Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Professor Benjamin Hughes

Benjamin F. Hughes is an independent arbitrator and an adjunct professor at National University of Singapore Faculty of Law. Prior to launching his career as an independent arbitrator, Ben practiced international arbitration with Shearman & Sterling (in the US and Singapore), and was the founding co-chair of the international dispute resolution practice group at Shin & Kim, one of Korea’s oldest and largest full-service law firms.

Ben left law firm practice in March 2013 to focus on his practice as an independent arbitrator. Since then, he has been appointed in over 100 arbitrations with a total amount in dispute in excess of USD 2 billion under the rules of the AAA/ICDR, ACICA, AIAC/KLRCA, BAC, CAA, CIETAC, DIS, HKIAC, ICC, JCAA, KCAB, LMAA, SCC, SIAC, UNCITRAL (both administered and ad-hoc) and VIAC. He has also acted as emergency arbitrator and as sole arbitrator in expedited and fast track proceedings, and is a panel arbitrator of numerous arbitral institutions.

Ben’s experience as arbitrator spans a broad range of commercial disputes, including joint venture and shareholder disputes, intellectual property and licensing disputes, construction and infrastructure projects, energy and resources, shipping and shipbuilding, automobile and heavy machinery manufacturing, agency and distributorship agreements, sale of goods and general contractual disputes. He has heard cases governed by the CISG and the laws of Australia, Austria, BVI, Cayman Islands, China, England and Wales, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia (including Sharia), Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United States (including New York, California and US territories) and Vietnam, as well as lex mercatoria. He has also handled complex conflict of law and jurisdictional issues, joinder and intervention applications, and disputes involving multiple contracts and applicable laws.

Ben is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators, the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators and the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration. In addition to his appointment as adjunct professor at NUS, he has served as associate professor of law at Seoul National University Law School (2015-2019), visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law and visiting scholar at National Taiwan University Law School.

Ben was educated in both the civil law and the common law traditions, having studied first at Seoul National University College of Law (MA, all coursework in Korean), and then at NYU School of Law (JD). While at NYU, he spent one semester at the University of Palermo Law School in Buenos Aires, Argentina (all coursework in Spanish). He also studied Chinese (Mandarin) in Beijing and East Asian history at Harvard University.

Areas of Expertise

  • International arbitration

Recommendations

Benjamin Hughes is “the next star in Asia” according to commentators, who describe him as “a pleasure to appear before” and as someone who “delivers well-reasoned awards.”
–Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration (2018)

Independent Seoul-based practitioner Benjamin Hughes is consistently identified by sources as the pre-eminent international arbitrator on the South Korean scene, and is active across the region on a broad commercial range of commercial issues… He is very highly regarded by interviewees, one of whom notes: “We have encountered him on several cases in the past few years and have found him to be excellent,” while another notes specifically that he is “a very good chairman who is really good at running expert witness conferencing sessions.”
–Chambers & Partners: Most in Demand Arbitrators, Asia-Pacific (2018)

Benjamin Hughes is recognized by clients and peers as one of the foremost arbitrators in Asia.
–Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration (2017)

Independent Seoul-based practitioner Benjamin Hughes is acclaimed by one source as “the leading international arbitrator in the Korean market,” while another explicitly confirms his status as an arbitrator in high demand, noting that he is “someone who has really internalized the region’s linguistic and cultural considerations,” which gives him a “deep and significant understanding of Asian business parties.”
–Chambers & Partners: Most in Demand Arbitrators, Asia-Pacific (2017)

Recent Practice

  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Seoul between German and UK parties and a Korean government entity arising out of a contract for the design, manufacture and delivery of submarines.
  • Sole arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Bangalore between Singaporean and Indian parties arising out of a hotel management agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and US parties arising under an agreement for the supply of fuel cell plant equipment.
  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between a Korean-led consortium and Korean government entities arising under multiple agreements related to large-scale infrastructure and urban development projects.
  • Co-arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Chinese and Korean parties arising under an online gaming license and royalty agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Australian and Korean parties arising under the terms and conditions of convertible bonds and related agreements.
  • Co-arbitrator in HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Chinese and Korean parties arising under an agreement for the purchase of equity interest in a JV.
  • Co-arbitrator in AAA/ICDR arbitration seated in New York between Korean and US parties arising under an agreement for the construction and operation of a casino and entertainment complex.
  • Co-arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and US parties arising under a contract for the design, supply and installation of venting systems for nuclear power plants.
  • Chair in three concurrent SCMA arbitrations seated in Singapore between Dutch and Singaporean parties arising under agreements for the supply of bunker fuel.
  • Co-arbitrator in two consolidated SIAC arbitrations seated in Singapore between Hong Kong and Vietnamese parties arising under a share purchase agreement and related shareholders’ agreement.
  • Emergency Arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between two Indonesian parties arising out of a technical service and consulting agreement in the mining sector.
  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Seoul between a Korean consortium and a Korean government entity arising under a BTO contract for the construction of a trans-oceanic toll bridge.
  • Co-arbitrator in BAC arbitration seated in Beijing between Brazilian and Chinese parties arising under a contract for the sale and purchase of livestock.
  • Sole arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and Italian parties arising under a contract for the construction of a railway bridge.
  • Emergency arbitrator in HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Hong Kong and Cayman Islands parties arising out of a limited partnership agreement and related investment agreements.
  • Chair in CAA arbitration seated in Taipei between Taiwanese and German parties arising under contracts for the construction and installation of electrical equipment in a public building.
  • Co-arbitrator in two consolidated SIAC arbitrations seated in Singapore between Vietnamese and Korean parties arising under multiple JV and shareholding agreements.
  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Seoul between a consortium of Korean and Singaporean parties and a Korean government entity arising under multiple contracts for an urban development project.
  • Chair in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and Jamaican parties arising under an automobile distributorship agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in four consolidated SIAC arbitrations seated in Singapore between Indian and Korean parties arising under EPC contracts for coal-fired thermal power plants.
  • Sole arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between Singaporean and Japanese parties arising under a sub-contract for the construction of an airport terminal and adjacent buildings.
  • Co-arbitrator in HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Chinese and Saudi Arabian parties arising under a distribution and cooperation agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between multiple Chinese parties arising under a shareholders’ agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between German and Chinese parties arising under multiple purchase orders for electric vehicles.
  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Hawaii between US, Irish and Korean parties arising under an IP licensing agreement.
  • Sole arbitrator in four consolidated SIAC arbitrations seated in Singapore between Singaporean, UK and Chinese Parties arising under land rig bareboat charters and related guarantee agreements.
  • Sole arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between US, Taiwanese and Korean parties arising under licensing and distribution agreements.
  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Singaporean and Philippine parties arising under a long-term distribution agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore and conducted pursuant to the SIAC-SIMC Arb-Med-Arb Protocol between two Japanese parties arising under a manufacturing service agreement for solar power modules.
  • Sole arbitrator in KLRCA arbitration between UK and Malaysian parties arising under a supply and delivery agreement for the assembly and delivery of public transport vehicles.
  • Emergency Arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between Chinese and Japanese parties arising under a long-term licensing agreement for consumer electronics.
  • Sole arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Hong Kong and Indian parties arising under a shareholders’ agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in arbitration governed by the ICC Rules and administered by SIAC between Korean and Chinese parties arising out of multiple sale and purchase agreements.
  • Co-arbitrator in two consolidated HKIAC arbitrations seated in Hong Kong between Hong Kong and Korean parties arising under two share purchase agreements.
  • Emergency Arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Singapore between two Korean parties arising under a distribution agreement for construction materials.
  • Co-arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between two UK parties arising out of a shareholders’ agreement relating to the exploration and production of oil and gas.
  • Chair in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between two Korean parties arising under an asset purchase agreement and related lease and distribution agreements.
  • Co-arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between Canadian, British, Mauritius and Malaysian parties arising under a share purchase agreement and related employment agreements.
  • Sole arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between Indian and Singaporean parties arising under a commodities sale and purchase agreement.
  • Sole arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Seoul between Thai and Korean parties arising under a contract for the construction of a UHV plant and related bank guarantees.
  • Chair in VIAC arbitration seated in Hanoi between a Vietnam government entity and a Korean conglomerate arising under a contract for the construction of an expressway.
  • Co-arbitrator in KCAB arbitration between Korean and Russian parties arising out of a loan agreement and related bank guarantee.
  • Sole arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and Malaysian parties arising under an automobile distributorship agreement.
  • Chair in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between Chinese and Singaporean parties arising under a guarantee and related agreements.
  • Sole arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between US and Korean parties arising under a contract for the sale and purchase of race cars and parts.
  • Co-arbitrator in LMAA arbitration seated in London between Korean and Maltese parties arising under a shipbuilding contract.
  • Sole arbitrator in HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Chinese and Hong Kong parties arising under a legal services agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between a UK company and a Korean government entity arising out of a contract for the design, manufacture and delivery of helicopters.
  • Chair in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between Indian and Singaporean parties arising under a commodities sale and purchase agreement.
  • Sole arbitrator in HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Hong Kong and Seychelles parties arising under a share purchase agreement.
  • Sole arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and United Arab Emirates parties arising under a commodities sales and purchase agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in SCC arbitration seated in Stockholm between Russian and Korean parties arising under an agreement for the manufacture of components for construction of a power plant.
  • Co-arbitrator in DIS (German Institution of Arbitration) arbitration seated in Hamburg between Singaporean, Russian and Korean parties arising under a commodities sale and purchase agreement.
  • Sole arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Manila between a regional development bank and a Chinese party arising under an agreement for the development of financial systems software.
  • Co-arbitrator in AAA/ICDR arbitration seated in Guam between two US parties arising under an international airport concession agreement.
  • Chair in JCAA arbitration seated in Tokyo between Japanese and Saudi parties arising under multiple automobile distributorship agreements.
  • Co-arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between Chinese and Korean parties arising under a joint venture agreement for construction projects and related technical license agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Geneva between Korean and Singaporean parties arising under contracts for the installation of equipment in the construction of an LNG terminal.
  • Emergency Arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between Swiss and Singaporean parties arising under a hotel management agreement and related agreements.
  • Sole Arbitrator in KLRCA fast track arbitration seated in Kuala Lumpur between French and Malaysian parties arising under contracts for the construction of a combined cycle power plant.
  • Co-arbitrator in HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Chinese and German parties arising under a contract for the sale and installation of solar cell manufacturing equipment.
  • Co-arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Chinese and Korean parties arising under an agricultural machinery sale and purchase agreement and related technology transfer agreements.
  • Co-arbitrator in three related ad-hoc arbitrations seated in Stockholm between Russian and Korean parties arising under agreements for the sale and purchase of automobile parts.
  • Sole arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and Chinese parties arising under a contract for the supply and installation of ship engine components for large oil tankers.
  • Sole arbitrator in SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore between Papua New Guinean and Australian parties arising under an agency agreement for port operations and cargo services.
  • Sole arbitrator in ICC arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and Austrian parties arising under an agreement to jointly develop and market automobile air conditioner technology.
  • Chair in SIAC-administered UNCITRAL arbitration seated in Singapore between Chinese and Singaporean parties arising under a commodity sales agreement and related agency agreement.
  • Co-arbitrator in ad-hoc reinsurance arbitration seated in Seoul between Malaysian and Korean parties arising under multiple treaty and facultative policies.
  • Sole arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Chinese and Korean parties arising under a contract for the sale and transport of goods.
  • Co-arbitrator in four (consolidated to two) ICC arbitrations seated in Delhi between a Korean party and an Indian government entity arising under multiple contracts for urban development projects.
  • Co-arbitrator in HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Chinese and US parties arising under an agreement for the manufacture and supply of telecommunications equipment.
  • Sole arbitrator in HKIAC-administered UNCITRAL arbitration seated in Hong Kong between Chinese and US/Hong Kong parties arising under agreements for the sale and purchase of a manufacturing business and related non-compete agreements.
  • Co-arbitrator in HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong between a UK party and a Mongolian government entity arising under multiple aviation consulting agreements.
  • Co-arbitrator in CIETAC arbitration seated in Beijing between Chinese and German parties arising under multiple purchase and supply contracts.
  • Sole arbitrator in six consolidated SIAC arbitrations seated in Singapore between Chinese/Hong Kong and Malaysian/Singaporean parties arising under shipbuilding project management contracts.
  • Sole arbitrator in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and Chinese parties arising under a contract for the sale and shipment of industrial equipment.
  • Sole arbitrator in SIAC expedited arbitration seated in Singapore between Indonesian and Singaporean parties arising under a contract for the sale and shipment of coal.
  • Sole arbitrator in ACICA arbitration seated in Sydney between Australian and Fijian parties arising under an agreement for the sale and purchase of an ocean vessel.
  • Chair in KCAB arbitration seated in Seoul between Korean and German parties arising under joint venture and shareholders’ agreements.
  • Sole arbitrator in KCAB expedited arbitration seated in Seoul between Chinese and Korean parties arising under multiple sales agreements and purchase orders.

Education

  • JD, NYU School of Law
  • MA Course (coursework completed, no dissertation), Seoul National University College of Law
  • MA, East Asian history, Harvard University (Thesis on Korean legal history)
  • BA, Trinity University

Academic Distinctions

  • Dean Robert McKay Scholar, NYU School of Law
  • Global Legal Fellow, NYU School of Law (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, Korea (SNU College of Law)
  • SNU Academic Scholarship, SNU College of Law
  • Harvard-Yenching Institute Fellowship, Harvard University
  • Fulbright Grantee, Korea
  • President’s Academic Scholarship, Trinity University

Languages

  • English
  • Korean
  • Spanish
  • Mandarin Chinese (basic)

Appointments and memberships

  • Arbitrator, The Arbitration Chambers, Singapore
  • Adjunct Professor, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (2019)
  • Associate Professor, Seoul National University Law School (2015-2019)
  • Visiting Scholar, National Taiwan University (Spring 2018)
  • Visiting Associate Professor, National University of Singapore (Fall 2018)
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Fellow, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
  • Fellow, Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators
  • International Arbitration Committee, Korean Commercial Arbitration Board
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Asian international Arbitration Journal

Panel Arbitrator of:

  • American Arbitration Association/International Centre for Dispute Resolution
  • Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration
  • Beijing Arbitration Commission
  • China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission
  • Chinese Arbitration Association
  • Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
  • Japan Commercial Arbitration Association
  • Jinan Arbitration Commission
  • Korean Commercial Arbitration Board
  • Asian International Arbitration Centre
  • Shanghai International Arbitration Centre
  • Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration
  • Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre