Max is a Partner of Rajah & Tann with an active practice in the areas of shipping, commodities, and energy.
Max graduated from the National University of Singapore and was placed twice on the Dean’s List for outstanding academic performance.
Max is qualified in both Singapore and England and Wales.
He acts for corporates, banks, insurers, owners, commodity traders, oil & gas and offshore players, among others, on commercial matters and on their most challenging problems.
In Legal 500, he is recognised as “outstanding for his breadth and depth of knowledge and the speed and accuracy with which he applies it”.
He is also noted for “giving importance to detail and tries to ﬁnd a solution to a problem, rather than focusing on the problem”, and most recently as being a “stand out”.
He regularly appears as counsel before the court and arbitration tribunals and has secured significant wins. He is a problem solver, adept at dealing with crisis situations and providing effective solutions.
Max brings with him fluency in Mandarin, both written and spoken.
His practice also often has a cross-border dimension, leveraging on the Firm’s regional footprint across Southeast Asia.
Aside from practice, Max is Professor at a global management school. He also teaches classes in arbitration and civil litigation as part of the Singapore Bar Preparatory Course.
He is frequently invited to speak at industry-specific events and by publications and media outlets to provide his views on topics relating to shipping, global trade, and commodities.
Experience and Expertise
In shipping, Max’s practice includes disputes under charterparties and bills of lading, covering the full spectrum of issues including seaworthiness, hire and off-hire, liens, unsafe ports, dangerous cargoes, sanctions, laytime and demurrage, and cargo contamination and shortage claims.
He has extensive experience in ship arrests. He acted successfully for a ship finance bank in a successful mortgage enforcement before the Singapore Court that was concluded from arrest to payment out in record time. On the defence-side, he acted successfully for shipowners in a rare setting aside of arrest. The case resulted in a reported decision and stands as the latest instance of a successful setting aside in recent memory.
Max recently assisted shipowners in procuring the release of their vessel from arrest in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This is part of Max’s track record of successful extrications achieved in, among other places, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Russia. He has also assisted shipowners to re-possess their vessels from recalcitrant bareboat charterers.
On the ‘wet’ side of things, Max regularly advises and represents shipowners and insurers on collisions, allisions, groundings, fires, explosions, shipboard mishaps, and other major incidents around the region. He has also successfully represented, in recent years, the owners of FFO and various underwater/subsea assets (including fibre optic cables, power cable tunnel) in technical structural damage claims. Max has a penchant for technical cases. He is currently representing a shipowner in a claim for main engine damage.
Commodities and international trade form a core part of Max’s practice. He regularly acts in disputes relating to the sale and purchase of a wide variety of goods, including oil, gas, coal, chemicals, fertilisers, metals, bunkers, vegoils and grains. Max also regularly acts for trade finance banks. He acted successfully for a trade finance bank in the cross-jurisdictional pursuit and recovery of multimillion dollar claims, in the wake of the collapse of a substantial commodities player. This included ship arrests and a series of successful London maritime arbitrations.
His practice also extends to financial instruments used in international trade including letters of credit. He acted successfully for a global commodity player in substantial claims under a letter of credit against the issuing bank. This is the leading case on letters of credit in Singapore.
Max is also active in ship building, repair and conversion work, as well as ship sale & purchase matters. He advised a shipyard on its termination dispute with buyers relating to the construction and delivery of a jack-up drilling rig valued at US$250 million. He also acted for a shipyard in an arbitration relating to the construction and outfitting of a state-of-the-art pipelay construction vessel.
In offshore, oil & gas and energy, Max has extensive experience including matters relating to oil & gas field agreements, mining, and transportation and deployment contracts. Recent highlights include acting successfully for shipowners in a complex arbitration under a bareboat charterparty for a top-end offshore support vessel, securing a substantial award of damages.
Max has significant experience advising and acting for various liquidators, restructuring managers and turnaround consultants on shipping and commodity trading-related issues. He also deals with shipping and commodity fraud and misconduct, and has in-depth experience uncovering, investigating into and pursuing such.
He regularly advises on commercial shipping matters, including regulatory and compliance matters, sanctions, due diligence, and structuring, and of late, has had active involvement in the electronic bills of lading space. He also advises on marine insurance and reinsurance matters.
- Professor, SP Jain School of Global Management