Paul Tan.JPEG

Paul Tan


Practice Area:

International Arbitration
Commercial Litigation
China-Related Investment Dispute Resolution

BCL (Distinction), University of Oxford
LLB (First Class Honours), National University of Singapore
Advocate & Solicitor, Singapore
Barrister, United Kingdom
Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

T +65 6232 0719

Paul is a Band 1 leading individual for international arbitration (The Legal 500 Asia Pacific). He is called to the Singapore and English bars. His “impressive commercial disputes practice” includes instructions as lead counsel before international arbitral tribunals, the Singapore International Commercial Court, and arbitration-related litigation. His cases often involve complex issues of private and public international law.

Paul’s accolades include:

  • Ranked band 1 “leading individual” for arbitration by Legal 500 since 2018.
  • “Disputes Star of the Year - Singapore” by Asialaw / Euromoney (winner in 2016, shortlisted in 2017).
  • Highest-ranked of “most highly regarded” arbitration partners in Asia by Who’s Who Legal – Future Leaders (Arbitration) (2018 and 2019).
  • Ranked by Who’s Who Legal for Asset Recovery since 2017.
  • Ranked for arbitration and litigation by Chambers Asia-Pacific and Global – “As good as anybody I’d worked with in Singapore”; “really excellent”; “highly intelligent”; “outstanding for his scholarship and intellectual strength”; “a standout and gifted advocate”; “runs circles around his opponents”; “ability to think tactically and anticipate the moves of the opposing party.” "very smart and can be relied on for difficult legal analysis”, “responsive and a very serious, intellectual lawyer known for dealing with difficult problems." (Chambers Asia-Pacific and Global, since 2016). 
  • “Incredibly bright”; “an ‘absolute star’ and a ‘senior counsel in waiting’, whose status has ascended for him to be ‘known outside Asia as a first-rate lawyer’ in investor-state disputes right through to construction cases.” “one of the stars of his generation”, “highly intelligent”, “personable”, “knows the arbitration space” and “has the ear of the tribunal and clients”, “accessible, thoughtful, legally creative while being commercially sensitive.” (The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, from 2016).
  • A “star performer”, “formidable strategist”, “fast making a name for himself on the international stage”; “very sharp, easy to work with, grasps issues quickly”; “very astute, commercial and user-friendly”; “a very impressive and exciting lawyer in the new generation" (Who’s Who Legal, from 2017).
  • Also ranked in Best Lawyers and Benchmark Litigation.

He is also co-author of the forthcoming edition of the world-renowned Mustill & Boyd’s treatise on commercial and investment arbitration, and co-authoring other books on arbitration in Singapore to be published by Oxford University Press and Academy Publishing.

His experience includes a two-year placement with Essex Court Chambers in London (as a Singapore Academy of Law scholar) where he worked on commercial and public international law cases before the English courts and international tribunals, and a stint as a foreign stagiaire with Lalive in Geneva.

Paul teaches international arbitration and speaks internationally on the subject. He has also been appointed an expert to the Singapore delegation to the UNCITRAL’s Working Group on Arbitration. He holds or has held numerous committee appointments, including the Government-appointed Committee to Review the Singapore Legal Services Sector, the Arbitration and Public International Law committee of the Law Society of Singapore, the International Law Association (Singapore), co-chair of the Asia-Pacific and Australasian region for the LCIA’s Young International Arbitration Group, the regional co-leader of Association Suisse de l’Arbitrage (Southeast Asia), a committee member of YSIAC, a member of the ICC Commission for the Belt and Road Initiative and a member of the Thought-Leadership committee of ICC Singapore. He is an elected member of the Council of the Law Society of Singapore. He is an honorary member of the Commercial Bar and Chancery Bar of London.

Paul has previously been named “Top 40 Most Influential Lawyers under 40” (Singapore Business Review), “Top 40 Singaporeans under 40” (Prestige Magazine), and “Outstanding Young Person of the Year” in the Law and Government category (Junior Chamber International); and Top 40 under 40 lawyers by ALB Asia.

Experience (representative cases)
International Arbitration
  • Acting for a Singapore employer/owner against a contractor in relation to a major construction contract in excess of $200m governed by ICC rules and Cambodian law.
  • Representing a government in defending claims of over US$15 billion in relation to an oil exploration service contract. Philippine law and ICC rules apply.
  • Representing a government in defending two claims of over US$700 million each in relation to a financial letter of undertaking concerning two water concessions. Philippine law and UNCITRAL rules apply.
  • Advising a telecommunications company in relation to the termination of tower contracts worth over US$200 million, including potential investor claims under the ACIA. English / international law applies.
  • Representing the builder of 2 rigs in 4 references against the buyer and its parent (under a guarantee) for repudiation of a sale and purchase agreement; claims totalling US$300m. English law and LMAA rules apply.
  • Representing international entities in a $50 million SIAC arbitration over agreements relating to the sale and purchase of logs. Singapore and Indonesian laws and SIAC rules apply.
  • Representing a developer in a claim for repudiation over the sale of two hotel properties worth $95m. Singapore law and SIAC rules apply.
  • Represented an oil and gas entity over the sale and purchase of two oil concessions in a US$20 million SIAC arbitration. English law and SIAC rules apply.
  • Represented a Chinese cosmetics company in a dispute with its joint venture partner following an $800 million buy-out by an international brand. Hong Kong law and SIAC rules apply.
  • Advised on a claim by a global hotel chain in insurance claims arising from the Tsunami in 2005.
  • Represented the world’s largest diversified mining group in an ad hoc SIAC arbitration against its local partners in relation to a multimillion-dollar joint venture. Governed by Philippine law.
  • Advised on Singapore law in a claim against a government in an ICC arbitration involving a contractual and construction claim in excess of US$1 billion.
  • Acted in a SIAC arbitration under English law on the repudiation of a sale and purchase contract for coal involving South Asian companies.
Public International Law and Investor-State Arbitration
  • Representing the investor in the enforcement of an ICSID award against Venezuela
  • \Singapore counsel to Lesotho in enforcement and setting-aside proceedings in Swissbourgh Diamonds v Lesotho before the Singapore courts
  • Represented the Republic of Indonesia in annulment proceedings involving the collapse of Bank Century.
  • Co-counsel to an investor in a claim against an African state under ICSID rules.
  • Representing a government in defending claims of over US$15 billion in relation to an oil exploration service contract. Philippine law and ICC rules apply.
  • Representing a government in defending two claims of over US$700 million in relation to a financial letter of undertaking. Philippine law and UNCITRAL rules apply.
  • Advising a telecommunications company in relation to potential investor claims under the ACIA. English / international law applies.
  • Instructed as part of counsel teams to States in relation to claims arising under ECT (for changes to antimonopoly laws in the energy sector) and a treaty for failing to enforce a commercial arbitral award.
  • Advising on the privileges and immunities of international organisations in arbitration proceedings, of international organisations and subsidiary organs, and of former diplomats; the implications of the English and EU anti-terrorism asset freezing regime on an investment fund; on sovereign immunity in the enforcement of numerous foreign judgments against Iran involving claims for terrorist activities on foreign soil worth more than half a billion pounds in the English Courts; and on possible claims in relation to plain packaging legislation under the GATT and TBT.
Arbitration-related litigation
Singapore courts
  • Representing a fund in the enforcement of an award and setting-aside proceedings in the first arbitration-related decision by the SICC.
  • Representing the Government of Lesotho in setting aside an award in an investor-state claim.
  • Representing a Chinese company in setting-aside an award over a dispute of US$1.2 billion.
  • Representing the Hilton Group in enforcement, antisuit and EJD proceedings before the Singapore courts.
  • Representing Oxley Holdings in appealing an award under the Arbitration Act on novel issues of law arising under the Sale of Commercial Properties Act.
  • Represented the successful party in the first-ever Court of Appeal decision granting an antisuit injunction to restrain Swiss proceedings in favour of Singapore arbitration.
  • Obtained an antisuit injunction to restrain threatened proceedings in Indonesia in favour of Singapore arbitration over a major toll construction project in Indonesia.
  • Obtained an antisuit injunction against proceedings in Iran in relation to a dispute (estimated at over US$700 million) over a major oil field production and development project in favour of Singapore arbitration.
  • Obtained deposition for the purposes of an LCIA arbitration in relation to a $700 million property development dispute.
  • Setting aside of an award on the basis of breach of natural justice and agreed procedure and public policy in the Singapore High Court.
  • Enforced a foreign judgment purportedly in breach of an arbitration clause in the Singapore High Court.
  • Resisting enforcement of an award on the basis of a clause promising not to enforce in certain jurisdictions.
Commercial Litigation
Singapore International Commercial Court
  • Representing a BVI company in a $150 million claim for wrongfully disposing of shares intended for use as collateral before the Singapore International Commercial Court. The case involves novel and complex loan agreements and the relationship between the disposals and share prices. 
Singapore High Court litigation
  • Representing Prudential in a claim for mass solicitation of 240 insurance agents.
  • Representing Oxley Holdings in defending claims of misrepresentation against 28 purchasers of 45 units in King Albert Park Mall.
  • Representing Oxley Holdings in relation to claims by subsidiary proprietors of wrongly termination of an en bloc sale and purchase of Ampas Apartments.
  • Represented a leading global supplier of remanufactured semiconductor equipment in a dispute with a competing local company over breach of a distribution agreement including a non-competition clause.
  • Represented a company in a dispute involving the sale and purchase of encrypted chips in high frequency and very high frequency military radios, involving Australian, Italian, Indonesian and Singapore elements.
  • Acted for a bank in relation to misrepresentation and negligence claims by investors who had invested in a fund affected by the Madoff ponzi scheme.
  • Acted for state-owned entities in relation to the enforcement of an English judgment against US$17 million of assets in Singapore.
  • Acted for financial institutions in relation to a claim for the alleged unauthorised release of security held.
  • Represented a high-profile foreign personality against claims and enforcement action in Singapore by his government’s investment agency.
  • Represented a financial institution against an arranger in relation to alleged mis-selling of financial products.
  • Advised a large accounting firm in relation to allegations of professional negligence in failing to detect fraud.
  • Advised a statutory body in relation to possible claims against a tenant and contractor for contamination of State land.
Appellate Advocacy
  • Representing a Chinese contractor in setting-aside proceedings in relation to an award over $200m.
  • Represented the Hilton Group in an antisuit injunction application, involving a novel point of the effect of an adverse foreign judgment being obtained before the injunction was sought.
  • Appeal on the interpretation of an investment agreement over the purchase of an HDB flat, raising the question of illegality.
  • R1 International v Lonstroff AG [2014] SGCA 56: Instructed on appeal to reverse the lower court’s refusal to grant an antisuit injunction against a Swiss company in favour of arbitration in Singapore. First case decided by the Court of Appeal in this area.
  • Singapore Medical Council v Dr Susan Lim: Instructed to represent a medical practitioner in disciplinary proceedings for allegedly overcharging a Royal patient in the amount of $24 million.
  • MCST Plan No. 301 v Lee Tat Development Pte Ltd [2011] 1 SLR 998: Instructed to represent the management committee of a residential development to overturn the Court of Appeal’s own judgment for breach of natural justice.
  • Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (Publ), Singapore Branch v Asia Pacific Breweries (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2011] 3 SLR 540: Instructed to represent international banks seeking the recovery of S$45 million following the largest employee-fraud case in Singapore before the Court of Appeal.
  • Over & Over Pte Ltd v Bonvests Holdings Pte Ltd [2010] 2 SLR 776: Instructed by a Hong Kong company in a multimillion-dollar minority oppression suit against a joint venture with a paid-up capital of S$157 million before the Court of Appeal.
  • Beckkett Pte Ltd v Deutsche Bank AG [2009] 3 SLR(R) 452: Instructed to represent a company seeking the recovery of pledged shares valued at US$240 million over one of the world’s largest coal mines after being sold at undervalue before the Court of Appeal; and on corollary issues of anti-suit injunctions and enforcement.
  • BNP Paribas v Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd [2009] 2 SLR(R) 949: Instructed to represent BNP Paribas seeking to wind up Jurong Shipyard in order to recover US$50 million following the largest collapse in derivatives-trading in Singapore before the Court of Appeal.
  • Registrar of Vehicles v Komoco Pte Ltd [2008] 3 SLR(R) 340: Instructed to represent a statutory agency in a high-profile judicial review case on the imposition of S$7 million in car import taxes before the Court of Appeal.
  • Represented an employee for wrongful dismissal arising out of alleged discriminatory conduct by the company.
Monographs and books
  • Singapore Law: 50 Years In The Making (Singapore Academy of Law) (2015)
  • Mustill And Boyd On Commercial And Investment Arbitration (with Sam Wordsworth QC, Ricky Diwan QC and Salim Moollan QC) (third ed) (anticipated 2021)
  • Commentary on the International Arbitration Act (commissioned by Oxford University Press) (anticipated 2021)
  • International Arbitration In Singapore: Theory And Practice (commissioned by the Singapore Academy of Law) (anticipated 2021)
 Chapters in books
  • Co-author with Bernard Eder IJ of a chapter on the SICC in Singapore International Arbitration: Law and Practice (Second Edition), Lexis Nexis (2018)
  • Co-author, Singapore chapter in The International Arbitration Review, Law Business Research Ltd, 8th and 9 Editions
  • Co-author, “Singapore: Trust Disputes and Arbitration” in Arbitration of Internal Trust Disputes: Issues in National and International Law (with Tang Hang-Wu) (Oxford University Press, 2016)
  • Co-author, Singapore chapter in The International Arbitration Review (Sweet & Maxwell, 2014, 2015)
  • Co-author, Multi-tiered dispute resolution clauses in Singapore International Arbitration Law and Practice (Lexis Nexis, 2014)
  • Co-author, Singapore rapporteur, Asia-Pacific Arbitration Reporter (SIAC) (2015, 2016)
 Articles, Notes, Op-eds
  • “The New Appellate Structure of the Supreme Court,” Singapore Law Gazette (December 2019)
  • “Antisuit injunctions: Principle and Practice”, Singapore Law Gazette (2015)
  • “Singapore Court Reviews Investment Arbitral Tribunal’s Decision On Jurisdiction: What Standard Should Apply As to Evidence?”, (5 February 2015)
  • “An Overview of Procedural Innovations in International Commercial Arbitration,” Singapore Law Gazette (October 2014)
  • “Playing hardball in international commercial arbitration,” (14 June 2014)
  • “Clearing the Air – Tougher Measures in the Transboundary Pollution Bill,” Rajah & Tann Client Update (July 2014)
  • “A Fresh Start: The New Myanmar Arbitration Bill,” Global Arbitration Review (2014)
  • “The UNCITRAL Model Law and awards infra petita” 31(3) Journal of International Arbitration 413 (2014)
  • “The Conflict of Laws in International Arbitration Cases in Singapore” (commissioned for an SAL Journal special edition, 2014)
  • “New Emphases in Advocacy before the Court of Appeal,” Singapore Law Gazette (May 2013).
  • “Cultural values in international arbitration,” Singapore Law Gazette (June 2013).
  • “Clear waters on claims to sovereign immunity,” Singapore Law Watch Commentary, Issue 1/March 2013
  • “A Court for the Next Decade,” The Straits Times, 5 November 2012, p. A23 (co-authored)
  • “Arbitration Jurisprudence in Singapore: Is there a Disturbance in the Force?” Singapore Law Watch Commentary, Issue 1/Nov 2012
  • “Sundaresh Menon’s First Judgment,” Global Arbitration Review (22 October 2012) (co-authored)
  • “Enforcing awards obtained in breach of arbitration agreements: wrong on all counts,” Singapore Law Watch Commentary, Issue 2/May 2012
  • “Reflections on Appeals on Questions of Law Arising Out of Domestic Arbitration Awards,” Singapore Law Watch Commentary, Issue 3/Nov 2011 (with Darius Chan)
  • “AJU v AJT – Nail in Soleimany’s Coffin?” (14)(6) International Arbitration Law Review,183 (2011)
  • “Discretion in Annulment Proceedings under the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration,” Singapore Law Watch Commentary, Issue 2/Aug 2011
  • “Discovery Before Arbitration – When and Why?” Singapore Journal of Legal Studies 270 (2011)
  • “Competing Priorities in International Commercial Arbitration,” 14(3) International Arbitration Law Review 67 (2011)
  • “Between Competing Jurisdiction Clauses – a Pro-arbitration Bias?” Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 15 (2011)
  • “A Statistical Analysis on the Development of Singapore Law” 23 Singapore Academy of Law Journal 176 (2011)
  • “Enforcement and Recognition of Foreign Arbitral Awards: Recent Cases in Singapore,” Singapore Law Watch Commentary, Issue 1/Dec 2010
  • “Public Policy in International Arbitration in Singapore – an Unruly Horse Rears its Head,” 13(6) International Arbitration Law Review (2010)
  • “Singapore High Court Blocks Attempt to Circumvent Arbitral Discovery,” 5(5) Global Arbitration Review 42 (2010)
  •  Book Review of Reading Law in Singapore (Lexis Nexis, 2010) by Michael Hor and Tang Han Wu eds., Singapore Law Gazette (March 2010).
  • “Writing a Persuasive Appellate Brief,” 19 Singapore Academy of Law Journal 337 (2007)
  • “Taking a Leaf: Appellate Advocacy,” Inter Se 20-21 (November-December 2006) (with another)