Civil fraud and asset recovery
Commercial dispute resolution
Conflict of laws and private international law
International commercial arbitration and related litigation
Public international law
Regulatory law and investigations
Colin has been repeatedly recognised as one of Singapore’s leading disputes lawyers by various legal directories, which describe him as a “superb advocate and well rounded practitioner” who is “one of the sharpest legal minds of his generation”.
In domestic litigation, Colin has acted against Senior and Queen’s Counsel in a wide range of commercial disputes before the Singapore courts, which have praised the “thoroughness of Mr Liew’s research” and the “able and diligent assistance” provided by his submissions. In international arbitration, Colin takes on appointments as arbitrator and as counsel, having experience of large-scale arbitrations under the ICC Rules, LMAA Terms and SIAC Rules. In addition, Colin is frequently instructed to provide expert evidence of Singapore law to foreign tribunals, having contributed opinions on issues of arbitration law, statutory illegality, unjust enrichment, conversion and ancillary relief to the High Court of England and Wales, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Supreme Court of New South Wales as well as the Hong Kong Court of First Instance.
A civil fraud specialist, Colin has argued ground-breaking cases involving novel points of law, including the complex JTrust litigation which is now the leading authority on round-tripping fraud and post-judgment Mareva injunctions, while Colin’s broader commercial disputes practice has seen him act for law firms, multinationals and high net-worth individuals in complex cases raising difficult issues. In addition, as the author of Legal Professional Privilege, Colin is the foremost authority on legal privilege in Singapore and has been repeatedly cited by the Singapore Courts.
Outside of his professional activities, Colin has also participated in several law reform initiatives and committees, and has volunteered advice to various non-governmental organisations.
- UniCredit Bank AG, Singapore Branch v Glencore Singapore Pte Ltd  SGHC 263: Instructed by Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore in successfully defending proceedings in the General Division of the High Court worth more than USD 30 million involving allegations of trade financing fraud.
- Engine Holdings Asia Pte Ltd v JTrust Asia Pte Ltd  1 SLR 370: Instructed by Baker & McKenzie Wong & Leow LLC in successfully resisting attempts to strike out a USD 130 million conspiracy claim as being abusive re-litigation of matters which should have been litigated in prior proceedings – now one of the leading Appellate Division authorities in this area.
- 2021: Advised victims of a substantial international fraud in relation to asset-tracing and discovery proceedings.
- JTrust Asia Pte Ltd v Group Lease Holdings Pte Ltd and others  2 SLR 490,  2 SLR 1256 and  1 SLR 1298: Instructed by Baker & McKenzie Wong & Leow LLC to act for the successful claimant in a USD 210 million investment fraud / conspiracy dispute involving multiple parties, as part of cross-border litigation spanning more than five jurisdictions. These proceedings have resulted in the leading Court of Appeal authorities on “round-tripping” fraud as well as post-judgment Mareva injunctions.
- 2017: Instructed as expert witness on Singapore law on asset disclosure orders in proceedings before the High Court of England and Wales.
- 2015: Advised various investors of an Australian company in respect of a “pump and dump” scheme, involving advice on the Securities and Futures Act 2001 and Companies Act 1967.
- 2014: Advised a listed palm oil conglomerate as part of a multi-jurisdictional team in respect of a large-scale corporate fraud worth approximately US$50 million, involving allegations of corruption and breaches of fiduciary duty.
- 2013: Acted in High Court proceedings for a foreign government in obtaining a freezing injunction against a high net-worth individual as part of cross-border litigation spanning more than five jurisdictions involving allegations of corruption, fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty.
- Monetary Authority of Singapore v Huang Zhong Xuan  SGHC 242: Acted in High Court proceedings under the Securities and Futures Act 2001 on behalf of the Monetary Authority of Singapore in obtaining a statutory freezing order against a high net worth individual.
- 2012: Advised an offshore trust as part of a multi-jurisdictional team in respect of long-running corporate fraud, involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, constructive trust, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt.
- 2023: Instructed to advise on potential liabilities in connection with shipbuilding contracts worth approximately USD 1 billion, arising out of international sanctions imposed on Russian entities.
- Tamar Perry & anor v Jacques Henri Georges Esculier & anor  SGCA(I) 2: Acted as co-counsel for two high net worth individuals in successfully resisting a competing claim to a fund of approximately USD 10 million (with King’s Counsel on the other side) before the Singapore International Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal, in what is believed to be the first case involving a claim by one set of investors in an apparent Ponzi scheme against another set of investors.
- Seow Fook Sen Aloysius v Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP  2 SLR 1091: Acted for a leading Singapore law firm in resisting an application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, now one of the leading authorities concerning the Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction under Sixth Schedule of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1969. Also successfully resisted a subsequent application for permission to appeal to the Appellate Division.
- Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd (in liquidation) v Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP  2 SLR 253: Acted for a leading Singapore law firm in successfully striking out applications to restrain the law firm from acting for two companies and their judicial managers in a large-scale restructuring.
- 2021: Instructed by Allen & Overy LLP as expert witness on Singapore law on unjust enrichment and conversion in successful summary judgment proceedings before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Fujian Shipping Co Ltd v OW Bunker Far East (S) Pte Ltd, Case No 16-CV-401. The District Court’s decision was subsequently affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
- 2020: Advised an oil major on potential liabilities arising from transactions worth in excess of US$50 million.
- ARW v Comptroller of Income Tax  1 SLR 499: Instructed by Allen & Gledhill LLP in Court of Appeal proceedings involving novel issues concerning the proper approach to be adopted where new evidence is sought to be admitted for the purposes of hearing further arguments.
- Alliance Concrete Singapore Pte Ltd v Sato Kogyo (S) Pte Ltd  3 SLR 857: Acted in Court of Appeal proceedings worth approximately S$10 million, involving issues of breach of contract and contractual frustration.
- 2013: Acted in High Court proceedings involving actions against an international bank for wrongful dismissal arising out of the potential manipulation of benchmark rates, successfully resisting an application for pre-action discovery of documents.
- Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd (in liquidation) v Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP  2 SLR 253: Acted for a leading Singapore law firm in successfully striking out applications brought in the name of two companies judicial management to restrain the law firm from acting for the companies and their judicial managers, now the leading Court of Appeal authority on the residual powers of directors to act on behalf of companies which have been placed in judicial management or liquidation.
- Perennial (Capitol) Pte Ltd v Capitol Investment Holdings Pte Ltd  SGHC 84: Acted in winding-up proceedings in the High Court under the Companies Act 1967 involving a joint venture behind the Capitol Singapore, valued at approximately S$1 billion.
- Bulk Trading SA v Pevensey Pte Ltd  1 SLR 538: Appointed as amicus curiae in High Court proceedings concerning the circumstances in which a company will be permitted to represent itself in civil proceedings under the Rules of Court 2014. This case is the leading decision in this area.
- 2014: Acted in High Court proceedings on behalf of a minority shareholder of a global shipping conglomerate in an action under section 216 of the Companies Act 1967, successfully obtaining an order for rectification of a company’s register of directors, managers, secretaries and auditors.
- 2013: Advised an Australian mining conglomerate in relation to proceedings concerning issues of contract, trusts, company and insolvency law in a dispute worth AUD$3.5 billion.
- 2023: Instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright to act on behalf of a leading commodities trader in ad hoc arbitrations arising out of one of the worst bunker contamination incidents in Singapore, involving potential liabilities of in excess of USD 100 million.
- 2023: Instructed by Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore Pte Ltd to act in proceedings under the Arbitration Act 2001 on behalf of a leading commodities trader in a successful application for permission to appeal and appeal against an SCMA arbitration award on a question of law, concerning the meaning of the word “delivered” in Section 67 of the BP Oil International Limited General Terms and Conditions for Sales and Purchases of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products (2015 Edition) in the context of a DES Incoterms transaction.
- CFJ v CFL  SGHC(I) 1: Instructed by Herbert Smith Freehills to act against Senior Counsel in proceedings before the Singapore International Commercial Court under the International Arbitration Act 1994 on behalf of a state-owned entity in successfully resisting an application to set aside SIAC arbitral awards worth in excess of USD 1 billion, as well as an application to remove the Presiding Arbitrator for apparent bias.
- 2022: Instructed by Aquinas Law Alliance LLP to act in proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1994 on behalf of a Malaysian entity in successfully resisting an application to set aside an SIAC arbitral award worth approximately USD 1 million.
- Asiana Airlines, Inc v Gate Gourmet Korea Co, Ltd  4 SLR 158: Instructed by Lalive LLP to act against Senior Counsel in proceedings before the Singapore International Commercial Court under the International Arbitration Act 1994 on behalf of a leading airline catering joint venture in successfully resisting an application to set aside an ICC arbitral award worth in excess of USD 30 million. Successfully resisted the ensuing appeal to the Court of Appeal.
- 2022: Instructed by Allen & Overy Singapore to act against Senior Counsel in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1994 on behalf of a private equity fund in successfully obtaining a stay of proceedings on case management grounds in favour of a related arbitration.
- 2021: Instructed in arbitration proceedings under ICC Rules concerning a dispute over an agreement for the sale of oil and gas products against a South American state-owned enterprise.
- 2021: Instructed in arbitration proceedings under the LMAA Terms on behalf of a Thai listed entity in a charterparty dispute in excess of USD 10 million.
- 2020: Instructed in arbitration proceedings under the SIAC rules on behalf of a Cayman segregated portfolio company in a dispute over a share transfer agreement worth approximately USD 13 million.
- BTN v BTP  SGHC 212: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1994 on behalf of a leading online travel company in applying to set aside an SIAC arbitral award worth approximately US$35 million, which raised novel issues as to the admissibility of claims in international commercial arbitration.
- 2019: Instructed as expert witness on Singapore arbitration law in proceedings before the Hong Kong Court of First Instance in OUE Lippo Healthcare Limited v Lin Kao Kun (HCCT No 4/2019).
- 2018: Instructed in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1994 on behalf of a state-owned enterprise in successfully setting aside an ICC arbitral award worth approximately US$50 million, on the basis that the award had been rendered in breach of natural justice.
- 2018: Arbitrated a contractual dispute under the Rules of the Pacific International Arbitration Centre between a Vietnamese and Japanese firm as part of a three-member tribunal.
- Heartronics Corporation v EPI Life Pte Ltd  SGHCR 17: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1994 in successfully resisting an attempt to stay the proceedings in favour of arbitration, as well as successfully defending the decision on appeal.
- BCY v BCZ  3 SLR 357: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1994 on behalf of a regional development bank in successfully appealing a jurisdictional award involving the proper law of an arbitration agreement.
- 2016: Acted in High Court proceedings on behalf of a Mauritian investment fund, successfully obtaining an anti-suit injunction restraining parallel proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal in Calcutta, India.
- 2015: Represented a biotechnology company in arbitration proceedings under the SIAC rules concerning a patent dispute over pharmaceutical technology worth approximately SGD 120 million.
- Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic v Sanum Investments  2 SLR 322: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1994 on behalf of the Government of Laos in appealing a jurisdictional award arising out of an investor-State arbitration involving the applicability of a bilateral investment treaty concluded between Laos and the People’s Republic of China to the Special Administrative Region of Macau.
- Quarella SpA v Scelta Marble Australia Pty Ltd  4 SLR 1057: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1994 on behalf of an Australian company in successfully resisting an application to set aside an arbitral award exceeding AUD$1 million.
- Lee Lip Pheng Ian v Chen Fun Gee and others  1 SLR 586: Acted in judicial review proceedings seeking leave to quash decisions of a Complaints Committee of the Singapore Medical Council.
- Law Society of Singapore v Kangatharan s/o Ramoo Kandavellu  4 SLR 859: Acted in disciplinary proceedings before the Court of Three Judges, which concerned the proper interpretation of the “leapfrog” provision in s 94A of the Legal Profession Act 1966.
- 2018: Instructed as expert witness on Singapore law on the interpretation of the Casino Credit Act 2006 and Casino Control (Credit) Regulations 2010 in proceedings before the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd v Graham Harry Taylor (No 2016/304447).
- Rahimah bte Mohd Salim v Public Prosecutor  5 SLR 1259: Acted in High Court criminal revision proceedings in successfully quashing a decision of the lower court and obtaining a retrial due to the wrongful admission of privileged material in criminal proceedings on charges of money-laundering under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act 1992. The charges were dropped by the Public Prosecutor following this decision.
- Tamar Perry & anor v Jacques Henri Georges Esculier & anor  SGCA(I) 2: Acted as co-counsel in proceedings before the Singapore International Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal in successfully resisting a competing claim to a fund of USD 10 million (with King’s Counsel on the other side), involving allegations of breach of trust, tracing and bona fide purchaser for value without notice.
- 2013: Advised an Australian mining conglomerate in relation to proceedings concerning issues of contract, trusts, company and insolvency law in a dispute worth AUD$3.5 billion.
- 2012: Acted in High Court proceedings under the Trustees Act 1967 on behalf of a trustee company in successfully obtaining Court approval to participate in litigation in the United States concerning trust assets exceeding US$35 million.
- 2009: BA (Jurisprudence) (First Class Hons), St Peter’s College, University of Oxford
- Martin Wronker Prize for Best Overall Performance
- Gibbs Prize for Best Overall Performance in Contract, Tort, Land Law and Trusts
- All Souls Prize in Best Performance in Public International Law
- Norton Rose Prize for Best Performance in Company Law
- Carl Albert Prize for Best Graduate of St Peter’s College
- Best Oralist, Finals, Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
- United Kingdom Champion, Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
- Arbitrator: Asian International Arbitration Centre, Beihai Asia International Arbitration Centre, Singapore International Arbitration Centre and Thailand Arbitration Centre
- Committee Member: Rules of Court Working Party, Ethics and Professional Standards Committee
- Member: Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
- Member: Complaints Panel, Singapore Medical Council
- Member: Law Society of Singapore, Singapore Academy of Law
Colin’s publications include:
- 2023: “Order 8: Service Out of Singapore” in Singapore Rules of Court: A Practice Guide (Chua Lee Ming and Paul Quan, eds) (Academy Publishing)
- 2020: Legal Professional Privilege (Academy Publishing) (cited by the High Court in Ravi s/o Madasamy v Attorney-General  4 SLR 956 and by the Court of Three Judges in Tan Ng Kuang v Jai Swarup Pathak  3 SLR 788)
- 2019 (with Jordan Tan): Report on Right of Appeals against International Arbitration Awards on Questions of Law (Singapore Academy of Law, Law Reform Committee) and Report on Certain Issues Concerning Costs in Arbitration-Related Court Proceedings (Singapore Academy of Law, Law Reform Committee) – the recommendations contained in these reports were put to a public consultation by the Ministry of Law (https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/content/minlaw/en/news/public-consultations/public-consultation-on-international-arbitration-act.html)
- 2018: “Multi-Tiered Dispute Resolution Clauses: Law and Practice” in Singapore International Arbitration: Law and Practice (David Foxton QC and David Joseph QC, eds) (LexisNexis, 2nd Ed)
Chambers and Partners, Asia Pacific: Singapore
Colin is “responsive and easy to work with” and “a reliable guide to the court system and on litigation strategy”.
Who’s Who Legal - Arbitration
Colin is “a rising star of the Singaporean Bar”, “very knowledgeable on set-asides and arbitrator challenges” and “an excellent practitioner: very responsive, commercial and sharp”.
Who’s Who Legal: Southeast Asia – Litigation
“Colin Liew is lauded as a “superb advocate and well rounded practitioner” by impressed sources. One adds, “He is one of the sharpest legal minds of his generation”.”
Who’s Who Legal – Commercial Litigation
“Colin Liew is highly respected for his “creativity, professionalism and knowledge” particularly in complex fraud-related disputes” and who “impresses market observers with his “mastery of the facts and evidence” and outstanding expertise in civil fraud matters”.
Colin Liew is practising from Colin Liew LLC (UEN No 201909535H), a limited liability law corporation