Members of Fountain Court have extensive advisory, advocacy and appellate experience in Asian commercial disputes, whether heard in Asia Pacific itself, or in other courts or arbitral tribunals around the world including, for example, London or the Caribbean.
We have appeared, with leave, before the common law courts in key international dispute resolution centres like Singapore and Hong Kong, up to Supreme Court or Court of Final Appeal level, with a number of members registered as Foreign Lawyers with the Singapore International Commercial Court (‘SICC’). We also regularly appear in the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (‘HKIAC’), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (‘SIAC’) and ad hoc arbitral tribunals across the region.
Our work extends beyond the traditional legal hubs of Asia Pacific and members have experience of disputes involving countries such as Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. Relevant experience includes acting for an Asian company in a claim against its auditors in an arbitration in Vietnam under Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (‘VIAC’) rules and representing a Korean conglomerate in an arbitration against a Korean listed company in an EPC dispute relating to various greenfield electricity power plant projects.
A significant proportion of our work is multi-jurisdictional, regardless of where the instruction emanates from, so our members are used to taking a sophisticated and global approach to case management.
In response to client demand, we opened our Singapore office in 2014 which is home to various members and international door tenants, having been working in the region since the 1970s.
We are very active in the Singaporean legal market, where our recent experience ranges from acting in one of the largest SIAC arbitrations, between Samsung and Duro, relating to the Roy Hill Iron Ore project in Western Australia with over $1 billion in dispute, through to acting in the ground-breaking leading case in all English law-based jurisdictions on cryptocurrency and algorithmic trading, before the SICC.
Members and international door tenants are often instructed by the leading local law firms in the region and global firms with a presence in Singapore. Our work extends across various sectors and practice areas including aviation, banking and finance, construction, energy and infrastructure, insurance and technology (including AI and telecommunications).
In addition to our work as counsel in both arbitration and litigation, many members sit as arbitrators, including in the SIAC. We also undertake advisory work and regularly act as experts on issues of English law.
Outside of our case work, we are known for contributing to the ongoing development of Singapore’s legal community and its reputation as a legal hub. For example, our annual ‘Christopher Bathurst Prize’ competition (supported by the Singapore Academy of Law) has become an established fixture in the legal calendar for Singaporean litigation lawyers under the age of 30 and has been running for over a decade. We also sponsor placements in Singapore or London through schemes run by the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Singapore Academy of Law.
Hong Kong is a key area for Fountain Court and many members have experience of acting in arbitrations seated in the region, as both counsel and arbitrator. In addition, Fountain Court is home to various members of the HKIAC panel of arbitrators along with its former Chair.
Our work in the region includes experience in the banking and finance sectors, where we have represented leading SAR bank HSBC on a variety of matters and where we have been instructed on many failed investment fund claims. We have also advised the Family Office of an ultra-high net worth Hong Kong family in connection with Hong Kong First Instance Court proceedings against a global investment bank for alleged professional negligence and mis-selling.
Further experience includes defending a global software company against a claim by a financial institution, in an UNCITRAL arbitration administered by HKIAC, and acting for a prominent Filipino company in its multi-million dollar claims against a South Korean manufacturer arising out of a failed joint venture, in an arbitration under ICC Rules with a Hong Kong seat.
We have continued to expand our expertise in India in recent years, coinciding with a number of interesting developments in the legal market such as the opening of the Mumbai Centre of International Arbitration (‘MCIA’).
Our members and international door tenants (which include Senior Advocates in India) have excellent knowledge of a diverse range of sectors including financial services, construction, energy and infrastructure, environment and real estate, together with a sophisticated and detailed understanding of Indian courts. We have appeared in many important and high-profile disputes including within the regional High Courts, the Supreme Court of India, the specialised financial and technology courts and those heard by way of international arbitration.
Examples of our experience includes defending two Indian banks in an SIAC arbitration against claims under guarantees issued by the banks in connection with shipbuilding contracts and acting for BG (now part of Shell) and Reliance in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings exceeding $5 billion against the Union of India, in disputes arising out of two production sharing contracts.
Some of our members also hold formal positions relating to India including Chair of the Commercial Bar Association’s India Committee.
A number of members and international door tenants are experienced in Chinese disputes, having acted in international arbitration proceedings centred both in Hong Kong, London, or elsewhere. In addition, a number of our members are fluent in mandarin.
Our work includes acting in a dispute in connection with a cutting-edge telecoms technology transfer project, a commodities arbitration involving an electronics manufacturer, and in relation to negligent investments by a fund that had invested heavily in China.
In addition, our extensive experience in the aviation sector often involves Chinese aspects, with one example being our instruction by a Chinese airlines company in a multi-million-dollar dispute arising out of the failed sale of six Airbus A300 aircraft.
A number of our barristers have Australian experience and many have acted as solicitors and/or barristers in Australia before joining Fountain Court. Prior experience in this respect includes representing National Australia Bank against Goldman Sachs in obtaining a $100 million award in an arbitration arising out of fraudulent misrepresentations in the sale of collateralised debt obligation securities.
Our experience also includes advising the Australian Financial Complaints Authority in respect of issues relating to business interruption insurance and acting on behalf of eight businesses in Australian test proceedings against insurers in relation to business interruption insurance, in connection with claims made as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, addressing issues of coverage, causation and adjustment.
For more information on our Asia Pacific experience, or to discuss a specific enquiry, please contact our clerking team.