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. Colin also advises on and represents clients in arbitration, in addition to taking on arbitrator appointments, having experience of arbitrations under a wide range of 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 as having provided “able and diligent assistance”, while his legal skills have been described as “outstanding”, and he has been repeatedly recognised by legal directories as one of Singapore’s leading lawyers.

Prior to practising at the Bar, Colin graduated with a First Class degree from the University of Oxford, where he was ranked top of his cohort and won numerous academic prizes, and subsequently served as a Justices’ Law Clerk in the Supreme Court of Singapore. He is a member of the Rules of Court Working Party,and has participated in several law reform initiatives in addition to authoring a number of monographs and academic articles on various areas of Singapore law. Colin is also a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, and a member of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.

 

Education
  • 2010: Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations, Board of Legal Education (Top 11 candidates)
  • 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
  • 2020 (forthcoming): Colin Liew, 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
  • 2019: Acted as junior counsel in High Court proceedings involving multiple parties in respect of a claim in connection with a “round-tripping” accounting fraud worth US$180 million as part of cross-border litigation spanning more than five jurisdictions.
  • 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 afreezing 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 (Cap289) 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
  • 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 as junior counsel in Court of Appeal proceedings worth approximately S$10 million, involving issues of breach of contract and contractual frustration.
  • 2013: Acted as leading counsel 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 as junior counsel 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 as junior 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 as leading counsel in High Court proceedings in successfully staying a substantial trust action on the grounds of forum non conveniens.
Corporate Law
  • Perennial (Capitol) Pte Ltd v Capitol Investment Holdings Pte Ltd [2017]SGHC 84: Acted as junior counsel in winding-up proceedings in the High Court under the Companies Act (Cap 50) involving a joint venture behind the Capitol Singapore, valued at approximately S$1 billion.
  • 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.
  • 2014: Acted as leading counsel 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 (Cap 50), 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.
International commercial arbitration
  • BTN v BTP [2019] SGHC 212: Acted as junior counsel 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: Briefed to act as junior counsel 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.
  • Heartronics Corporation v EPI Life Pte Ltd [2017] SGHCR 17: Acted as leading counsel in High Court proceedings under the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A) in successfully resisting an attempt to stay the proceedings in favour of arbitration, as well as successfully defending the decision on appeal. In both cases, the other side was represented by Senior Counsel.
  • BCY v BCZ [2017] 3 SLR 357: Acted as junior 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 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 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] SGCA 6: Retained as  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: Retained as sole counsel in disciplinary proceedings before the Court of Three Judges, which accepted his submissions on 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 as leading counsel 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.
Trusts
  • 2020: Acted as junior counsel in High Court interpleader and subsequent contested proceedings concerning competing claims to a disputed fund of USD10 million, 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 (Cap 337) 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.