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Prakash Pillai

Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore | Managing Director, Clasis LLC

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Prakash Pillai

Prakash Pillai

Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore | Managing Director, Clasis LLC

People

Prakash Pillai

Prakash Pillai

Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore | Managing Director, Clasis LLC

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Prakash focuses on dispute resolution and international commercial arbitration across a multitude of areas, including corporate and commercial, trade and commodities, construction and engineering, and employment. He has appeared before various arbitral tribunals in both ad-hoc arbitrations and arbitrations governed by the leading institutional rules. As the Managing Director of Clasis LLC, he also represents clients in commercial litigation matters before the Singapore Courts.

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Prakash is recognised as a leading lawyer for his expertise in international arbitration by leading industry journals such as Chambers Global, Chambers Asia Pacific and Global Arbitration Review and Legal 500 APAC consistently. He is described as “very helpful in advising [clients] to get out of big issues” with “in-depth knowledge in arbitration”, as well as having “a solid reputation for his arbitration practice related to India” by Chambers Asia Pacific 2022. Prakash is also ranked as a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation 2022 (International Arbitration – Singapore), and is “recommended as a leader in India” by Legal 500 Asia Pacific.

Prakash has over 20 years’ of experience in representing major local and international companies and high net-worth individuals in high value, complex arbitration and litigation proceedings in Singapore. He regularly represents clients in litigation involving shareholder disputes, medical negligence, professional liability, product liability, fraud, personal injury, employee compensation, and tort. He also regularly appears before various arbitral tribunals in both ad-hoc arbitrations and arbitrations governed by the leading institutional rules.

Prakash’s experience also includes insolvency work, focusing mainly on contentious insolvency matters including court challenges to rehabilitation and liquidation proceedings, claims by liquidators against directors of the insolvent company and/ or third parties.

Prakash speaks regularly in conferences and seminars focusing on international arbitration. Prakash is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is an established legal author and writes and publishes regularly articles on arbitration and insolvency related issues.

Prakash graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London and further obtained a Master's degree in law from Cambridge University where he specialised in public international law including investment treaty law. Prakash qualified as a Barrister-at-law at the Middle Temple in London and as an Advocate and Solicitor in Singapore. He has also previously worked in the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a Foreign Service Officer. Prakash is also the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Iceland in Singapore.

Experience

International Arbitration

  • Acting for a leading Indian logistics and transportation company in relation to three SIAC arbitration claims for approximately USD 35 million arising out of a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) with a Japanese logistic company. Our client commenced three Singapore-seated SIAC arbitrations seeking damages, interests and costs. We had succeeded in consolidating the three arbitrations into one and successfully resisted repeated applications by the respondent for the early dismissal of our client’s claims on each occasion. Our client had secured third-party funding for its legal costs in these proceedings.
  • Acting for a Swiss multinational in an ICC arbitration involving a long- running complex financial fraud in Indonesia. The amount defrauded is estimated to be in the region of US$30 million.
  • Acting for a UK subsidiary of an American architecture and design firm in contemplation of a SIAC arbitration against a Vietnamese property developer. The dispute arises out of the architectural and interior design of a luxury resort project in Vietnam, and involves issues of the vesting of intellectual property of the designs created by the firm, licensing of the intellectual property, and infringement of copyright in the unauthorised use of designs and marketing material created by the firm.
  • Acting for an Indian company in an SIAC arbitration against a Malaysian conglomerate arising out of an aborted share purchase agreement to purchase the client's shareholding in one of the largest pulp and paper mills in Malaysia. The dispute involved the call on a performance guarantee, and the claim value is USD 50 million.
  • Advised a Chinese SOE on its dispute with a Latin American government arising out of a rail infrastructure project.  The dispute involved a potential investment treaty arbitration.
  • Representing a Singapore company against a consortium of international private equity firms incorporated in Mauritius in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore in relation to disputes arising from joint venture agreements involving development of major hydroelectric and thermal power projects in India with an estimated aggregate claim of USD 600 million. The joint venture agreements are governed by Singapore law.
  • Advising a leading Indian chemicals company on a potential SIAC arbitration in relation to a dispute over an investment agreement, the potential claims being in the region of USD 270 million. The agreement was governed by Singapore law.
  • Representing a major Indian company engaged in the business of establishing and operating satellite system infrastructure in an ICC arbitration involving defending the Indian company against claims amounting to approximately USD 200 million by a Bermuda-based satellite operator arising from alleged breaches of a satellite capacity agreement. The agreement was governed by English law.
  • Acting for a Mauritian company against a Singapore company in a SIAC arbitration in respect of disputes arising out of a complex transaction involving the sale and purchase of shares in an Indian company (with funds to be held in escrow). The sums in dispute are approx. SGD 80 million.
  • Representing a Singapore company in an SIAC arbitration involving a major contractual dispute with its Indonesian joint venture partner over an Indonesian plantation project. The contract was governed by Indonesian law.
  • Representing a US multinational company and its Indian subsidiary against an Indian company in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore in respect of disputes arising from joint venture agreements involving manufacturing and distribution of frozen agricultural products in India and transactions involving sale and purchase of manufacturing equipment. The estimated claim for damages approximately USD 15 million. The agreements are governed by Indian law.

Commercial Litigation

  • Representing the applicant, a Singapore commodities trading company with Indian promoters, in a very rare case where the Singapore High Court set aside an SIAC arbitration award on the basis of breach of natural justice.
  • Representing three private equity investment firms incorporated in Mauritius and/or India in proceedings before the Singapore International Commercial Court commenced by two Indian companies. The proceedings before the SICC arose out of a complex series of transactions involving the sale and purchase of shares, with a total transaction value of about INR 200,00,00,000.
  • Representing a Singapore-based reinsurance brokerage firm and its senior employees in an employment dispute with the employees’ former employees. The case involved urgent injunctive relief, allegations of conspiracy, breach of restrictive covenants, and poaching of clients.
  • Representing an Indian business consultant in his dispute with an individual to whom he provided consultancy services over interpretation of the letter of engagement and entitlement to fees. We obtained a successful result for the client both before the General and Appellate Divisions of the High Court.
  • Representing an Indian-born business man in a dispute arising out of a facility agreement entered into between the counterparty and a company of which our client was director, and a personal guarantee provided by our client. The dispute related to and arose from the collapse of a global conglomerate, which led to parallel insolvency proceedings in various jurisdiction. The claim quantum in the Singapore proceedings arising from the personal guarantee exceeded USD 70 million, and there was also an application for a worldwide freezing order against our client.
  • Representing two insurance brokerage firms belonging to a leading insurance broker in Singapore in proceedings before the Singapore High Court. The dispute concerns an alleged conspiracy between certain of former employees of our client who began a competing insurance brokerage business after their employment at the Company. The case also involves allegations of breaches of employment contracts, breaches of statutory duties, and breaches of confidence.
  • Representing two insurance brokerage firms belonging to a leading insurance broker in Singapore in proceedings before the Singapore High Court. The dispute concerns an alleged conspiracy between certain of former employees of our client who began a competing insurance brokerage business after their employment at the Company. The case also involves allegations of breaches of employment contracts, breaches of statutory duties, and breaches of confidence.
  • Advising an IT software company based in the United States in a potential dispute with a global computer hardware and software company, arising out of a contract for the development of codes using multiple programming languages. The dispute involves complex issues of IP law, including the ownership of the copyright in the developed codes, whether the ownership has been assigned or transferred, and copyright infringement.
  • Representing the founder of a well-known tea company in Singapore in a high value shareholders' oppression case involving dispute with the other shareholders.  The Suit also involved both a counterclaim and separate suit for defamation, which has been consolidated with the main suit.
  • Acted for an listed Indian commodities company in a successful application against Agritrade International Pte. Ltd. to set aside an arbitration award on the basis of a breach of natural justice.

Insolvency

  • Representing Garuda Airlines in its application in the High Court under the Singapore Companies Act for sanction of a scheme of arrangement, involving a scheme debt of more than USD 350 million. The scheme of arrangement was sanctioned in parallel by both the English and Singapore courts, and involved litigation in both these jurisdictions initiated by an opposing creditor of the company.
  • Acting for a major creditor in relation to the collapse of OW Bunkers.We have advised on issues relating to approximately 100 different contracts, covering the entire spectrum of international sale and transportation of goods and the parties involved are fuel oil producers/physical suppliers, bunker barge operators, bunker traders and charterers and owners of ocean going vessels.The contracts on which we are advising are bills of lading, charterparties and sale contracts.
  • Acting for a major creditor on their claims against Swiber Offshore Construction, Swiber's applications in Court for voluntary liquidation and the judicial management and in the judicial management proceedings in the Singapore High Court.
Services

Services

  • Commercial Disputes

  • Insolvency & Reorganisation

  • International Arbitration

  • Regulatory & Investigations

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