Memberships / Associations / Volunteer Work
- Member, Law Society of Singapore
- Member, Singapore Academy of Law
- Associate Mediator, Singapore Mediation Centre
- Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS), volunteer lawyer
- Member, Inquiry Panel of the Law Society
Education / Qualifications
- 2015 – M.A., Theology, Augustine Institute, summa cum laude
- 2006 - Advocate & Solicitor, Singapore
- 2005 - LLB (Hons), National University of Singapore
- Tel: (65) 6222 5562
- Fax: (65) 6222 5561
- [email protected]
Dominic is Head of Litigation, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution
Dominic has a unique ability to combine conviction and clarity to be an extremely effective litigation lawyer in the field of litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution. With more than 17 years of experience, he has developed a broad-based practice in commercial litigation in Singapore as well as international commercial litigation and arbitration. He was with the Commercial Litigation department of Rajah & Tann LLP, where he had spent six years working with and assisting experienced counsel including Senior Counsel, before joining the Characterist team in 2011.
He was included in Singapore Business Review’s “Singapore’s 40 most influential lawyers aged 40 and under in 2015“, and recognised by Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific as “Future Star” in the field of Commercial and Transactions.
Dominic appears regularly as lead counsel in the High Court, and has argued several cases as lead counsel at the Court of Appeal. He has successfully argued a number of cases and appeals involving novel issues.
He has been described by clients as “very sharp”, “knowledgeable”, with the ability to “analyse the facts critically and present all possible options available”, and to “anticipate the most likely outcome on critical and specific issues”. He has also been described by clients as “meticulous“ and dedicated, very “diligent and thorough“, possessing “conviction” and “clarity”, and being “persuasive in Court”. One client described him as “Extremely effective and knowledgeable. Experienced”, while another described him as having “beyond excellent communication and analytical skills” (Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific).
Dominic is an Associate Mediator with the Singapore Mediation Centre, and he is also a member of the Inquiry Panel of the Law Society.
Outside of work, Dominic is married with kids, and he enjoys spending time with his family. He is active in Church, and plays the acoustic guitar, bass, percussions, and is also a worship leader, writer and speaker. While juggling work and family, Dominic pursued further studies, and received his Master of Arts degree in Theology from the Augustine Institute in December 2015, graduating summa cum laude.
Dominic’s experience includes:
International Commercial Litigation and Arbitration
- Solvadis Commodity Chemicals GmbH v Affert Resources Pte Ltd  SGHC 217;  1 SLR 174 (High Court): Successfully obtained, as lead counsel, a worldwide Mareva Injunction in aid of foreign arbitration proceedings. The Defendant’s discharge application was successfully resisted before the High Court and the Court of Appeal. This appears to be the first reported decision in Singapore where Section 12A of the International Arbitration Act was applied to grant a worldwide Mareva injunction in aid of foreign arbitration proceedings.
- Recovery Vehicle 1 Pte Ltd v Industries Chimiques Du Senegal  SGHC 289 (High Court);  SGCA 107 (Court of Appeal): Acted as lead counsel for the Plaintiff in a cross-border dispute involving complex issues of inter alia leave to serve out of jurisdiction, place of payment, governing law, appropriate forum, stay of proceedings, and the Foreign Limitation Periods Act.
- Acting as lead counsel for a large German company to enforce an ICC arbitration award for over US$7 million in Singapore.
- Acting as lead counsel for the claimant in an SIAC arbitration for the recovery of monies due under an unauthorized settlement. English law applies.
- Acted as lead counsel in proceedings relating to the enforcement of an LCIA arbitration award for around €100 million.
- Acted as lead counsel for a Malaysian company in an SIAC arbitration involving claims of overpayment under a long-term distribution agreement.
- Represented a divorced widow and certain beneficiaries in a dispute against the executrix of the estate of her late husband involving allegations of breach of trust and the division and tracing of assets across numerous jurisdictions and assets valued in the region of more than US$50 million. Successfully obtained a cross-Mareva Injunction against the executrix. This case, which also dealt substantially with Indonesian law, raised several novel and complex issues of conflict of laws and has spawned various decisions which contain important pronouncements in the area of conflict of laws.
- Murakami Takako (executrix of the estate of Takashi Murakami Suroso, deceased) v Wiryadi Louise Maria and Others  1 SLR(R) 1119 (High Court);  4 SLR(R) 565 (Court of Appeal);
- Murakami Takako (executrix of the estate of Takashi Murakami Suroso, deceased) v Wiryadi Louise Maria and Others  3 SLR(R) 198 (High Court);  1 SLR(R) 508 (Court of Appeal).
- Advised a large Indian conglomerate on potential grounds to set aside an SIAC award which involved the sale and purchase of shares for a total consideration of over US$1 billion.
- Advised a large foreign bank in relation to the enforcement and recognition of a foreign non-monetary judgment for approximately US$9.2 million, including the foreign limitation period and its extension, multiplicity of proceedings, appropriate forum, and res judicata.
- Advised a listed company in relation to the recovery of trade receivables of more than US$11 million against various parties located in several jurisdictions based on fraud, conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty and/or negligence.
- Advised and acted for various parties affected by the sudden collapse and corporate insolvency of one of the world’s largest traders of bunker oil, OW Bunker.
Commercial Litigation (Singapore)
Company, Contract, Banking and Securities, Insolvency, Fraud
- Solvadis Commodity Chemicals Gmbh v Affert Resources Pte Ltd in HC/CWU 17/2017 (High Court): Acted as lead counsel for the Plaintiff, an independent substantial creditor, and successfully obtained an order to convert a creditors’ voluntary winding up into a court-ordered winding up. The Court held that there was a need for an independent inquiry of the Defendant company (which had uncollected receivables of around US$31 million), and substituted the provisional liquidators / liquidators in the creditors’ voluntary winding up with the Plaintiff’s nominated liquidators, so that the inquiry will also be seen to be independent.
- Solvadis Commodity Chemicals Gmbh v Affert Resources Pte Ltd  SGHC 210 (High Court). Acted as lead counsel for the independent creditor. The Court approved a liquidator’s assignment of the causes of action of a company undergoing liquidation to a third-party litigation funder. The Court accepted the independent creditor’s submission that a counterclaim is merely a procedure to allow an action by way of cross-demand to be brought in the same proceedings, and therefore, the assignment will not expose the company to counterclaims.
- Acted as lead counsel and successfully defended an individual against a claim for purported legal fees of around S$2 million. This is now Singapore’s leading case that establishes a statutory defence under the Legal Profession Act against a claim for fees for unauthorised legal services or advice ( SGHC 154), which was affirmed by the Appellate Division ( SGHC(A) 5).
- Grande Corp Pte Ltd v Cubix International Pte Ltd  SGHC 13 (High Court): Acted as lead counsel for the Plaintiff (joint venture partner) and successfully obtained a court order to strike out the defences of the 3rd and 4th Defendants on the basis that they had committed intentional, contumelious and inexcusable breaches of an Unless Order, as well as inexcusable breaches of their discovery obligations. Judgment was entered for the Plaintiff against them, with damages to be assessed, as well as costs. The case also involved allegations of fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy, breach of fiduciary and directors’ duties, breach of trust, dishonest assistance, and the lifting of the corporate veil.
- Grande Corp Pte Ltd v Cubix Group Pte Ltd and others  SGHC 146 (High Court); Toh Wee Ping Benjamin and another v Grande Corp Pte Ltd  2 SLR 208 (Court of Appeal): Acted as lead counsel for the Plaintiff in assessment of damages proceedings, and successfully obtained judgment for loans given pursuant to fraudulent misrepresentations, as pleaded. The Court of Appeal made important clarifications on the applicable principles pertaining to the types of averments which are deemed to be admitted when a defence is struck out, and the remedies or reliefs which may be granted.
- Ling Mang Khong Stanley v Teo Chee Siong and others (Yeo Boon Hwa, third party)  SGHC 58 (High Court): Successfully acted as lead counsel for the key witness in a High Court Suit and struck out third party proceedings brought by the defendants against the key witness while the Suit was still ongoing.
- Acted as lead counsel and successfully obtained judgment for two individual investors who were defrauded in a high profile and widely reported Ponzi scheme involving a total of S$60 million.
- Acted as lead counsel for a formerly SGX-listed Chinese company in an application to the High Court for pre-action discovery in support of a potential claim against auditors for alleged negligence in failing to detect financial fraud in overseas subsidiaries of that company.
- Acted as lead counsel for a company in a High Court Suit against its former director and an assignee to set aside a self-dealing or unauthorized transaction.
- Acted for an investment bank in a High Court Suit against a former customer to recover outstanding amounts in excess of S$22 million due under the customer’s trading accounts. The Suit dealt with issues of the duty of care when force-selling shares held under the trading accounts, as well as market manipulation.
- Sin Yong Contractor Pte Ltd (in liquidation) v United Engineers (Singapore) Pte Ltd  SGHC 43 (High Court): Defended the subsidiary of a listed company in a High Court claim brought by its former sub-contractors (in liquidation) to seek payment for work done in a series of sub-contracts, which gave rise to a High Court decision which clarified the effect of illegality on contracts.
- Tan Hup Yuan Patrick v The Griffin Coal Mining Co Pty Ltd (administrators appointed) and others  4 SLR 221 (High Court): Acted as lead counsel for a judgment debtor in an appeal to set aside a statutory demand for the sum of AUD3 million.
- Acted for an investor of valuable art pieces against a local art gallery / dealer in a trust claim in the High Court for the sale proceeds of these art pieces. Successfully obtained a Mareva Injunction against the art gallery / dealer.
- Ang Bee Yian v Ang Siew Fah  SGHC 178 (High Court): Assisted lead counsel in acting for the successful Plaintiff. This case involved complex issues such as breach of fiduciary duties, trust and constructive trust, and limitation of actions (including resetting the limitation period).
- Saimee bin Jumaat v IPP Financial Advisers Pte Ltd and others  SGHC 159 (High Court): Acted as lead counsel for 1st Defendant.
- Jian Li Investments Holding Pte Ltd and others v HealthSTATS International Pte Ltd  4 SLR 825;  SGHC 38 (High Court): Acted for Plaintiff (as instructing counsel) in an application for leave to commence a statutory derivative action.
Construction and Property Law
- Chan Lung Kien v Chan Shwe Ching  2 SLR 84 (five-judge Court of Appeal): Acted as lead counsel for the Appellant. This decision considered how 2 previous Court of Appeal decisions were to be read (Sivakolunthu and Diaz), and clarified the common law position on severance by unilateral declaration, as well as how the statutory mode of severance is to be applied or implemented.
- Chan Lung Kien v Chan Shwe Ching  SGHC 136 (High Court): Acted as lead counsel for the Plaintiff and obtained a court order to set aside a previous decision of another High Court judge in Chan Shwe Ching v Leong Lai Yee  5 SLR 295 (which had previously departed from Malayan Banking). This forms part of the line of cases holding that a judgment cannot be enforced by way of a WSS on jointly held property (contrary to another line of cases), and it also clarifies when and on whose application a Court can set aside its own ex parte decision.
- iHub Solutions Pte Ltd v Freight Links Express Logisticentre Pte Ltd  SGHC 6 (High Court): Acted as lead counsel for the Plaintiff company (tenant). The Court held that the Defendant landlord (a wholly owned subsidiary of a listed company) had breached an implied term of expeditious renewal and an implied term of quiet enjoyment, by inter alia committing various acts of hindrances against the tenant to pressurise the tenant to agree to a higher rate for the renewal of the commercial tenancy.
- Ng Boo Han & Koo Oi Lian Audrey-Ann v Teo Boon Hiang Edward  SGHC 267 (High Court): Successfully acted as lead counsel for the Appellants in an appeal to the High Court against the decision of the judge below who had substantially dismissed their renovation defects claim against the Respondent. This decision lays down the principles for construing the extent and limitation of a “free-hand rights” clause in a building and construction contract.
- Represented the Ngee Ann Kongsi in a high profile and widely reported property dispute involving the ownership of the Teochew Building at Tank Road.
- Chang Mei Wah Selena and Others v Wiener Robert Lorenz and Others and Other Matters  4 SLR(R) 385 (High Court); Kok Chong Weng and others v Wiener Robert Lorenz and others (Ankerite Pte Ltd, intervener)  2 SLR(R) 709 (Court of Appeal): Successfully acted for the purchasers in a dispute arising from their S$550 million en-bloc acquisition of Gillman Heights, which involved the determination of the novel question whether former HUDC Estates were intended to be covered by the en-bloc legislation regime.
- Successfully acted for certain members of the original sale committee in their appeal against the decision of the Strata Title Board disallowing the S$500 million en-bloc sale of Horizon Towers.
- Siow Doreen and Others v Lo Pui Sang and Others (Horizon Partners Pte Ltd, first intervener, and Reghenzani Claude Augustus, second intervener)  1 SLR(R) 172 (High Court);
- Siow Doreen and Others v Lo Pui Sang and others (Horizon Partners Pte Ltd, first intervener, and Reghenzani Claude Augustus and others, second interveners)  1 SLR(R) 213 (High Court).
- Successfully acted for the majority sellers in the en-bloc sale dispute in relation to Dragon View Park.
- Acted for the main contractor and several sub-contractors to defend a building defects claim in the High Court by the MCST of a condominium.
- Advised and acted for a Christian Church, and successfully resisted an application by the landlord to strike out the Church’s defence on the basis that the tenancy agreement was entered into by the Christian Church as an unincorporated association.
- Successfully acted as lead counsel for the owners of a HDB flat in a High Court Suit to recover possession of the flat from the Defendants.
- The Teneriffe Development Pte Ltd v Alain Mahendran Arul and another  SGDC 107 (District Court): Successfully acted for the developers of a condominium to recover outstanding purchase monies which were withheld by certain purchasers on the basis of alleged defects to their unit.
- Acted as lead counsel for a large timber company in a Security of Payment Act adjudication.
Defamation and Employment
- Acted as lead counsel for a former executive against a large national bank in relation to alleged defamatory statements made by the bank’s representatives to third parties.
- Acted as lead counsel for a local company to defend a libel claim in the High Court by a competitor company in relation to certain allegedly defamatory publicity material.
- Acted for a former Chief Financial Officer to defend a libel claim by her former employers in relation to messages allegedly sent on the internet via MSN.
- Advised, as lead counsel, a large foreign company on restraint of trade issues, including non-solicitation, non-competition, confidentiality, and interim injunctions.
- Acted as lead counsel for a former high-level executive of a large international bank on issues arising from the alleged wrongful termination of employment and loss of substantial bonuses and incentive payments.
Administrative and Public Law
- Represented (as lead counsel) a group of unvaccinated individuals in a high-impact public interest constitutional challenge and judicial review of the Vaccine Differentiation Safe Management Measures and Workforce Vaccination Measures that affected the constitutional rights of an estimated 132,000 unvaccinated persons and 48,000 workers.
- Attorney General v Faith Community Baptist Church (CA88/2014; Summons 3016/2014) (Court of Appeal): Successfully acted as lead counsel for Faith Community Baptist Church (“FCBC”) in striking out the Attorney-General’s appeal (for which leave of Court was not sought) against the decision of a High Court judge who granted leave to FCBC to commence judicial review against the decision of the Acting Minister for Manpower (who had decided that FCBC had dismissed their former employee without “sufficient cause”).
- Law Society of Singapore v Nor-ain Bte Abu Bakar and Others  SGDSC 9;  1 SLR(R) 753: Assisted in the prosecution, on behalf of the Law Society of Singapore against certain lawyers who had fraudulently caused the Supreme Court to wrongfully pay out about S$4.3 million in respect of the administration and distribution of a Muslim estate which was embroiled in a series of competing claims.
- Acted as lead counsel for a TCM practitioner in an inquiry hearing before the investigation committee.
Insurance, Personal Injury and Criminal Law
- Stephanie Tang Swan Leen and ors v Tan Su San (the personal representative of the deceased Tan Seng Huat)  SGDC 218 (District Court): Acted as lead counsel for the Plaintiffs and successfully established liability against the Defendant driver who suffered a stroke before colliding into the Plaintiffs. The Court adopted a 2015 English Court of Appeal’s objective test requiring “total loss of control”. This is the first Singapore decision on the applicable legal standard to establish a defence of automatism under tort law.
- Boey Chun Hian (by his guardian and next friend, Boey Ghim Huat) v Singapore Sports Council (Neo Meng Yong, third party)  SGHCR 15 (High Court): Acted for the father of the victim in a near-drowning case against the Singapore Sports Council (“SSC”) and their lifeguards in a High Court Suit. Successfully obtained, as lead counsel, a Court Order for the production of the Committee of Inquiry Report (“COI Report”) on the incident. This is the first reported decision in Singapore where the dominant purpose test was applied to determine (and limit) the scope of legal advice privilege (which was raised to resist production).
- Advised and acted as lead counsel for an insurance company on substantive and procedural matters relating to widespread motor insurance fraud, including obtaining novel Court Order(s) to join the insurers as defendants, to set aside default judgments against the former insured, and to raise fraud as a defence (despite the insurers having repudiated liability), as well as to adjourn suspected fraudulent cases sine die pending the completion of police investigations.
- Acted for various accused persons charged with offences relating to the Misuse of Drugs Act (trafficking, possession and consumption), illegal moneylending, rioting, unlawful assembly, cheating, theft, voluntarily causing hurt, rash and public nuisance acts, negligent driving causing hurt, as well as breach of probation orders.
Publications / Books
- “What is Right and What is a Right?: The Claim to Same-Sex Marriage, the Politicization of Rights and the Morality of Law” (2004) 24 Sing LR 93-137
- “Oral Sex – A Case of Criminality or Morality?”, Singapore Law Gazette (September 2004)
- “Extent and Limitation of a ‘Free-Hand Rights’ Clause in Building and Construction Contracts where there are Defects: Ng Boo Han & Koo Oi Lian Audrey-Ann v Teo Boon Hiang Edward  SGHC 267” Singapore Law Blog (29 January 2015), online: http://www.singaporelawblog.sg/blog/article/81
- “Motherless or Fatherless by Design: Child’s Welfare as the First and Paramount Consideration & the Case against Surrogacy & ART”, Singapore Journal of Legal Studies  291-331
- Dominic blogs on various aspects of Singapore law at www.singaporelitigationlawyer.com (“To Sue or Not to Sue: Demystifying Litigation in Singapore”).
In our business, compliance, regulations and trust are paramount. With Characterist LLC, we have found a perfect partner to strengthen our fundamental values. Our experience with the professional team at Characterist LLC is more than a Client-Vendor relationship. The team, especially Daniel Goh, Adrian Wee, Bernard Tan and Dominic Chan, have been excellent. We always feel extremely comfortable to approach them in any situation without hesitation. They will assess every situation painstakingly, over and above their professional capacity. Our problem is their problem! We used to think of legal matters as a costly expense. But with Characterist LLC, their undivided attention, dedication and professionalism put you at complete ease. Probably the most assured feeling I get as CEO of my firm is that whenever we face a difficult situation, my staff's response instead of being stressed out is the quiet confidence - "we will speak to Characterist". I am confident that Characterist LLC will continue to be our legal advisers and valued partner for a long time!
Tay Huai Eng, CEO of IPP Financial Advisers Pte Ltd
Dominic and his team went above and beyond and exceeded all of my expectations in every way. Dealing internationally, he made a positive impact on my case as the knowledge he used along with the professionalism was instrumental. Being on different international time zone he worked on hours that were not expected and always did so with positivity and service. He uses common sense as well as legal knowledge equally and his work was very thorough in everything he did. He treated our case as if it was his own with passion and conviction and approaches the toughest problems with only solutions. I am very grateful that I found Dominic and the Characterist firm and could not recommend anyone as highly as I do with him.
Benjamin M. Sturner, Founder & CEO, Leverage Agency
Despite taking over the case from our previous lawyers in short notice of just two days to our [deadline] for our appeal, you were able to grasp the difficulties and intricacies we faced… We took courage and confidence from your conviction and zeal as you put forth our case in the High Court… We felt that [Dominic] put his whole heart and soul in representing us in our litigation. That inspired hope for us in what seemed like an unsurmountable obstacle… Our vindication is a testimonial of your capabilities, experience and dedication to do the utmost for your clients.
Ng Boo Han and Audrey Koo
[Dominic] would analyse the facts critically and present all possible options available… He would anticipate the most likely outcome on critical and specific issues. He is very resourceful, knowledgeable and meticulous in presenting his case. Most of all, he is very sharp. I would not hesitate to recommend him for any legal proceeding for the future.
Boey Ghim Huat
Dominic is a very professional lawyer and advocate with good knowledge and initiative. He believed in me...and went all out for me without giving up. I really appreciate the tremendous hard work and unceasing effort he put into my case, which eventually paid off with an excellent result. Thank you.
Dominic...was persuasive in Court and handled my case very skillfully. He was also humble and kind…
[Dominic is] uncompromising in wanting only the truth so that the Court could make a fair judgement… Singapore needs more lawyers like you to safeguard the integrity of its core institutions… The end result (judgement) has borne the fruits of the root of truth. David has prevailed over Goliath.
Koh San Joo, Managing Director of iHub Solutions Pte Ltd
- CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE AGAINST VDS AND WVM (HC/OS 156/2022) – LOCUS STANDI, REAL CONTROVERSY AND PRACTICAL SIGNIFICANCE WHEN MEASURES ARE PARTIALLY DROPPED
- Characterist in the news: Urgent Application for Vacant Possession of the Teochew Building
- Characterist in the news: Driver who had stroke found liable in an accident (The Straits Times, 5 Sep 2018)
- Can a Witness be Sued?