Nicholas spearheads our China offices’ cross-border dispute resolution efforts. He frequently advises and represents clients in international and local arbitrations conducted under various institutional and ad-hoc arbitration rules including those of SIAC, HKIAC, LCIA, LMAA, CIETAC, ICC and UNCITRAL. Nicholas also has extensive experience in advising on issues relating to the enforcement of Court judgments and arbitral award in various jurisdictions across Asia and Europe. Nicholas is a member of the Procedure and Promotion Committees for Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA). He is also an arbitrator of the China Maritime Arbitration Commission (CMAC), the Hainan International Arbitration Court (HIAC), the Shanghai Arbitration Commission (SHAC) and the Wuhan Arbitration Commission (WIAC). Nicholas is recognised and recommended by various legal directories including Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Chambers Asia Pacific for his leading work in shipping, litigation and dispute resolution.
Having been based previously in Shanghai with Clyde & Co up till most recently holding the position as Head of the China Practice Group of another leading international law firm's Singapore office, Nicholas has more than a decade's experience working in the China market and combines a deep understanding of the Chinese business environment with his strong international background and multi-lingual skills. This accounts for his reputation amongst China-based clients, comprising state-owned enterprises and large private entities, whom he advises on all aspects of dispute resolution, including international arbitration and complex cross-border litigation. Having practised at the Singapore bar before relocating overseas, Nicholas continues to spend significant time in Singapore assisting China-based and international clients on Singapore-related matters.
Nicholas is also qualified as an Associate Mediator of the Singapore Mediation Centre. His experience in mediation means that he is able to provide vigorous reality testing where appropriate and at the same time remain pragmatic towards the contesting parties’ commercial needs.
Nicholas is regularly invited to speak at international conferences and seminars and has been invited to speak in London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and in major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Hangzhou and Dalian.
Apart from English, Nicholas speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese and Fujianese.
- Acted for Ship-Owner against a Chinese Shipyard in a London arbitration to recover payments made under a ship-building contract for a sum in excess of USD 60 million. The matter raised novel arguments in relation to the principle of law which allows recovery for a party to a contract tainted with illegality in the event that this party withdraws from the contract before the illegal purpose is achieved
- Acted for Charterers in a London arbitration over a dispute involving a vessel not complying with Performance Standard for Protective Coating (PSPC) Regulations for claims exceeding a total of USD 100 million
- Advising a Chinese company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in its defence of a potential claim by a Korean company for the alleged late payment of purchase price under a long-term supply contract for silicon material. The alleged claim put forward by the adverse Korean company was in excess of USD 20 million. The dispute was ultimately settled amicably between the parties
- Acted on behalf of the Hong Kong branch of one of the largest banks in China in the arrest of a vessel for the enforcement of a ship mortgage for an amount in excess of US$ 14 million. The vessel was subsequently abandoned by the Owners and was sold via a judicial sale in Singapore
- Acted on behalf of a BVI company in an ICC arbitration against a Chinese trading company involving a dispute over the sale and purchase of bauxite. Achieved a favourable award (with the Tribunal ruling in our favour on both the claim amount and costs), with the matter eventually being settled by way of the adverse party making payment of a substantial part of the judgment sum plus costs
- Acted on behalf of Chinese Ship-Owner in the defence of a misdelivery claim in excess of USD 7 million brought before the Singapore High Court by a Singapore-based bank. At the same time, Court proceedings were commenced in Malaysia. Acted for a Chinese company (undergoing bankruptcy administration in China at the material time) in Singapore High Court proceedings where efforts were made to set aside the arrest of a vessel in Singapore. The claim amount put forward by the claimant was in excess of US$ 7 million. This matter raised an interesting point of law on how the Singapore Court will view the Chinese law position of a company not being allowed to arrest a vessel in a foreign jurisdiction as security as a basis for setting aside the arrest of the vessel. This matter was eventually settled between parties
- Acted for a Chinese company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in its claim against an Indian company for unpaid purchase price in excess of USD 5 million under a supply contract for solar wafer products. This involved liaising with local Indian counsel on issues such as obtaining interim relief (such as asset preservation orders) against the Indian company in support of and prior to the commencement of foreign arbitration proceedings. The matter was ultimately favourably settled with the Indian company entering into a settlement agreement for the payment of the outstanding amount in tranches
- Acted for a Singapore-based company against a Hong Kong company in a SIAC arbitration involving a multi-million dollar dispute over a sale and purchase contract for the purchase of iron pellets. The matter involved various legal issues relating to the wrongful termination of contract, waiver and estoppel and mitigation of damages. We eventually successfully defended the claim, which was rejected in entirety by the Tribunal
- Acting on behalf of a Chinese-based logistics company (part of a large Chinese conglomerate) in a SIAC arbitration against an Indonesian-based trading company involving a multi-million dollar dispute over the sale and purchase of nickel hydroxide, which resulted in a positive award on the principal sum, interest and costs
- Acting on behalf of a large Chinese trading house in an ad-hoc Singapore arbitration to defend a claim brought by a large Korean conglomerate arising from a dispute relating to a sale and purchase agreement for oil products. Successfully defended the claim, which was rejected in entirety by the Tribunal and awarded legal costs in full