A breakaway firm from Malaysia’s Skrine
|Pending cases as counsel||1|
NEW ENTRY. In 2020, Dato’ Lim Chee Wee left Skrine, one of Malaysia’s most prominent firms, to set up this boutique as a more flexible structure for providing dispute resolution services.
Chee Wee had been at Skrine for three decades and took with him fellow partners Kwan Will Sen and Lee Shih. Their experience includes ICC, SIAC, AIAC and UNCITRAL disputes.
The new firm counts sovereign wealth funds, government bodies, multinationals, private equity funds and high net worth individuals among its clients.
It’s early days for the firm in terms of results but its founders have plenty of experience from their time at Skrine.
The trio acted for Thai coal-mining company Thai-Lao Lignite when its UNCITRAL arbitration with Laos over the termination of a power plant project spilled into the Malaysian courts. Further back, they helped a subsidiary of Thai asphalt company Tipco win a US$20 million award against a Glencore subsidiary.
Chee Wee and Will Sen also recently acted for Top Glove, the world’s largest glove manufacturer, in a SIAC arbitration arising from its purchase of surgical glove producer Aspion. The case reached settlement shortly before the firm opened, with the client receiving 245 million ringgit (US$59 million).
One of the firm’s first instructions came from GKL, a subsidiary of Malaysian state-owned oil and gas company Petronas, in its effort to have an adverse US$340 million AIAC award set aside. GKL initially used the trio when they were at Skrine during the initial arbitration with Sabah Shell Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of Shell.
Lim Chee Wee is advising a Malaysian oil and gas company in an arbitration with a pipeline inspection and rehabilitation specialist, the subsidiary of a Dubai-based company.
It is also acting for Tael Partners, a Southeast Asia-focused private equity fund headquartered in Singapore, in a cross-shareholder dispute over 300 million ringgit (US$73 million) stake in Malaysian glove manufacturer WRP. While still at Skrine, the trio acted for Tael in the original SIAC arbitration, which reached an award two weeks before Lim Chee Wee’s launch. The new firm continues to act in ongoing Malaysian litigation and proceedings related to the arbitration.
In another pending matter, it is acting for a public company in a US$36 million UNCITRAL claim against Malaysia’s government over a contract for a communication technology system for government hospitals.
Tipco Asphalt’s CEO Chaiwat Srivalwat says Chee Wee was “highly responsive to our needs, very professional with excellent teamwork among the partners and legal team” in both its dispute with Glencore and another subsequent matter. “He has shown his professionalism during his representation throughout . . . with positive attitude and excellent understanding of our cases.”
Lim Chee Wee Partnership (LCWP) is a specialist dispute resolution firm focused on commercial litigation and international arbitration. The firm commenced on 1 July 2020. LCWP is described by Jern-Fei Ng QC of 7 Bedford Row as “an exciting new venture that is helmed by three leaders of the Malaysian Bar.” The three partners have been hailed as “counsel of choice in many bet-the-company cases, whose smooth but confident style of advocacy can calm the most troubled waters”, “one of the fastest-rising stars” for commercial disputes with “an innate ability to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to complex problems” and “meticulous and pragmatic.” Norton Rose partner KC Lye says the LCWP founders “have always impressed me with their strategic approach, care for detail and infectious enthusiasm.”
LCWP handles disputes across the full spectrum of commercial law. The firm’s portfolio includes contractual disputes (involving oil & gas, joint ventures, IT, and franchise disputes), boardroom/takeover tussles, bet-the-company disputes, fraud investigation and recovery, regulatory enforcement action, corporate restructuring, insolvency claims, competition law, aviation and estate disputes.
The firm has acted in multi-billion ringgit disputes and international arbitrations in Asia and Europe under the ICC, SIAC, AIAC and UNCITRAL rules. The firm has worked alongside English barristers and Queen’s Counsel on some of these matters. Between themselves, the firm’s partners have more than 50 years of experience in international arbitration, including acting for an oil and gas company in the largest valued arbitration in Malaysian history.