Smitha MENON is the Head of the firm's Restructuring & Insolvency Practice and a Partner in the International Arbitration, India and Special Situations Advisory Practices.
Her main areas of practice are corporate disputes and restructuring.
Smitha's international and local appointments include being on the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration, the Income Tax Board of Review Panel, the Council of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, the Shanghai Arbitration Commission's Panel of Arbitrators and the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR. She is the Asia Co-Chair of the International Insolvency Institute, Asia Group Leader of the World Law Group’s (WLG) Restructuring & Insolvency Practice Group, an Honorary Member of the board of the Singapore network of the International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) and a Fellow of the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Singapore.
Smitha was the first Chair of the ICC Singapore Arbitration Group and a former Council member of the Singapore Law Society. She was Chairperson of both the Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee and the Singapore Academy of Law Young Members Chapter. She has also served on the Professional Affairs Committee of the Singapore Academy of Law and continues to serve on the Law Society's Inquiry Panel regularly representing the Law Society in disciplinary proceedings. She has been appointed arbitrator on Indian and Nepal law governed arbitrations conducted under the SIAC Rules and ICC Rules.

Matters of significance in which Smitha has been involved in include acting/advising for the following:

  • The Kingdom of Lesotho in an investment treaty arbitration for expropriation of diamond mining leases and in an application to set aside an investment treaty award finding the State liable for denial of justice in relation to its role in the shuttering of the Southern African Development Community Tribunal.
  • The judicial managers of Xihe Holdings, one of the world's largest tanker fleets consisting of over 80 vessels of varying types, on debts and claims in excess of S$1 billion and a potential restructuring and the liquidatorsof the Greatearth Group of companies which were the contractors for multiple construction projects valued in excess of S$800million with key government agencies in Singapore such as the Housing Development Board, National Environmental Agency, Jurong Town Corporation, and Land Transport Authority.
  • The former majority shareholders of ISE-listed pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd in challenging an arbitration award for sums in excess of S$700 million which included the first successful ad hoc admission of Indian Senior Counsel for the purposes of the Singapore court proceedings: Re Harish Salve and another [2018] SGCA 06.
  • Hyflux Ltd in its US$2.3 billion debt restructuring; the ad hoc committee of holders of notes issued by Noble Group Limited on the US$3.5 billion financial restructuring of the Noble Group, EMAS Chiyoda Subsea Limited and its subsidiaries on their cross-border restructuring of debt in excess of S$1 billion, the MEO Group on its financial restructuring of liabilities in excess of S$500 million and the Singapore liquidators of the Wirecard Group.
  • EFG Bank AG, Singapore Branch in the scheme of transfer of the private banking, treasury and wealth management business of BSI Bank Limited to EFG and the liquidation of BSI Bank in Singapore as a result of the revocation by the Monetary Authority of Singapore of its banking license.
  • A joint venture subsidiary of the Accor Group of hotels in an international arbitration against its joint venture partner and also acting for JP Morgan Partners Asia Pte Ltd in a contentious insolvency arising from a US$260 million leveraged buy-out of a technology company, Metalform Asia Pte Ltd, which included arbitration and litigation proceedings before tribunals and courts in Singapore, Mauritius and the Privy Council.

Related Practices

  • India
  • International Arbitration
  • Restructuring & Insolvency
  • Special Situations Advisory
  • Article: Inadequate Handling of Damages in International Arbitration
    Journal: IBA Dispute Resolution International Journal, May 2023
  • Article: Singapore Court of Appeal Propounds Composite Approach to Determine Arbitrability of Disputes, A Tale of Matrimonial Discord Among Shareholders:
    Legal Update CaseWatch March 2023
  • Interview: Voices of Women in the Industry Series:
    Singapore Law Gazette December 2022
  • Article: Managing Internal and External Insolvency: A Checklist for In-House Counsel:
    Singapore Law Watch, 12 August 2022
  • Article: Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act – Key Changes from the Financiers’ Perspective:
    Singapore Law Watch, 2 March 2021
  • Article: Roll Up Rescue Financing in Singapore: Giving old debt senior priority
    Journal: Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, March 2021
  • Article: Out-of-Court Insolvency Relief for Distressed Companies: SID Directors Bulletin published by the Singapore Institute of Directors:
    2021 1st Quarter Report
  • Article: Joinder and Consolidation Provisions under 2021 ICC Arbitration Rules: Enhancing Efficiency and Flexibility for Resolving Complex Disputes:
    Kluwer Arbitration Blog January 2021
  • Article: International Insolvency & Restructuring Report 2020/21
  • Article: Confidentiality in International Arbitration: A Comparative Jurisdictional and Institutional Review (co-authored with Nicholas Lingard)
    Journal: Singapore Arbitration Journal (SIArbJ), May 2020
  • Article: lpso facto protection: As dead as the language and rightfully so?
    Journal: Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, June 2019
  • Article: Super Priority in Rescue Financing—Lifeline or Lasso?
    Journal: Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law
  • Article: Navigating Singapore's restructured restructuring and insolvency framework
    Journal: South Square Digest
  • Article: Singapore: A Restructuring Entrepôt
    Journal: Emerging Markets Restructuring Journal
  • Article: Exploring the issues of bankruptcy (Re Opti-Medix Ltd (in liquidation) and another matter)
    Journal: LexisNexis
  • Article: Indonesia: Arbitrating with Foreign Parties – A Closer Look at Indonesia's Approach to Investor-State Dispute Resolution
    Journal: Asian Dispute Review
  • Article: Singapore High Court affirms that a party may obtain restraint orders ahead of any application for the calling of a creditors' meeting for the purposes of putting a company under a scheme of arrangement
    Journal: Lexology
  • Article: India-Singapore CECA, Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, The Investor's Guide
    Journal: LexisNexis
  • Article: LawNet Asian Insights: Preparing for Company Winding up the role that in-house counsel plays
    Journal: LawNet
  • Article: Practical Guidance Singapore – Dispute Resolution
    Journal: LexisNexis
  • Article: Practical Guidance Commercial Module: Financial Distress, Bankruptcy and Insolvency
    Journal: LexisNexis
  • Singapore Precedents of Pleading
Smitha's expertise in restructuring and insolvency and international arbitration has been recognised in various publications including The Legal 500, Who's Who Legal 2023 (Asset Recovery, Restructuring & Insolvency, Arbitration and Commercial Litigation), Chambers Asia-Pacific – Asia-Pacific's Leading Lawyers for Business, IFLR1000 Women Leaders Guide, asialaw Leading Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific, Euromoney asialaw, Lawyer Monthly – Women in Law, IFLR1000: Financial & Corporate, Best Lawyers and India Business Law Journal's "A-List" of international lawyers specialising in India-related matters (2021 and 2022). She has also been listed in the Global Restructuring Review's 40 under 40 list (2016) of the world's leading restructuring lawyers, Asia Legal Business' 40 under 40 list (2018) and in 2020, she was the only Singapore practitioner below 40 ranked in Who's Who Legal for Restructuring & Insolvency (2020).
Smitha is the first lawyer in Singapore to win the "Woman of the Year in Restructuring (Asia) Award" conferred by the International Women's Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation in 2020. She is also the youngest Singapore Court member and the first female Singapore Court member to be appointed to the ICC International Court of Arbitration.
Chambers Asia-Pacific has highlighted that she is a respected figure in the market and that "clients' interests are superbly advanced by the sheer quality of her advice". Who’s Who Legal describes Smitha as a “great restructuring and insolvency lawyer and a leader of the next generation”. She has been described by clients as “outstanding in all aspects and regarded by many as probably the youngest practitioner who is a heavyweight in the Singapore restructuring and insolvency legal sector”, “a greatly appreciated asset recovery lawyer who excels in cases with a cross-border component”, “a dedicated lawyer, very proactive and passionate to come up with solutions”, "very practical and commercial and also very personable" a "technically very good lawyer" who has "really commercial solutions" and takes "ownership of what needed to be done" as well as being "very articulate and hands-on", "technically very strong", "very responsive" and "very supportive".