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Cavinder Bull, SC

Chief Executive Officer
Drew & Napier LLC

Cavinder is the Chief Executive Officer of Drew & Napier. He has an active practice in complex litigation and international arbitration. He is engaged in trial and appellate advocacy at all levels of the Singapore Courts and appears as counsel in international arbitration in various countries. He is also co-head of the Competition Law & Regulatory Practice.

Cavinder graduated with First Class Honours in law from Oxford University in 1992. He was called to the Bar of England & Wales the following year, placing fourth in the Bar examinations. He returned to Singapore and passed the Singapore Bar exams, winning two prizes, including the prize for top candidates.

Cavinder worked for the Chief Justice of Singapore as a Justices' Law Clerk before joining Drew & Napier in 1994 as a litigation associate. In 1995, he was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship and left for Harvard Law School where he received an LL.M. He passed the New York Bar exams and was admitted to practice in New York. Cavinder practiced as a litigation associate with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York until late 1997 when he returned to Singapore and Drew & Napier. He was made a partner of Drew & Napier in 1998 and a Director of the firm in May 2002. He was appointed Senior Counsel by the Chief Justice of Singapore in 2008, one of a handful to have been accorded the honour before the age of 40.

Cavinder is on the Governing Board of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), on the World Bank Sanctions Board, and is a member of the Securities Industries Council. He is Vice-President of the Court of Arbitration of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Vice-President of the Asia Pacific Regional Arbitration Group, Co-Chairman of the Singapore Stock Exchange’s Disciplinary Committee and on the Disciplinary Tribunal of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Experience

Cavinder has handled many high-profile matters. Here are just a few:

  1. First actions for civil penalties under the Securities and Futures Act
    Successfully represented Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, in two actions for breaches of the Securities and Futures Act (SFA). The first action was for market manipulation while the second concerned insider trading. These were the first two civil penalty cases brought by the central bank and was the first time the central bank had instructed external counsel to appear for it in Court. Cavinder was successful in both trials as well as in both the subsequent appeals. The Court of Appeal’s judgments in both cases are considered landmark decisions.
     
  2. Largest trust case in Singapore with disputed assets worth up to US$800 million
    Successfully acted for members of the De La Sala family in the largest trust case ever heard in Singapore, involving disputed assets estimated to be worth between US$600 and US$800 million. The High Court’s judgment was a landmark decision setting out guidance on what constitutes impermissible witness coaching, an issue that arose during the trial pursuant to Cavinder’s cross-examination of several key witnesses.
     
  3. Sharp v Hisense
    Acted as lead counsel for Sharp Corporation in an international arbitration relating to a US$3 billion contractual relationship relating to the sale of Sharp televisions in various territories. The dispute involved emergency arbitrator proceedings and related Court litigation in multiple jurisdictions. This case was reported in Global Arbitration Review and in various media publications in the United States.
     
  4. Billion-dollar Indian Premier League dispute
    Acted for an international sports marketing and media right management group in three separate arbitrations arising from broadcasting and media rights to the Indian Premier League, a major cricket event. The agreements involved in the arbitrations were worth over US$1.2 billion. The dispute also involved multiple legal proceedings in India, USA, UK and in Singapore, and required intensive work with various foreign counsel in those jurisdictions.
     
  5. Investor-State arbitrations
    Cavinder has acted as counsel in investor state arbitrations; and has experience acting for States and investors.  He has also sat as an arbitrator in investor-state arbitrations under the auspices of ICSID and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA); including the following non-confidential cases:

    City-State NV, Praktyka Asset Management Company LLC, Crystal-Invest LLC and Prodiz LLC v Ukraine (ICSID Case No. ARB/14/9): Appointed President of the Tribunal in respect of a claim against Ukraine brought by Dutch entity City-State N.V. and other banking investors under the Netherlands-Ukraine BIT, which concerned the Dutch entity’s deposits in Ukrainian bank PJSC Kreditprombank.

    Rizzani de Eccher SpA, Obrascón Huarte Lain SA and Trevi SpA v State of Kuwait (ICSID Case No. ARB/17/8): Appointed President of the Tribunal in the first ICSID claim against Kuwait brought by an Italian-Spanish consortium under Kuwait’s bilateral treaties with Italy and Spain, which concerned a billion-dollar project to upgrade a major highway in Kuwait.

    Agility Public Warehousing Company KSC v Republic of Iraq (ICSID Case No. ARB/17/7):  Appointed as President of the Tribunal in the first ICSID claim against the Republic of Iraq. The claim relates to an alleged investment in the telecommunications section in Iraq by a Kuwaiti company.

    Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim A.S. v Islamic Republic of Pakistan (ICSID Case No. ARB/13/1): Appointed as a member of the Annulment Committee.

    Dan Cake (Portugal) SA v Hungary (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/9): Appointed President of the Annulment Committee.

Accolades

Asialaw & Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2018
Disputes Star of the Year, Singapore - Cavinder Bull, SC

The Asia Pacific Legal 500
Dispute Resolution 2018 – Leading individual for 10 consecutive years
International Arbitration 2018 – Leading individual for 6 consecutive years

‘fabulous lawyer’, ‘a big name’, a ‘very astute lawyer on strategy and law’, ‘[his] experience is invaluable’ – Legal 500 APAC 2018

‘top tier’, ‘very sharp and analytical’ – Legal 500 APAC 2018

Chambers Global and Asia-Pacific 
Dispute Resolution: Litigation - Singapore 2019 – Band 1 for 9 consecutive years
Dispute Resolution: Arbitration - Singapore 2019 – Band 1 for 7 consecutive years

‘ability to “see the issues quickly and beyond simply locating the legal problem, look at it from the point of providing the solution to the organisation concerned.”’ – Chambers APAC 2019

‘a highly regarded advocate with a strong track record representing investors and sovereign states in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations’ – Chambers APAC 2019

“exceptionally bright and engaging and prepared to tailor advice to our specific needs, rather than simply produce generic opinions." – Chambers APAC 2018

“he is very reassuring and gives great comfort to clients” – Chambers APAC 2018

"very commercial and savvy" – Chambers APAC 2018

"He is a very rare talent in disputes." – Chambers APAC 2017

"excellent presence in court" and "unflappable manner." - Chambers APAC 2017

"World-class" - Chambers APAC and Global 2017

"excellent advocate" who "writes compelling briefs and makes superb oral presentations."  - Chambers APAC and Global 2017

“His clientele is global now and the work he is doing gets bigger and bigger.” – Chambers APAC 2016

"a great guy and a bona fide arbitration lawyer." – Chambers APAC 2016

"very clued in" and "a superb lawyer." – Chambers APAC 2016

"he is an impressive personality, has very good presentational skills and is very convincing" – Chambers Global 2016

[Cavinder] is not only "a great advocate" and "terrific cross-examiner who can really perform in court," but also a litigator who is "very much attuned to commercial considerations." – Chambers APAC 2015

"Even, very reassuring manner" and "brilliant ability to grasp business issues." – Chambers APAC 2015

“Very well known in Singapore as a senior litigator.” – Chambers APAC 2015

“Thorough, smart, responsive and an international arbitration specialist.” – Chambers APAC 2015

“Very calming presence – which is good for you, but can actually unnerve the opposition.” – Chambers APAC 2015

“A terrific cross-examiner who can really perform in court.” – Chambers APAC 2015

"Excellent when it comes to litigation matters: very sharp, very reliable and very reassuring." – Chambers APAC 2014

"He's formidable in arbitration - he really stands out." – Chambers APAC 2014

“[He] enjoys a formidable reputation in Asian arbitration circles and is respected across the region for his skilled handling of sizeable disputes in such areas as infrastructure and media.” – Chambers Global 2014

"He is very polite with the judge but is ruthless when it comes to examining the other side's argument." – Chambers APAC 2014

“Professional operator and a serious player" – Chambers APAC 2013

"Establishing an extremely strong presence in the international arbitration field, and is widely recognised as a very serious operator" – Chambers APAC 2013

The Asian Lawyer Emerging Markets Awards 2015
Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year 2015 - Winner

Global Arbitration Review 10th edition (2017)
The Global Arbitration Review says “Cavinder Bull is the best known name internationally”. A client commented that he is “one of the finest advocates, clear, precise, and extraordinarily well prepared. His knowledge of the record and the law is unsurpassed”.

India Business Law Journal
In the India Business Law Journal (July 2017 issue), Cavinder is recommended as counsel and received praise from a client, who said “I would unhesitatingly recommend Cavinder Bull as counsel. His understanding and assessment of strategic, practical and legal issues is one of the best I have seen. Despite his obviously very heavy schedule, he has been extremely responsive…and has given significant thought and advice and various issues on an urgent basis.”

Who’s Who Legal
Identified as a Thought Leader for Arbitration (2018 edition) for 2 consecutive years
Arbitration 2018 – Recommended lawyer for 6 consecutive years
Litigation 2018 – Recommended lawyer for 11 consecutive years
Telecommunications Media & Technology 2016 – Leading Lawyer
Competition 2014 – Recommended lawyer for 3 consecutive years
Construction 2014 – Recommended lawyer 

Best Lawyers International: Singapore (2019 edition)
Lawyer of the Year: Competition/ Antitrust - Endorsed individual
Bet-the-Company Litigation – Endorsed individual for 2 consecutive years
Litigation - Endorsed individual for 9 consecutive years
International Arbitration – Endorsed individual
Arbitration/Mediation – Endorsed individual for 6 consecutive years
Competition/Antitrust Law – Endorsed individual for 2 consecutive years

Asialaw Leading Lawyers
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 2018 – Market Leading lawyer for 2 consecutive years

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2018 edition
Dispute Resolution Star - Commercial and Transactions, International Arbitration

Asialaw Profiles
Dispute Resolution 2016 – Leading individual

Asia IP Experts 2016
Leading individual in IP Litigation

Judgments: In one case, the High Court expressed its thanks to Cavinder for his assistance in a protracted trial, describing him in the written judgment as a 'persuasive advocate' who 'ably prosecuted a factually complex and somewhat emotively charged case with conspicuous fairness.'

Appointments/Memberships

Directorships

  • Vice-President, Court of Arbitration - Singapore International Arbitration Centre
  • Vice-President, Asia Pacific Regional Arbitration Group
  • Co-Chairman, Singapore Exchange disciplinary committee
  • Member, Governing Board of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA)
  • Member, World Bank Sanctions Board
  • Panel, International Arbitrators of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB)
  • ICSID Panel of Arbitrators
  • Former Deputy Chairman, Board of Directors - Singapore International Arbitration Centre
  • Member, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Disciplinary Tribunal in Monaco
  • Member, Securities Industries Council
  • Advisory Council, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore
  • Member, Law Reform Committee of the Singapore Academy of Law (2000 to 2010)
  • Appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister to the Legal Services Review Committee (2007)
  • Member, Pro-tem Committee of the Institute of Legal Education (2009)
  • Appointed as a Referee under the Industrial Arbitration Act
  • Member, Public and International Law Committee of the Law Society (2009)
  • Member, Singapore Law Committee (India Team leader)
  • Member, Sub-Committee of Remaking Singapore Committee (2002)
  • Delegate, 8th Asia‑Europe Young Leaders' Symposium
  • Member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn
  • Fellow, Singapore Academy of Law
  • Member, Law Society of Singapore
  • Director, Singapore Technologies Electronics Limited (2009-2012)
  • Director, National Healthcare Group (2009-2012)
  • Director, Singapore University of Technology and Design (2009 - 2015)
  • Director, Ascendas Property Fund Trustee Pte Ltd (2010-2013)
  • Director, Agri‑Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (2004-2010)