999 when Sundaresh Menon (who went on to become Singapore’s attorney general and later chief justice) and Chong Yee Leong worked on a case in Bangkok. Other cases swiftly followed and the pair worked in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka over the next four years.

In 2003, the entire group moved laterally to Jones Day, with Menon taking the role of head of international arbitration for Asia. However, the prodigal lawyers returned between 2006 and 2007, equipped with new international know-how and experience of arbitrations in London, Paris and Geneva. It was at this point that Rajah & Tann created a stand-alone arbitration practice, led by Chong Yee Leong.

However, the bad memories returned in 2013 as Chong and four other partners – Chong Boon Leong, Allen Choong, Chua Kee Loon and Kamilah Kasim – left to join rival Singaporean firm Allen & Gledhill. Rajah & Tann says the team left because of “professional disagreements”.

The firm has moved swiftly to fill the space, appointing Andre Yeap SC to take Chong’s place as practice head and promoting several younger members to the partnership (see “Recent events”).

Rajah & Tann reckons it still has the largest stand-alone arbitration practice of any firm in Singapore, with 27 lawyers dedicated to the area. In recent years, it has expanded and grown in prominence, thanks in no small part to the Singaporean government’s drive to make the city-state an arbitration hub for the region.

It says it regards its main competitors for high-end and complex arbitration work as not other Singapore firms, but international firms in the UK and US.

Network

The firm has six offices in Asia: in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Shanghai, in the Laotian capital of Vientiane and in the Vietnamese capital of Ho Chi Minh City (it recently filed with SIAC what is believed to be the largest claim emanating from Vietnam to date and is also representing Saigon Metropolitan in a dispute over the assignment of an iconic building in Ho Chi Minh).

Internally, it is also building specialist groups focusing on Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar and South Asia. On top of that, it has affiliations with firms in Indonesia and Cambodia (which have now expanded with new regional offices) and with Dubai-based Al Tamimi & Company. Its Malaysian associate firm was involved in a merger with two others this year to create a full-service law firm, Christopher & Lee Ong.

Who uses it?

The firm advises numerous clients in the energy, chemical and construction and engineering sectors, including Malakoff, the largest independent power producer in Malaysia; Petronas Chemicals Group; Korea’s GS Engineering and Construction and Samsung C&T; and Australia’s Thiess.

It also has metals and minings clients such as Sumitomo, Bhushan Power & Steel and Global Steel Philippines.

In the telecoms sector it has advised AT&T in a dispute with a major telecoms group. It has also advised Kempinski Hotels, Singapore Airlines and Air Asia.

Government clients include Laos, which it represented as co-counsel with Jones Day (against a claim by mining companies Thai-Lao Lignite and Hongsa Lignite), and Kazakhstan, which it assisted in defending a US$1 billion investment treaty claim brought by AES and Tau Power.

Track record

The firm’s significant wins include acting for a group of companies owned by an Indian steel baron; the purchaser of a steel plant in the Philippines, in a dispute over the failure of the vendors to provide encumbrance-free title; a Thai public company in a SIAC arbitration against Singapore and Indonesian entities over breaches of a financing agreement and related coal supply contracts; and a Cayman Islands fund in a dispute over a joint venture with an Indonesian oil group to take on Libyan oil concessions.

In court, it successfully resisted an application for interim relief requiring its client, a US-based software development company, to deposit money in escrow, deliver up software products and licences and refrain from certain business acts. It has also acted in successful enforcement proceedings.

Recent events

The big news in 2013 was the departure of Chong Yee Leong and his team for rival Allen & Gledhill. Later in the year, the head of the South Asia practice, Prakash Pillai, left to join Clyde & Co in Singapore. A more recent hire, Japanese national Tetsuo Kurita, left to join Baker & McKenzie’s associated firm in Tokyo as counsel.

But the firm has also added to the partnership in the past year, promoting Paul Tan (who returned after a two-year break at Oxford University and Essex Court Chambers), Douglas Chi and Hazel Tang. In Cambodia, partner Kelvin Poon has now been transferred to the international arbitration practice.

On the work front, the Thailand office is acting in a number of disputes, including a claim against a Myanmar company over a joint venture for an oil and gas pipeline; and an ICC case over the construction of wind turbine generators. The Thailand office is also acting in a SIAC dispute under Thai law over the construction of a coal power plant.

In Indonesia, the firm is acting for an Indonesian energy company in UNCITRAL proceedings seated in London against a Dutch company. The dispute relates to a gas supply agreement under English law.

Members of the firm are hearing arbitrations under ICC, SIAC and UNCITRAL rules, among others.

Rajah & Tann LLP is ranked as the largest full-service law firm in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

The Firm’s international arbitration team has been consistently ranked as the top international arbitration practice in Singapore and Asia by leading publications. The team is well-known for consistently delivering top quality service and providing clients with real and sensible solutions. The practice is led by Andre Yeap SC and anchored by several other leading arbitration practitioners including Lee Eng Beng SC, Toh Kian Sing SC and Francis Xavier SC.

The team comprises lawyers with multiple jurisdictional qualifications and has been retained as advisors and counsel on numerous arbitrations conducted under the auspices of the leading arbitration institutions of the world, including the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC, the London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA”), the American Arbitration Association, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”),the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (“KLRC”), the Thai Arbitration Institute and the Society of Maritime Arbitrators. Many of our arbitration lawyers are also appointees to the Panels of Arbitrators or Boards of Directors of some of the arbitration institutions highlighted above and sit regularly as arbitrators presiding over international / local arbitrations.

The firm has been consistently involved in some of the largest and most complex international arbitrations in the region, and has been involved in cases arising out of or conducted in diverse areas throughout Asia and Europe, including London, New York, Geneva, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Taiwan, Pakistan and the Philippines. With a regional footprint that spans Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and China, the firm is particularly well placed to deal with disputes across the region, and to also work with leading local practitioners where required to support this extensive geographical coverage. The team has also acted for or against various governments and government linked entities throughout Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Laos and Australia.

As a direct result of its client diversity, the team possesses an impressive level of working knowledge of many different applicable regional laws as well as various industries or businesses. The team has led and worked on disputes in relation to:

  • Corporate and commercial matters, such as complex cross-border joint venture and shareholder disputes, banking, finance, insurance, regulatory, distributorship and employment disputes;
  • Oil and gas (upstream and downstream);
  • Energy and Resources including power stations, power purchase and connection agreements;
  • Telecommunications networks, infrastructure and sales;
  • Infrastructure and civil engineering projects such as airports, railways, ports, highways, suspension bridges, tunnels and sewerage systems;
  • Building projects including residential, industrial, mixed-development and commercial building projects; and
  • Maritime and shipbuilding contracts

 

Contact Partner:

Andre Yeap SC

Head, International Arbitration practice

[email protected]

Tel (DID): +65 6232 0306

Singapore Office

9 Battery Road

#25-01 Straits Trading Building

Singapore 049910

Republic of Singapore

Tel: +65 6535 3600

24 hour hotline: +65 9690 2253

 

 

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