COLIN LIEW


Civil fraud & asset recovery
Commercial dispute resolution
Conflict of laws & private international law
Regulatory law & investigations

Professional Practice

Colin has acted in a wide range of disputes before the Singapore courts, specialising in arbitration-related litigation, company and trusts law, as well as complex fraud and cross-border asset-tracing and recovery. In international arbitration, Colin takes on appointments as arbitrator and as counsel, having experience of arbitrations under various different arbitral rules. In addition, Colin has on several occasions provided expert evidence of Singapore law to the High Court of England and Wales, the Supreme Court of New South Wales as well as the Hong Kong Court of First Instance.

As both leading and junior counsel, Colin has represented clients in reported cases involving novel points of law in areas such as choice of law rules, legal professional privilege, winding-up and public international law. His submissions have been praised by the High Court and he has been repeatedly recognised by legal directories as one of Singapore’s leading lawyers.

Colin is the author of Legal Professional Privilege, which is the foremost authority on the subject in Singapore and has been cited by the High Court. He has also participated in several law reform initiatives and committees, is a member of the Rules of Court Working Party, and a committee member of the YSIAC. Colin is also a non-practising solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, as well as a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.

EDUCATION

  • 2009: BA (Jurisprudence) (First Class Hons), St Peter’s College, University of Oxford

AWARDS

2009:

  • 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

2008:

  • Best Oralist, Finals, Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
  • United Kingdom Champion, Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition

PUBLICATIONS

  • 2021 (forthcoming): The Rules of Court (Academy Publishing)
  • 2020: Legal Professional Privilege (Academy Publishing)
  • 2019 (with Jordan Tan): Report on Right of Appeals against International Arbitration Awards on Questions of Law (Singapore Academy of Law, Law Reform Committee) – the recommendation contained in this report was independently put to a public consultation by the Ministry of Law
  • 2019 (with Jordan Tan): Report on Certain Issues Concerning Costs in Arbitration Related Court Proceedings (Singapore Academy of Law, Law Reform Committee)– the recommendation contained in this report was subsequently put to a public consultation by the Ministry of Law (as above)
  • 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)
  • 2014: “Sins of the Father: Patrick Adrian Anwar v Ng Chong & Hue LLC”,Singapore Journal of Legal Studies
  • 2012: “A Leap of Good Faith in Singapore Contract Law”, Singapore Journal of Legal Studies
  • 2012: “Keeping it Spick and Span deck: A Singaporean Approach to the Duty of Care”, Torts Law Journal

CIVIL FRAUD & ASSET RECOVERY

  • JTrust Asia Pte Ltd v Group Lease Holdings Pte Ltd and others [2021] SGCA 26: Successfully obtained a post-judgment Mareva injunction over assets of US$50 million – now the leading Court of Appeal authority on post-judgment Mareva injunctions
  • JTrust Asia Pte Ltd v Group Lease Holdings Pte Ltd and others [2020] 2 SLR 1256: Counsel in Court of Appeal proceedings involving multiple parties in respect of a successful claim in connection with a “round-tripping” accounting fraud as part of cross-border litigation spanning more than five jurisdictions
  • JTrust Asia Pte Ltd v Group Lease Holdings Pte Ltd and others [2020] 2 SLR 490: Successfully preserved a Mareva injunction over assets of US$180 million pending appeal on the basis of a good arguable appeal – believed to be the first reported instance of a successful post-trial Mareva injunction in these circumstances
  • 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 (Cap 289) and Companies Act (Cap 50)
  • 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 [2013] SGHC 242: Acted in High Court proceedings under the Securities and Futures Act (Cap 289) 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

COMMERCIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION

  • Ocean Tankers (Pte) Ltd (under judicial management) v Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP [2021] SGHC 47: 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 as expert witness on Singapore law on unjust enrichment and conversion in proceedings before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Tamar Perry & anor v Servane Michele Thais Bonnet Esculier & anor [2020] 5 SLR 245: Acted for a high net worth individual in successfully striking out various claims seeking recovery of a sum of USD 10 million alleged to have been paid pursuant to an unlawful Ponzi scheme
  • 2020: Advised a leading multinational commodities trading company on potential liabilities arising from transactions worth in excess of US$30 million
  • 2020: Advised an oil major on potential liabilities arising in tort from transactions worth in excess of US$50 million
  • ARW v Comptroller of Income Tax [2019] 1 SLR 499: Instructed 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
  • Bulk Trading SA v Pevensey Pte Ltd [2015] 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 (Cap 322, R 5). This case is the leading decision in this area
  • Alliance Concrete Singapore Pte Ltd v Sato Kogyo (S) Pte Ltd [2014] 3SLR 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

CONFLICT OF LAWS & PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW

  • 2020: Acted in High Court interpleader and subsequent contested proceedings concerning competing claims to a disputed fund of USD10 million, involving significant foreign law elements
  • BCY v BCZ [2017] 3 SLR 357: Acted counsel in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A) 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 in successfully staying a substantial trust action on the grounds of forum non conveniens

INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION

  • 2020: Instructed in arbitration proceedings under the SIAC rules in a dispute over a share transfer agreement worth approximately USD 13 million.
  • 2020: Acted in proceedings before the Singapore International Commercial Court under the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A) in resisting an application to set aside an SIAC arbitral award worth in excess of USD 1 billion, as well as an application to remove the Presiding Arbitrator for apparent bias. 
  • BTN v BTP [2019] SGHC 212: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A) 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: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A) 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.
  • BCY v BCZ [2017] 3 SLR 357: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A) 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 [2015] 2 SLR 322: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A) 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 [2012] 4 SLR 1057: Acted in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A) on behalf of an Australian company in successfully resisting an application to set aside an arbitral award exceeding AUD$1 million.

REGULATORY LAW & INVESTIGATIONS

  • Lee Lip Pheng Ian v Chen Fun Gee & ors [2020] 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 [2018] 4SLR 859: Acted in disciplinary proceedings before the Court of Three Judges, concerning the proper interpretation of the “leapfrog” provision in s 94A of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161)
  • 2018: Instructed as expert witness on Singapore law on the interpretation of the Casino Credit Act (Cap 33) and Casino Control (Credit) Regulations 2010 (S 53/2010) 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 [2016] 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 (Cap 65A). The charges were dropped by the Public Prosecutor following this decision

Colin Liew is practising from Colin Liew LLC (UEN No 201909535H), a limited liability law corporation