Head - Infrastructure, Construction & Engineering Practice
Christopher CHUAH heads the Infrastructure, Construction & Engineering Practice and is a Partner in the International Arbitration, China and Myanmar Practices. In January 2018, Christopher was amongst the inaugural batch of select practitioners to be appointed Senior Accredited Specialist in Building and Construction Law by the Singapore Academy of Law.
His main areas of practice encompass both front-end drafting/advice and construction disputes (including FIDIC standards), both litigation and arbitration. He is a leading light in the field of building and construction law and has authored various books on this subject. He is one of the General Editors of the Singapore Construction Adjudication Review.
Christopher has acted as leading counsel in numerous reported landmark cases on construction law including acting for Mer Vue Developments Pte. Ltd., the developers of The Seaview Condominium, in a landmark High Court decision that clarifies the extent and scope of the liability of the developer, main contractor and architect in a claim for building defects. We successfully defended tortious claims made by the Management Corporation Strata Title Plan No. 3322 for alleged defects in the development amounting to approximately S$32 million; Asplenium Land Pte. Ltd., a developer in respect of a residential project, in a landmark Court of Appeal decision on the enforceability of a contractual clause limiting an employer’s right to restrain a call on a performance bond against a main contractor who was terminated. This landmark decision by the Court of Appeal would mean that it is now possible for employers to exclude or limit the grounds for an injunction to fraud only in the case of unconditional bonds; Kimly Construction Pte. Ltd. in a successful claim against the sub-contractor arising from the collapse of a tower crane at the National University of Singapore; a Singapore-listed construction company involved in a payment dispute with the owner of Park Regis Singapore and in proceedings involving an application for injunction to restrain payment of a performance bond; and a developer defending claims for defects in common property, brought by the management corporation of an upmarket condominium in Singapore.
He has also acted for sub-contractors, main contractors and developers in numerous arbitration disputes both domestic and international.
Christopher also has extensive experience in overseas and international projects. He had recently sat as Chairman of a Dispute Adjudication Board to hear disputes in excess of MYR 1 billion arising out of a power plant project in Malaysia and acted for an international contractor in challenging the enforceability of a DAB decision arising out of a geothermal project in the Philippines.
Christopher graduated from the London School of Economics. He is admitted to the English Bar and to the Singapore Bar. Apart from a law degree, Christopher has a Diploma in Surveying (Distinction) from the College of Estate Management, Reading, UK.
Christopher is a legal advisor to the Singapore Contractors Association Limited ("SCAL"), as well as a member of the Committee for International Construction and Building Contracts. He is a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, as well as the Chartered Institute of Building. He has also been appointed to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre's Main Panel of Arbitrators and is also on the Panel of Arbitrators of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA). Christopher is an accredited adjudicator under the Building & Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (Cap 30B), who is part of the first group of such appointments. He is a member of the Construction Adjudicator Accreditation Committee which was formed by the Singapore Mediation Centre to assist with the training and accreditation of adjudicators. He is also a member and a Senior Adjudicator of the Singapore Mediation Centre Professional Conduct Panel.
Christopher co-authored the Contract Administration Guide to the REDAS Design and Build Conditions of Contract published by LexisNexis in 2012. He also led the authorship effort behind the Annotated Guide to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2004 and Annotated Guide to the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act 2004 published by Sweet & Maxwell, and drafted the standard form domestic sub-contract and supply of goods published by SCAL.
He is the co-author of the Contractor's Working Manual on Public Sector Standard Conditions of Contract for Construction Works, published by SCAL, as well as the Public Sector Standard Conditions of Contract for Design and Build – A Commentary and Standard Form of Sub-Contracts – An Annotation published by LexisNexis. He also drafted the Conditions of Appointment for Consultants in Design and Build Projects published by SCAL. Christopher is an Adjunct Associate Professor in construction law at the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore.
Named an "External Counsel of the Year" in Singapore, as part of Asian-Mena Counsel’s annual Representing Corporate Asia and Middle East Survey 2013, Christopher is singled out for his "expertise in construction disputes". Christopher has also received numerous other accolades including being recognised as a leading lawyer in China and Singapore for the areas of Disputes, Energy & Infrastructure and Project Development in IFLR1000: Energy and Infrastructure 2016. He is also recognised as one of the "Local Disputes Stars" in Singapore in Benchmark Asia-Pacific – The Definitive Guide to the Leading Disputes Firms and Lawyers in the Region since 2013.
Known as a "pre-eminent practitioner" with "deep knowledge of the field", Christopher is recognised as a leading lawyer in Chambers Asia-Pacific – Asia-Pacific's Leading Lawyers for Business. Chambers also describes him as a "heavyweight construction lawyer with a formidable reputation". He "demonstrates impressive expertise advising on both disputes and front-end construction work". He is also distinguished as a leading Arbitration practitioner in the China market and is commended for being "very, very strong" in international arbitrations concerning construction disputes in Chambers Asia-Pacific – Asia-Pacific's Leading Lawyers for Business 2015 and Chambers Global – The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2015. Chambers Global 2014 recognises Christopher as a China expert who is widely regarded as "a top choice for construction arbitration" and has "a very good reputation throughout the industry". He is also identified in Construction and Projects & Energy by The Legal 500: Asia Pacific – The Client's Guide to the Asia Pacific Legal Profession; Expert Guides' Guide to the World's Leading Construction and Real Estate Lawyers since 2001; Who's Who Legal since 2008; and Best Lawyers since 2008. Asialaw Profiles – The Guide to Asia-Pacific's Leading Law Firms 2012 praises Christopher for his "disputes expertise" and a "good person to have on your side" for Construction work and as a "well regarded contact[s]" in the area of Dispute Resolution.
- London School of Economics (LL.B., Hons.)
- College of Estate Management, Reading (Diploma in Surveying, Distinction)
- Lincoln's Inn (Barrister-at-Law)
- Snr. Acc. Spec. (Building & Construction), Singapore Academy of Law
- Singapore Bar
- English Bar
- High Court landmark ruling on construction industry
- Court of Appeal’s Landmark Ruling on Construction Industry
- Global Arbitration Review: The Asia-Pacific Arbitration Review 2018 - Myanmar Chapter
- The Asia-Pacific Arbitration Review 2017 - Myanmar Chapter
- The Asia-Pacific Arbitration Review 2016 - Myanmar Chapter
- Getting the Deal Through - Construction 2014 - Singapore Chapter
- Getting The Deal Through - Construction 2013 - Singapore Chapter
- Getting the Deal Through - Construction 2012 - Singapore Chapter