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 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:

  • “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific 2018
  • Named as “Top 40 outstanding legal professionals in the region” under 40 by Asian Legal Business (October 2018)
  • “Disputes Star of the Year - Singapore” by Asialaw / Euromoney (winner in 2016, shortlisted in 2017).
  • Highest-ranked of “most highly regarded” arbitration practitioners in Asia by Who’s Who Legal – Future Leaders (2018 and 2019).
  • “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”. (The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2016 to 2019)
  • “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, 2017, 2018).
  • “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, 2016 to 2019)
  • Recognised for Arbitration and Mediation and Litigation, International Arbitration and Litigation by Best Lawyers (from 2014 to 2020)

He is also co-author of the forthcoming edition of the world-renowned Mustill & Boyd’s treatise on commercial and investment arbitration, and other books on arbitration in Singapore.

His experience includes a significant placement with “magic circle set” 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 also 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) and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Singapore), as an elected a member of the Council of the Law Society of Singapore, co-chair of the Asia-Pacific and Australasian region for the LCIA’s Young International Arbitration Group, and the regional co-leader of Association Suisse de l’Arbitrage (Southeast Asia). 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).

A. International Arbitration
  • Representing a government in defending claims of over US$15 billion in relation to an oil exploration service contract. Philippine law applies.
  • Representing a government in defending claims of over US$700 million in relation to a financial letter of undertaking. Philippine law applies.
  • Representing a telecommunications company in relation to the termination of tower contracts worth over US$200 million. English law applies.
  • Representing international entities in a $50 million SIAC arbitration over agreements relating to the sale and purchase of logs. Singapore and Indonesian laws apply.
  • Representing the seller in a potential dispute over the sale and purchase of shares in a rubber production company.
  • Representing an oil and gas entity over the sale and purchase of two oil concessions in a US$20 million SIAC arbitration. English law applies.
  • Representing a company in a dispute over a $450 million sale and purchase of shares in a rubber production company. Singapore law applies.
  • Representing a mining entity in a US$100 million SIAC dispute over engineering, design and procurement defects and deficiencies.
  • Representing 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.
  • Representing a Korean company against a Dutch company for failure to pay representation fees in an ICC arbitration.
  • Acted in the effect of foreign legislation on a EUR20 million sale and purchase contract involving the telecommunications industry between a State-owned entity and its supplier. English law and seat under ICC rules.
  • Acted in a dispute over a long-term gas sale and purchase agreement between a State-owned entity and its purchaser involving general principles of law with Geneva as the seat under UNCITRAL rules.
  • Acted in claims for payment due under multiple contracts relating to an oil refinery project in India. Governed by Indian law.
  • Acted in a sale and purchase agreement between a government and private contractor for the sale of warships under ICC rules governed by English law.
  • Advising on the prospects of an arbitration in relation to a dispute over an incentive scheme relating to a Ukranian mine governed by Swiss law.
  • Acted in a LCIA arbitration involving a sale and purchase agreement on the Norwegian Sale Form, valued at US$19 million.
  • Acted in a SIAC arbitration under English law on the repudiation of a sale and purchase contract for coal involving South Asian companies.
  • Acted in a LMAA arbitration under English law on demurrage claims.
  • Assistant to an LCIA Tribunal comprising Joe Smouha QC, Alan Redfern and Lionel Persey QC involving class certification in the sale and purchase of a ship. Claim initially valued at £115 million.
  • Advising 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.
  • Advising on a claim by a global hotel chain in insurance claims arising from the Tsunami in 2005.
  • Representing 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.
  • Advising a milling company in relation to possible breaches of contractual obligations by a foreign government.
  • Advising on cross-border sale of goods (CISG) under ICC rules of arbitration.
  • Acted in parallel ICC arbitrations in Singapore and in London relating to the sale of iron ore. Singapore / English law governs.
B. Public International Law and Investor-State Arbitration
  • Co-counsel to the Republic of Indonesia in annulment proceedings involving the collapse of Bank Century.
  • Co-counsel to an investor in a claim against Madagascar under ICSID.
  • Co-counsel to Kazakhstan in AES and Tau Power v Kazakhstan (claims in excess of US$1 billion under BIT and ECT arising from changes to antimonopoly laws in the energy sector)
  • Co-counsel to India in White Industries v India (on effective means of enforcing a commercial arbitral award)
  • Advising on an investment arbitration claim in the banking sector.
  • Advising on an investment arbitration claim in the agricultural sector.
  • Assisting arbitrators sitting in investor-State arbitrations concerning expropriation and FET claims.
  • Advising on the privileges and immunities of international organisations in arbitration proceedings.
  • Advising on the privileges and immunities of international organisations and subsidiary organs.
  • Advising on diplomatic immunity of a former diplomat.
  • Advising an investment portfolio fund on the implications of the English and EU anti-terrorism asset freezing regime.
  • Advising 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.
  • Advising on sovereign immunity in the enforcement of a treaty arbitral award in the English courts.
  • Advising on the General Agreement on Trade in Services in the WTO.
  • Advising on the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement in the WTO.
C. Arbitration-related litigation
Singapore courts
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Obtaining an antisuit injunction to restrain threatened proceedings in Indonesia in favour of Singapore arbitration over a major construction project.
  • Obtaining 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.
  • Obtaining deposition for the purposes of an LCIA arbitration in relation to a $700 million property development dispute.
  • Successfully obtaining an antisuit injunction to restrain foreign proceedings in Switzerland favour of Singapore / London arbitration in the Court of Appeal.
  • Resisting the joinder of a third party in arbitration proceedings in a dispute worth over S$100 million.
  • Setting aside of an award on the basis of breach of natural justice and agreed procedure and public policy in the Singapore High Court.
  • Enforcing a foreign judgment purportedly in breach of an arbitration clause in the Singapore High Court.
  • Enforcing a split jurisdiction and arbitration clause in the Singapore courts.
  • Advising on resisting enforcement of a US$300 million award in a Model Law jurisdiction.
English Courts
  • Enforcing a French ICC award relating to defective shipbuilding before the English courts, involving an allegation of fraud in the arbitration and issue estoppel.
  • Enforcing a US$300 million foreign award involving the telecommunications industry before the English courts under s. 103 of the 1996 Act.
  • Advising on the enforcement of a Swiss award under ICC rules in Germany involving questions of illegality.
  • Advising on sovereign immunity in the enforcement of a treaty arbitral award in the English courts.
D. 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 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.
  • Representing 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.
  • Acting for a Taiwanese party in proceedings to recover unpaid invoices.
  • Acting for a bank in relation to misrepresentation and negligence claims by investors who had invested in a fund affected by the Madoff ponzi scheme.
  • Acting for state-owned entities in relation to the enforcement of an English judgment against US$17 million of assets in Singapore.
  • Acting 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.
  • Advising an incineration plant on possible misrepresentation by a government-linked company.
  • Advising a large accounting firm in relation to allegations of professional negligence in failing to detect fraud.
  • Advising a statutory body in relation to possible claims against a tenant and contractor for contamination of State land.
  • Advising on sovereign immunity in the enforcement of numerous foreign judgments worth more than half a billion pounds in the English Courts.
English Commercial Litigation
  • Acted in a fiduciary and other duties of security trustees owed to mezzanine lenders in the enforcement of security valued at close to £1 billion in a three-week trial before the English courts.
  • Acted in a discharge of a US$200 million freezing order in the Cayman Islands issued in support of English proceedings.
  • Acted in a claim for minority oppression and breach of directors’ duties involving the sale of a £660 million debt in a two-month trial before the English courts.
  • Acted in a declaration for the ownership of shares over a Ukranian mine; involving issues of lis alibi pendens under the Brussels Regulation and the Lugano Convention in a week-long trial before the English courts.
  • Advising on the prospects of winding-up proceedings of a Hong Kong company for minority oppression.
E. Appellate Advocacy
  • 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.
  • Gunvor Singapore Pte Ltd v Kesavan Esuvaranathan [2009] SGDC 357: Instructed to represent a landlord in a tenancy dispute over a company lease before the High Court (appeal by other party dismissed but unreported).
A. 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 2019/2020)
  • Natural Justice In International Arbitration (commissioned by the Singapore Academy of Law) (anticipated 2019/2020)
  • International Arbitration In Singapore: Theory And Practice (commissioned by the Singapore Academy of Law) (anticipated 2019/2020)
 B. Chapters in books
  • Co-author in one of the chapters inSingapore 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)
 C. Articles, Notes, Op-eds
  • “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)
  • “On Law, Morality and Bioscience: Book Review of Law and Morality in the Age of Bioscience” (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2007) by Justice Choo Han Teck, The Straits Times (10 March 2007).
  • “Taking a Leaf: Appellate Advocacy,” Inter Se 20-21 (November-December 2006) (with another)
  • “Serving Defendants in Malaysia,” Singapore Law Gazette 18 (October 2006) cited favourably in Lee Hsien Loong v Review Publishing Company Ltd and Anor and another suit [2007] 2 SLR 453