Firm Profile > Stephenson Harwood LLP > Singapore, Singapore

Stephenson Harwood LLP

Asset finance: foreign firms Tier 1

Stephenson Harwood LLP significantly strengthened its capabilities in cross-border ship finance and offshore maritime transactions with several key hires from Ince, including shipping expert Martin Brown, who joined in November 2018, and maritime disputes specialist John Simpson, who joined in 2019, along with four associates experienced in shipping, aviation finance and international trade. The team has broad-ranging expertise in aviation finance, including US and European ECA-backed financings, commercial debt financings and derivatives. Saugata Mukherjee's expertise in aviation finance includes secured lending structures, portfolio acquisitions, pre-delivery payment financings and operating leases. Shipping practice head Gregg Johnston is supported by Martin Green and Iain Young. Counsel Michelle Runagall-Orlić is a key name for cross-border aviation financing, acquisition and leasing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Saugata Mukherjee, Gregg Johnston

Other key lawyers:


‘We enjoy working with SH Legal for our ship finance transactions. The team has high level of professionalism, in-depth knowledge on ship finance and is able to provide us practical advice from shipping law perspective.’

Key clients

AirAsia Group Berhad

Crédit Industriel et Commercial

PT Lion Mentari (Lion Air)

Deucalion Limited

DVB Bank SE, Singapore Branch

Shipping: foreign firms Tier 1

Arguably one of 'Singapore's pre-eminent shipping practices', Stephenson Harwood LLP fields a team of 'top-tier lawyers' with wide-ranging expertise in wet and dry shipping, ship finance and marine-related disputes. The practice has been bolstered by the arrival of Gregory Xu from Clifford Chance, a banking partner with experience in shipping and offshore oil and gas financing, particularly for FPSOs, FSRUs and LNG vessels. The hire of former Ince managing partner John Simpson in May 2019 has significantly strengthened the firm's bench strength in shipbuilding, charterparty agreements and dispute resolution, including subsea construction disputes. Head of shipping Gregg Johnston is particularly noted for his experience in English-law governed financings in Korea; Martin GreenIain Young, Martin Brown and Huay Yee Kwan are the other key partners.

Practice head(s):

Gregg Johnston


Stephenson Harwood is one of Singapore’s pre-eminent shipping practices with broad coverage of the market, lots of internal resources and a team of top-tier lawyers.’

Key clients

I.M. Skaugen S.E.

Norgas Carriers Private Limited

The Korea Development Bank

DVB Bank SE Singapore Branch

Standard Chartered Bank

BNP Paribas

Corporate and M&A: foreign firms Tier 3

Stephenson Harwood LLP has excellent regional mid-market credentials, however, it is moving up the value chain to achieve a presence in bigger-ticket transactions. Across Southeast Asia, it has built an extensive record in headline strategic acquisitions, private equity transactions and venture capital investments. Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are key jurisdictions for the Singapore team. It has a strong presence in healthcare, TMT and consumer goods. Tom Platts is an established Singapore figure with exceptional regional credentials, particularly in Myanmar. George Cyriac is playing an anchor role in developing the firm's private equity and venture capital practice, most notably in Indonesia. Of counsel Helen Rhind-Hufnagel is also a key name.

Practice head(s):

Tom Platts; George Cyriac


‘The quality of service is very high. The team is responsive, commercial and we have seen a hands-on approach by partners, giving our clients a lot of confidence.’

‘The firm provides the quality we would normally associate with the larger Magic Circle firms, but at much more reasonable prices.’

‘It strikes us as having a close-knitted culture where lawyers are genuinely passionate about their work.’

‘George Cyriac has a reliable team of associates who are proactive, meticulous and have great working attitudes.’

‘George Cyriac brings a high level of quality and polish to transactions, whilst at the same time being very aware of local practical issues and challenges in India. This is a rare combination and one that allows him to work very effectively on Indian transactions or on deals with Indian clients.’

‘George is a problem-solver who also stands out due to his exceptional work ethic, always giving his best and often working into the wee hours of the morning in order to meet tight deadlines in our M&A transactions.’

‘Tom Platts is a good sounding board.’

Key clients

Singapore Technologies Aerospace


General Mills


Stella International

CLSA Capital Partners

Luxoft International

Myanmar Investments International

Campana Group

Agrifert Holdings

International arbitration Tier 3

Stephenson Harwood LLP is a burgeoning player in the arbitration market, particularly in investment disputes and in offshore oil and gas cases. It has extensive experience in Indonesia, Vietnam, China and the Philippines. Post M&A, joint venture, shareholder and power cases also feature strongly along with shipping and charterparty arbitrations. Timothy Cooke is a recognised leading name in the arbitration field, while Michelle Yong has a strong name in shipping disputes, as does John Simpson who joined from Ince in 2018.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Cooke


‘An excellent team for international arbitration. It has strong fundamentals, a thorough understanding of arbitration rules and procedures.’

‘The team provides commercially savvy advice. The advice leverages off really deep legal expertise, but applies a commercial rationale to the strategy which means efficient solutions to highly complex issues.’

‘Timothy Cooke is brilliant. He assimilates information and facts quickly and has a sound understanding of arbitration rules and procedures. He produces succinct responses, is very hands-on and engages directly with client.’

‘Timothy Cooke is an outstanding advocate for international arbitration. He is exceptionally bright and hardworking. He can take the most complicated matter and distil it into a clear and persuasive case. He has a calm and commanding presence in hearings. Arbitrators really listen to him.’

Michelle Yong is sharp, focused, patient, has a good sense of timing and is a great strategist.’

‘John Simpson is a brilliant strategist, coordinating the large team of lawyers, experts and witnesses. He is very commercially-minded and knows the law at the back of his hand. He is very experienced in offshore disputes and shipping disputes.’

Key clients

Jaguar Energy Guatemala

Tarek Damerji


IM Skaugen

Vitol Asia

Petrobras Singapore

Banking and finance: foreign firms Tier 4

Stephenson Harwood LLP established a general banking practice with the hire of Gregory Xu from Clifford Chance in 2018. Building on the firm's already strong asset finance credentials, he and the team have made progress in corporate loans and trade finance in India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia especially. The practice is largely mid-cap deals for banks and funds. Offshore oil and gas financings, including FPSO-related transactions, are also core to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Xu

Key clients


Mizuho Bank


Golden Equator


Iran > Foreign law firms Tier 1

Stephenson Harwood LLP's London-based practice group has been kept busy advising on a number of high-profile and complex multi-jurisdictional cases for international and Iranian clients, with a focus on sanctions compliance and regulatory issues. Practice head Sue Millar has a strong reputation for handling matters concerning EU and UK sanctions. Of counsel Stephen Ashley is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Sue Millar

Other key lawyers:

Philippines > Foreign firms Tier 2

Major financial institutions, private equity funds and multinational corporations turn to Stephenson Harwood LLP in investments and finance transactions involving the Philippines. Transport finance is a particular strength. The team has expanded considerably through several recent hires; this includes the hire of Gregory Xu, who joined from Clifford Chance in 2018 and was promoted to partner in 2019, and the arrival of Martin Brown and John Simpson (and others), who joined from Ince in 2018 and 2019, respectively. George Cyriac  is another key contact; he advised AIGF, a Singapore-headquartered private equity fund, on its investment in Philippines-based co-working and flexible workspace provider KMC Solutions. Tom Platts heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Tom Platts

Other key lawyers:

George Cyriac; Gregory Xu; Erik Wallace; Martin Brown; John Simpson

Key clients

Cebu Pacific

Stella International Holdings


Audiowav Media, Inc.

Winson Oil Trading

Venturra Capital Fund I LP


BNP Paribas

The Stephenson Harwood Singapore office has been established in Singapore for 23 years, and as part of the Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance*, is widely recognised as being a top-tier firm in asset finance, shipping, international trade and corporate, covering the region from its Singapore hub.

The 60 lawyer Alliance team in Singapore, covering international and permitted areas of Singapore law, has built an enviable reputation for investment advice, shipping, offshore and aviation, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and disputes.

The team in Singapore has strong expertise in the maritime industry. Our shipping and offshore team is one of very few in Asia to offer a complete ensemble of market-leading ship finance, corporate and litigation services to the maritime industry. Our clients include almost every major ship finance bank, many of the world’s largest shipping, commodity and offshore multinationals and the world’s leading shipyards.

We have an experienced corporate team boasting an enviable track record of market leading deals throughout Southeast Asia.

We are also recognised as having a market leading aviation finance practice. The team acted on a number of landmark and ground-breaking deals, including the world’s largest ever commercial aircraft and OEM order in history, a private placement of aircraft-backed bonds in Korea and the first foreign debt financing of aircraft in Myanmar.

We add value to the services we provide to our clients through 20 years of experience built up in Singapore. With both international and local expertise within the Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance*, we have an insight into how business is done in the region.

*Stephenson Harwood LLP and Virtus Law LLP are each registered under the Limited Liability Partnership Act (Chapter 163A) of Singapore with limited liability and are members of the Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance, a formal law alliance licensed in Singapore.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Martin Green +65 6226 1600
Business Development Manager Marilyn Quek +65 6622 9654
Photo Name Position Profile
 Martin Brown photo Martin Brown
 Timothy Cooke  photo Timothy Cooke
 George Cyriac  photo George Cyriac
Mr Martin Green photo Mr Martin Green
 Gregg Johnston  photo Gregg Johnston
 Huay Yee Kwan  photo Huay Yee Kwan
 Saugata Mukherjee  photo Saugata Mukherjee
 Tom Platts  photo Tom Platts
 Helen Rhind-Hufnagel  photo Helen Rhind-Hufnagel
 Michelle Runagall-Orlić  photo Michelle Runagall-Orlić
 John Simpson  photo John Simpson
Dr Gregory Xu  photo Dr Gregory Xu
 Michelle Yong  photo Michelle Yong
 Iain Young  photo Iain Young
Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin)
Bahasa (Malay and Indonesia)
All main business languages