Lim Chee Wee Partnership
Representing a Petronas entity in a dispute with a Shell subsidiary
|Value of pending counsel work||US$180 million|
|Treaty cases as counsel||0|
|Third-party funded cases||0|
|Current arbitrator appointments||1 (1 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||1|
In 2020, Dato’ Lim Chee Wee left Skrine, one of Malaysia’s most prominent firms, to set up this boutique with 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 is 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 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 settled shortly before the firm opened, with the client receiving 245 million ringgit (US$59 million).
The firm nearly doubled its headcount, taking it from eight lawyers when it launched to 14 in 2021. GKL, a subsidiary of Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas, continues to use the firm in its effort to set aside a US$340 million AIAC award. GKL initially used the firm’s founders when they were at Skrine during the initial arbitration with Sabah Shell Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of Shell. The founders have also continued representing Thai-Lao Lignite in Malaysian court proceedings in the company’s dispute with Laos. In another pending matter, the firm 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. It is also acting for a supplier of industrial gases in a US$80 million LCIA claim to recover outstanding invoices.
Tipco Asphalt’s CEO, Chaiwat Srivalwat, says Chee Wee was “highly responsive to our needs and 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 a positive attitude and excellent understanding of our cases.” James Bailey, a barrister at 7 King’s Bench Walk, lauds the unique “agility and flexibility” of the firm over its peers, further noting their professionalism and collegiality, saying “they were a pleasure to work with and their performance was excellent.”
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 founding 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.” (Global Arbitration Review). LCWP is noted to have “a lot of high-profile arbitration work” and its lawyers are said to be “very on the ball”. (Chambers Asia Pacific).
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, environmental and occupational safety and health, 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 King’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 and adjudication proceedings in Malaysian history.