A Senior Counsel and Chartered Arbitrator, Christopher Lau is recognised as “one of Singapore’s leading arbitrators on major domestic and international arbitrations” (AsiaLaw).
Christopher's arbitration practice encompasses investment as well as all aspects of commercial disputes, including construction, corporate, maritime, energy, communication, military & defence procurements involving the laws of various common and civil law jurisdictions, including those of Singapore, Indonesia, India, Hong Kong SAR, PRC, Mongolia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Korea, Thailand, Qatar, Denmark, Cambodia, England & Wales and New York.
Christopher has also served as mediator in commercial, construction and shareholder disputes both international and domestic.
Christopher has been in practice for over 35 years having been called to the Bar of England & Wales in 1972. After his return to Singapore, Christopher soon became best known for his role in shipping, construction and commercial disputes. Between 1995 and 1998, Christopher sat as a Judicial Commissioner of the Singapore Supreme Court.
Christopher now practises as an arbitrator. He has served in over 130 mostly international cases in both ad hoc arbitrations and arbitrations conducted under, amongst others, HKIAC, ICC, ICDR, JCAA, KCAB, KLRCA, LCIA, LMAA, SCMA, SIAC and UNCITRAL arbitration rules in various jurisdictions involving both civil and common law.
Christopher’s appointments as an arbitrator and mediator include the following:
- Chairman in a SIAC arbitration concerning the procurement of telecommunications network equipment in Cambodia involving, inter alia, a Chinese party.
- Chairman in an ICC arbitration concerning the construction of a power plant in a South Asian state involving a state entity and a Chinese party.
- Chairman in a SIAC international arbitration involving Middle-East and Chinese parties concerning a distributorship dispute.
- Chairman in a JCAA international arbitration concerning the automotive components industry in Korea, Japan and Germany.
- Co-Arbitrator in a SIAC international arbitration concerning an escrow agreement.
- Co-arbitrator in a Bilateral Investment Treaty dispute between a foreign party and an Asian state.
- Ad hoc arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules between foreign companies and an Asian government in relation to an oil & gas production sharing dispute.
- Co-Arbitrator in a LCIA international arbitration concerning a mining dispute in Mongolia.
- Chairman in an ICC international arbitration concerning the construction of a cement plant in Qatar.
- Sole Arbitrator in a SIAC international arbitration involving Korean and East Asian interests concerning an acquisition dispute.
- Chairman in a number of ad hoc international arbitrations concerning military & defence procurement contracts in a South Asian state.
- Chairman in various arbitrations (ad hoc and institutional) in Asia in respect of share subscription disputes.
- Chairman in an ICC arbitration concerning the construction of a business development complex in South Asia.
- Chairman in a HKIAC international arbitration concerning a joint venture dispute in China involving Chinese parties.
- Chairman in two LCIA international arbitrations concerning an oil rig dispute in Papua New Guinea.
- Chairman in an ICC international arbitration concerning a pharmaceutical-related dispute.
- Sole Arbitrator in a KLRCA international arbitration concerning the construction of a commercial complex in Malaysia.
- Sole Arbitrator in a SIAC international arbitration concerning a share subscription dispute in Thailand.
- Chairman in an ICC international arbitration concerning the procurement of frequency for the operation of a mobile phone network in a South Asian State.
- Chairman in an ad hoc international arbitration under UNCITRAL arbitration rules concerning a software development & operation dispute.
- Co-arbitrator in a SIAC international arbitration concerning the construction of a major container terminal in South-Asia.
- Co-arbitrator in a SCMA international arbitration concerning the construction of six multi-purpose platform supply vessels.
- Chairman in a HKIAC international arbitration concerning a shipbuilding dispute in China.
- Chairman in an ICDR international arbitration concerning an agency agreement in respect of electronic products in Taiwan.
- Chairman in an ICDR international arbitration concerning a construction contract in Korea.
- Co-Arbitrator in a SIAC international arbitration involving European and Thai parties concerning the supply of coal.
- Chairman in an ICC international arbitration concerning an infrastructure development dispute in Vietnam.
- Chairman in a HKIAC international arbitration concerning the construction of a gas synthesis plant in the PRC.
- Co-Arbitrator in a LCIA international arbitration concerning a gas production sharing dispute in Ecuador.
- Co-arbitrator in an ICC international arbitration concerning a mining investment dispute in Indonesia.
- Chairman in an ICC international arbitration involving Korean and South Asian parties concerning an infrastructure construction project.
- Mediator in a SMIC Mediation concerning a construction/engineering dispute in Myanmar.
- Mediator in a shareholder dispute between Singapore parties.
- Mediator in a construction dispute between a U.S. party, Middle East and Asian party.
- Mediator in an ICDR dispute between an Asian party and a US party in respect of an oil & gas dispute.
- Mediator in an ICDR dispute between a European party and an Asian party concerning an alleged breach of contract in respect of a software agreement.
Christopher’s other appointments include:
- Member ICC International Court of Arbitration
- Member of the LCIA Court
- Member of the International Arbitration Committee of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board
- Member ICC Commission on Arbitration
- Member Drafting Group updating ICC’s Report on Construction Industry Arbitrations
- Member of the ICC Task Force on Decisions as to Costs
- Member of the ICC Task Force on Maximizing Probative Value of Witness Evidence
- Advisory Board Member IBA Asia Pacific Regional Forum
- Member IBA Mediation Committee
- Member Task Force on IBA Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration
- Member Working Group IBA Rules on Investor-State Mediation
- Member of the Board of Advisors of the New York International Arbitration Center
- Member Council of the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration
- Fellow Singapore Academy of Law
- Independent, non-executive director of the Board of Directors of Wing Tai Holdings Ltd, Chairman of its Audit and Risk Committee and member of its Nominating Committee
- Independent, non-executive director of the Board of Directors of Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd and Chairman of its Risk Management and Audit Committee
- Independent, non-executive director of the Board of Directors of Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd and Chairman of its Risk Management and Audit Committee
- Between 18 May 2004 to 18 April 2013, Independent, non-executive director of the Board of Directors of Neptune Orient Lines Limited, Singapore, Chairman of its Audit Committee and member of its Enterprise Risk Management Committee (ERMC)
- Former Chairman Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Singapore) Limited
- Former Member and former Director Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF)
- Former Member General Committee of the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA)
Christopher is on the Panel of Arbitrators of various arbitral bodies including:
- Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)
- Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA)
- Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)
- Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA)
- Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB)
- Beijing Arbitration Commission (BAC)
- American Arbitration Association (AAA/ICDR)
- South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (SCIA)
- Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC)
Christopher is listed in Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration 2017, Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration 2016, Who’s Who Legal: Construction Lawyers 2017 and Who’s Who Legal: Mediation 2016.
Chambers & Partners (Re: Asia-Pacific Region, Arbitration (International): Most In Demand Arbitrators (Band 1)) states:
“Christopher Lau SC is based in Singapore and is respected as a "pure arbitrator with a good pedigree" who "gives parties time to develop their cases and takes time to understand their arguments." In practice for more than 35 years, and on the panels of numerous regional arbitration tribunals, he is especially familiar with bilateral investment treaty issues and commercial disputes in several business sectors, including construction, energy, insurance and shipping.”
Chambers & Partners (Re: Dispute Resolution: Most in Demand Arbitrators - Singapore (Band 1)) states:
“Christopher Lau SC is a highly sought-after arbitrator with considerable expertise in handling maritime, construction and commercial disputes. A source commented: "He is excellent, really commercial. He turns things around promptly and is extremely amiable." He has a deep knowledge of the arbitration regimes of a variety of jurisdictions across Asia as well as in Europe and the USA.”
Christopher has contributed to various books and articles on arbitration. His representative publications include:
- Equality of Arms in International Arbitration: Do Rules and Guidelines Level the Playing Field and Properly Regulate Conduct? – An Arbitrator’s Perspective ICCA Mauritius (2016)
- Obstacles and Opportunities - Whither Summary Dispositions? Festschrift Neil Kaplan (2012)
- Opportunities in multiparty maritime arbitration in ANZ Maritime Law Journal (2011)
- Arbitration in Asia? Yes – but Where?, Int’l Law Practicum Vol. 23 No. 1 (2010)
- Party Autonomy - The Turning Point, Dispute Resolution Int’l, Vol. 4 No. 1 (2010)
- The Asian Perspective on Advocacy Chapter in Doak Bishop’s The Art of Advocacy in International Arbitration (2nd ed., 2010)
Christopher has recently spoken at, amongst others, the following events:
- IPBA’s 27th Annual Meeting and Conference – 7 April 2017, Auckland on “Impact of Ethical Standards on International Arbitration”
- KCAB-DIS joint conference – 4 April 2017, Seoul on “Enforcement of Arbitral Awards in Germany, Korea and from an international perspective”
- NUS-USPC – 9 December 2016, Singapore on “The support of State institutions for arbitration in France and Singapore”
- DIS40 Arbitration Seminar – 29 November 2016, Hamburg on “The Impact of Culture on the International Arbitral Process”
- ICC-KLRCA International Arbitration Conference – 10 October 2016, Kuala Lumpur on “Transparency in Arbitration: A bird’s eye view”
- 2nd ICC Asia Conference – 28 to 30 June 2016, Hong Kong at ICC’s Institute Advanced Level Training: The conduct of the proceedings and case management – the arbitrator’s perspective on “How to conduct hearings”
- 2nd Annual GAR Live – 26 May 2016, Singapore on “India – where are we now?”
- MOJ-KCAB-DIAC-SIDRC conference on “Trends and Practices in Construction Dispute Resolution” – 12 May 2016, Dubai on “Emergency Arbitration and Interim Measures”;
- 2016 ICCA Mauritius Congress – 10 May 2016 on “Equality of Arms in Intl Arb: Do Rules & Guidelines Level the Playing Field & Properly Regulate Conduct?”