Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Asia Pacific: The English Bar

The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
Click here for more details

Asia Pacific: The English Bar > Market overview > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Market overview clients in Asia Pacific: The English Bar using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

The flexibility and international expertise of the English Bar continues to make it a popular choice for arbitrations in Asia, with many barristers accepting appointments as arbitrators and counsel.

Despite Asia remaining a core region for shipping lawyers, the slowdown of work in this area continues, as exemplified by the February 2017 demise of Hanjin Shipping. Shipbreaking activity has spiked: for example, in a transaction unusually attracting some media attention, a seven-year-old Chinese-built Panamax container ship named the Hammond Grenada was sold for scrap for $5.5m – less than a tenth of her original value – in January 2017, setting a new record for the youngest container vessel to be recycled. That said, many of the new vessels being added to the world’s merchant marine are some of the largest ever seen, taking advantage of the extra 16.5m of width allowed by the 2016 opening of the Panama Canal’s third set of locks. Further regulations regarding ship emissions have the potential to create some work going forwards, due to the complexity of the modifications required to some existing ships.

Away from international arbitration, a number of members of the London criminal Bar appear in politically charged Hong Kong fraud trials, following increasingly rare ad hoc admissions, or provide strategic advice to international corporates on bribery and sanctions issues. In particular, the extraterritorial extent of the UK’s Bribery Act is becoming more visible (and in some cases almost as prominent as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) in the light of a number of key names in the engineering sector becoming embroiled in bribery scandals across the emerging world.

This section covers individuals who practice as members of English sets of chambers, irrespective of their nationality of qualification. Most are primarily based in London and travel frequently to the region, but a small minority are located full-time in Asia Pacific – a number of leading sets have annexes in Singapore.

2 Bedford Row, which covers the gamut of criminal work in London, includes members with expertise in cross-border fraud, bribery and sanctions matters. Senior clerk John Grimmer is a key contact.

3 Verulam Buildings is ‘a go-to set’ that is ‘absolutely superb in banking and finance disputes’, with a particular strength in all manner of India-related work as well as financial services matters across the region. Stephen Penson, the senior practice manager, delivers ‘strong service and runs an excellent clerking team’.

4 Pump Court is a ‘responsive and user-friendly’ chambers that is ‘active in Hong Kong’. The set handles a range of commercial work,with a particular strength in China-related matters, and shipbuilding and energy disputes. Chief executive Carolyn McCombe ‘runs a tight and efficient business’ and provides ‘strong leadership in the clerks’ room’, which includes joint senior clerks Carl Wall and Stewart Gibbs. The set now has an office in Hong Kong rather than an affiliation with Arbitration Chambers Hong Kong.

5 Paper Buildings includes members with expertise in a range of criminal cases, some involving ad hoc admissions in Hong Kong. The senior clerk is Dale Jones.

6KBW College Hill is one of the leading sets for prosecution work in London, and has a presence in some of the top fraud trials in Hong Kong, following ad hoc admissions. Andrew Barnes is the senior clerk.

7BR’s members handle a range of work within the UK domestic criminal space, some of which penetrates internationally. Paul Eeles and Steven Wright are the joint senior clerks.

7 King's Bench Walk has expertise in work spanning from insurance and commercial dispute resolution through to aviation and shipping. Bernie Hyatt and Greg Leyden are joint senior clerks, with practice development and marketing director Brian Lee also a key contact for international work.

One of the leading sets for shipping work’, 20 Essex Street also has a considerable strength in commodities cases. At deputy senior clerk level, Arron Zitver is ‘pleasant to work with’ and Christopher Theobold is ‘sensitive and considerate when dealing with solicitors’. Amy Mellon is the set’s Singapore office’s practice manager, with head of practice support Rachel Foxton also a key contact. Jemma Tagg is the director of strategic development.

With offices in both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, 39 Essex Chambers is ‘a very good set with a good selection of barristers’ for work ranging from construction and shipbuilding arbitrations, through to commercial matters. Director of Asian business Roderick Noble ‘has done a great job of developing the Asia practice’, and senior practice manager Owen Lawrence is ‘very approachable’ and ‘spends a lot of time investing in relationships with law firms’.

Atkin Chambers is ‘a well-run set’, with a worldwide footprint in construction law. Director of clerking David Barnes, who joined from 39 Essex Chambers, is ‘always helpful and reasonable’, and senior clerk Justin Wilson is ‘well organised and always provides useful recommendations on counsel for different cases; he knows the Hong Kong market very well’. Daniel Jones, who manages arbitral appointments, is ‘very helpful and responsive’.

Brick Court Chambers handles a range of heavyweight commercial work in London, with a growing presence in international arbitration worldwide. Julian Hawes and Ian Moyler are the joint senior clerks.

Cloth Fair Chambers has a strong reputation for a range of defence work in complex corporate crime cases.

Essex Court Chambers is ‘clearly a top set, where there is great depth, and the clerks always find someone to help – even at short notice’. It includes members with experience both as counsel and arbitrator in shipbuilding and commercial disputes. Joe Ferrigno is the senior clerk, responsible for providing a ‘seamless and smooth client service’. David Grief has taken on a new role as director of international business development.

Fountain Court Chambers is ‘powerfully matches breadth and depth with precision, strategy and efficiency’. With particularly strong links to Singapore and an established office there, the set handles heavyweight commercial disputes, and members act as arbitrator and counsel, with a strength in financial services matters. The ‘prompt and professional’ clerks include senior clerk Alex Taylor, deputy senior clerk Paul Martenstyn, and Asia practice manager Caroline McConnon, who is based in Singapore.

Keating Chambers has a particular strength in construction disputes, with connections to jurisdictions across Asia Pacific including Australia. Declan Redmond is the director of clerking.

Matrix Chambers’ criminal and international law practice manager Paul Venables is responsible for clerking the practices of several members who handle key Hong Kong financial crime litigation and strategic advice.

One Essex Court has a track record of involvement in high-level commercial disputes. Key contacts include senior clerk Darren Burrows and deputy senior clerk Jackie Ginty. The set has a Singapore office, where Kelly Lim is a key contact.

Quadrant Chambers is ‘highly regarded for shipping and insurance matters, with members who are exceptionally knowledgeable, user-friendly and supportive in complex cases’. Although best known in the shipping space, it also handles a range of commercial disputes. The joint senior clerks ‘provide a reliable and helpful service throughout’: Gary Ventura is ‘standout’ and Simon Slattery is also ‘particularly good’.

36 Stone contains a number of members with shipping expertise and has an office in Singapore. The group, which is part of The 36 Group, is also noted for its ‘very efficient clerking’, where chambers executive officer Luke Irons is a key name to note.

Three Stone is best known for its Chancery practice and has links to Hong Kong and elsewhere in the region. Justin Brown is the senior clerk.

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Chambers Guides - Insurance 2018 - India

    India is a common-law jurisdiction. In general, Indian laws borrow heavily from, and are based on, English law. However, insurance law in India has certain unique features that deviate from English insurance law. The primary legislation of insurance law in India is the Insurance Act, 1938 (the “Insurance Act”) and the Insurance Rules, 1939 (the “Insurance Rules”).
  • AVELLUM advised largest Ukrainian brick manufacturer on restructuring and refinancing of its debt

    AVELLUM acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to Private Joint Stock Company with Foreign Investments “Slobozhanska Budivelna Keramika” (“SBK ”) in connection with the restructuring and refinancing of SBK’s debt, valued at approximately EUR20 million. Atlas Advisors, an independent investment banking firm, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the SBK’s shareholders in connection with the restructuring of the credit portfolio, attraction of financing for the debt’s refinancing, and buy-out of SBK’s shares.
  • AVELLUM advises on Ukraine’s USD2 billion Eurobond issue

    AVELLUM acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine on the USD2 billion sovereign Eurobond issue consisting of two tranches with 5.5 and 10-year tenor. J.P. Morgan Securities, Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, and Citigroup acted as joint lead managers on the transaction.
  • New Anti-Money Laundering Law

    The new anti-money laundering ( AML ) law of the UAE took effect at the end of October 2018. Containing features recommended by the Financial Action Task Force ( FATF ), the new law introduces subtle but important changes to the AML landscape in the UAE. 
  • Confidentiality Under Renewed Focus

    The UAE federal government has recently issued a raft of important legislation, addressing and in many ways updating areas of law that are key to businesses in the jurisdiction. Amongst this legislation is Federal Decree-Law 14 of 2018 concerning the central bank and the organisation of financial institutions and activities (the New Banking Law ) and Federal Decree-Law 20 of 2018 concerning anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing (the New AML Law ). Both the New Banking Law and the New AML Law repeal and replace the previous legislation on their respective subjects. Importantly, the New Banking Law and the New AML Law have together enhanced the protection afforded to confidential information under UAE law, in particular where financial and legal service providers and their customers and clients are concerned. 
  • Israel Chapter in The Virtual Currency Regulation Review

    Earlier this year, the Israel Tax Authority (ITA) issued two circulars, one on the taxation of digital tokens and the second addressing the taxation of utility tokens in initial coin offerings (ICOs). Additionally, in March, the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) released a detailed interim report by the Committee for the Regulation of Public Offerings of Decentralized Cryptocurrency Coins (Report) (with a follow-up report due to come out around October 2018). Moreover, it is expected that before the end of 2018, legislation will come into force that for the first time will see Israeli primary legislation define virtual currencies as financial assets and mandate licensing for related services, as is later discussed in detail.
  • GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Report on authorized dealer’s entitlement to compensation

    Under certain circumstances, an authorized dealer may be entitled to claim compensation after termination of the contract with the company if the latter continues to be able to use its business contacts.
  • The Intra-Corporate Transfer Regulations

    The Conditions of Entry and Residence of Third-Country Nationals in the Framework of an Intra-Corporate Transfer Regulations (“Regulations”) were brought into force through Subsidiary Legislation 217.21. These Regulations transpose EU Directive 2014/66/EU into Maltese law.
  • Spring is coming for real estate registration in Israel

    Israel may be the “Start-up Nation” and a world-renowned center of technological innovation, yet for many years the procedures and conduct of the Israeli Land Registry have been trapped in the past.
  • The Tax Working Group’s Interim Report - A capital gains tax for New Zealand?

    ​​​​​​The Tax Working Group has released its Interim Report on the Future of Tax. Amongst a number of other matters, the Interim Report describes two alternative methods for the implementation of a capital gains tax in New Zealand, which will be the subject of further consideration over the coming months. 

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to