Fountain Court Chambers hosted a double celebration at its Annual Party in Singapore last week. The celebration marked the presentation of the Christopher Bathurst Prize and also Andrew Pullen joining Chambers as its first barrister based in its office in Ocean Financial Centre, Singapore.

It is the 8th year that Chambers has awarded the prize in memory of Christopher Bathurst QC (1934-2009) who as a member of Fountain Court developed a substantial practice in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, whilst still being a leading practitioner at the Commercial Bar in London. As Viscount Bledisloe QC, Christopher was an elected hereditary peer, and a popular and energetic cross-bench member of the House of Lords. The prize was kindly supported again this year by the Singapore Academy of Law.

The joining of Andrew Pullen as Chambers’ first barrister based in Singapore is a significant step for the set, having opened the office in 2013. Whilst members of Chambers’ are regularly working in Singapore, the addition of Andrew on the ground provides an additional dimension to what the set can offer clients and law firms in the region.

Andrew has been based in Singapore for 6 years and specialises in international arbitration, with experience of both commercial and investment treaty arbitration.  He appears as advocate in arbitrations, has frequently worked as co-counsel with lawyers from many jurisdictions, and has substantial experience of advisory work.  He is also a fully registered foreign lawyer with the Singapore International Commercial Court, entitling him to appear before the court.

The reception was held at Empress at the Asian Civilisation Museum and the guests were old and new friends of Fountain Court, spanning across the legal profession in Singapore and the Pan-Asia region. The delegation from Chambers was led by Stephen Moriarty QC (Head of Chambers) and Bankim Thanki QC (Deputy Head of Chambers) and included Nico Leslie, Andrew Pullen, Alex Taylor (Senior Clerk) and Caroline McConnon (Practice Manager, Asia).

Chambers were delighted to award the winning prize of the Christopher Bathurst Prize 2017 to Mr Kevin Elbert, Associate from OC Queen Street LLC. The first and second runners-up were awarded to Ms Annia Hsu of Eldan Law LLP and Ms Rachel Xi’en Tan who will be commencing her training at Rajah & Tann next year.

The prize for the winner is an all-expense-paid two-week internship at Fountain Court Chambers in London.  The winning advice can be found here.

Participants were asked to submit a piece of written legal advice, not more than 3,500 words, on whether the benefits of confidential arbitrations always outweigh the downsides expressed by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales last year, when he said:

“Arbitration confidentiality perpetuates public ignorance of continuing hazards, systemic problems, or public needs . . . Such lack of openness equally denudes the ability of individuals, and lawyers apart from the few who are instructed in arbitrations, to access the law, to understand how it has been interpreted and applied. It reduces the degree of certainty in the law that comes through the provision of authoritative decisions of the court. As such it reduces individuals’ ability to fully understand their rights and obligations, and to properly plan their affairs accordingly. … [A]cross many sectors of law traditionally developed in London, particularly relating to the construction industry, engineering, shipping, insurance and commodities, there is a real concern which has been expressed to me at the lack of case law on standard form contracts and on changes in commercial practice.”

Entrants were judged on a variety of criteria, namely, originality, critical analysis, succinctness, clarity, persuasiveness and pragmatism. The judges were Mr Michael Brindle QC, Ms Sandra Annette Booysen, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore and Mr Paul Supramaniam of Law Asia. Fountain Court are grateful for their support and commitment to the Prize.

Fountain Court would like to thank everyone who has continued to support them in Singapore and London, and also to those who attended the Reception.