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  • Nicholas Lum

    Nicholas Lum
    Partner, Shanghai, Singapore

    Maritime, Commodities & trade, Commercial Disputes

    T. +86 21 6157 1212

Nick is an experienced dispute resolution specialist, with particular focus on international trade and commodities, shipping and shipbuilding and general commercial disputes. He divides his time between Shanghai and Singapore, where he heads up the China practice. He combines a deep understanding of the Chinese business environment, his strong international background and language skills to provide his China-based clients with legal advice of the highest quality.

Nick frequently advises and represents clients in international and local arbitrations conducted under various institutional and ad-hoc arbitration rules, including those of the SIAC, HKIAC, LCIA, LMAA, CIETAC, ICC and UNCITRAL. He also has extensive experience in advising on issues relating to the enforcement of Court judgments and arbitral awards in various jurisdictions across Asia and the United Kingdom.   

Having previously worked in the Shanghai office of a global law firm and then heading the China Practice Group of a Singapore-based law firm, Nick combines a deep understanding of the Chinese business environment with his strong international background and language skills to advise China-based clients (comprising state-owned enterprises and large private entities) on all aspects of dispute resolution, including international arbitration and complex cross-border litigation.

Nick is recommended and recognised as a leading lawyer in various legal publications.

Highlight Matters

  • Acted for Ship-Owner against a Chinese Shipyard in a London arbitration to recover payments made under a ship-building contract for a sum in excess of US$60 million. The matter raised novel arguments in relation to the principle of law which allows recovery for a party to a contract tainted with illegality in the event that this party withdraws from the contract before the illegal purpose is achieved. 
  • Acting on behalf of the Hong Kong branch of one of the largest banks in China in the arrest of a vessel for the enforcement of a ship mortgage for an amount in excess of US$14 million. The vessel was subsequently abandoned by the Owners and was sold via a judicial sale in Singapore.  
  • Acting on behalf of a BVI company in an ICC arbitration against a Chinese trading company involving a dispute over the sale and purchase of bauxite. Achieved a favourable award (with the Tribunal ruling in our favour on both the claim amount and costs), with the matter now undergoing recognition and enforcement proceedings against the Chinese company in China.  
  • Acting on behalf of Chinese Ship-Owner in the defence of a misdelivery claim in excess of US$7 million brought before the Singapore High Court by a Singapore-based bank. At the same time, proceedings were commenced in Malaysia before the High Court of Kuala Lumpur on behalf of the Chinese Ship-Owner against a Malaysian trading house based on a letter of indemnity issued by the latter.  
  • Acted for a Chinese company (undergoing bankruptcy administration in China at the material time) in Singapore High Court proceedings where efforts were made to set aside the arrest of a vessel in Singapore. The claim amount put forward by the claimant was in excess of US$7 million. This matter raised an interesting point of law on how the Singapore Court will view the Chinese law position of a company not being allowed to arrest a vessel in a foreign jurisdiction as security as a basis for setting aside the arrest of the vessel. This matter was eventually settled between parties.  
  • Acted for a Singapore-based company against a Hong Kong company in a SIAC arbitration involving a multi-million dollar dispute over a sale and purchase contract for the purchase of iron pellets.  The matter involved various legal issues relating to the wrongful termination of contract, waiver and estoppel and mitigation of damages. We eventually successfully defended the claim, which was rejected in entirety by the Tribunal.     
  • Acting on behalf of a Chinese-based logistics company (part of a large Chinese conglomerate) in a SIAC arbitration against an Indonesian-based trading company involving a multi-million dollar dispute over the sale and purchase of nickel hydroxide. Also, at the same time, coordinating with local Indonesian counsel on commencing local Court proceedings in Indonesia against the parent company of the Indonesian-based trading company based on a letter of guarantee.     
  • Acting on behalf of a large Chinese trading house in an ad-hoc Singapore arbitration to defend a claim brought by a large Korean conglomerate arising from a dispute relating to a sale and purchase agreement for oil products.  

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • The Law Society of Singapore
  • Singapore Academy of Law
  • Maritime Law Association of Singapore
  • Singapore Mediation Centre, Associate Mediator
  • China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Hebei, Foreign Director

Legal Directory Quotes

“Disputes Star in arbitration”  Benchmark Asia-Pacific
"Someone understanding the China market very well”  Legal 500 Asia Pacific
"Leveraging on his many years’ experience of working in China, Nick is deeply familiar with the needs of the China market and remains committed in providing first-rated advice to his clients in China and across the region"client


"I believe in retaining strong relationships with our clients and ensure that we deliver practical commercial advice promptly at all times"

Maritime, Commodities & trade, Commercial Disputes

Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Benchmark Asia-Pacific

Education (University):
National University of Singapore

English, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Fujianese