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Davinder Singh, SC

Executive Chairman
Drew & Napier LLC

Davinder is the Executive Chairman of Drew & Napier LLC. He graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1982 and joined the Litigation Department of Drew & Napier thereafter.

He was in the first batch of Senior Counsel appointed in Singapore. He was the Chief Executive Officer of Drew & Napier from 1997 to 2017.

Davinder has litigated cases in almost every area of the law, including landmark cases. He is widely considered as Singapore's most revered advocate and counsel of choice, recognised time and time again as a top litigator and arbitration counsel by various local and international legal publications. He has an active international arbitration practice involving complex commercial disputes, international clients and multiple jurisdictions. He has advised and/or acted in numerous institutional and ad hoc arbitrations.

In 2014, Davinder received the prestigious “Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession” award from Chambers & Partners. This award was given to only two individuals in 2014 for their exceptional achievements and significant impact on their market, across the region and internationally. Davinder was the only Singaporean to receive the award that year.

Davinder has also been ranked by Chambers & Partners as the only “Star Individual” in Dispute Resolution (Singapore), a category above Band 1, from 2011 to 2018.

Davinder was named “Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year” by Asian Legal Business, as part of its SE Asia Law Awards 2018.

At the inaugural The Asian Lawyer Emerging Markets Awards 2014, Davinder was named “Disputes Lawyer of the Year” for Southeast Asia and India. The publication described him as one “who is feared in Singapore as the city’s most powerful litigator”. He also led the team which won the Cross-border Dispute/Litigation of the Year award for its successful prosecution of one of the largest corruption cases in Brunei Darussalam.

Davinder clinched the “Disputes Star of the Year – Singapore” award at the inaugural Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2015.

He was the only litigator in Singapore to be named as External Counsel of the Year by Asian-MENA Counsel in 2012 and 2013.

Experience

Davinder has been a commercial lawyer and advocate for over three decades. He has handled many high-profile and complex matters. Recent cases include:

  1. Madhavan Peter v PP and other appeals [2012] SGHC 153 – Successfully defended an independent director of a Singapore-listed company, Airocean Group Limited, against alleged offences under section 199, read with section 331, of the Securities and Futures Act, based on charges of alleged market manipulation, and making of alleged false and misleading statements in a public announcement.
     
  2. Soon Kok Tiang & others v DBS Bank Ltd [2012] 1 SLR 397 – Successfully acted for a bank in defending a claim involving 21 investors representing 192 other plaintiffs for the refund of capital losses arising from investments in derivative credit-linked notes.
     
  3. Yeap Wai Kong v Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Ltd [2012] SGHC 103 – Successfully acted for the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Ltd in a case involving an application for judicial review of a public reprimand of a director of a Singapore-listed company, China Sky Fibre Chemical Ltd.
     
  4. Cap (Rtd) Hjh Huraizah Bte Hj Duraman v YB Pehin Datu Singa Menteri, Col (Rtd) Mohd Yasmin bin Hj Umar & ors (Judgment dated 29 November 2011, Court of Appeal of Brunei Darussalam, Civil Appeal No. 17 of 2011) – Successfully defended the former deputy Defence Minister, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Commander of the Royal Brunei Air Forces in a claim against them by a former officer of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces in the Court of Appeal of Brunei. The case raised interesting and novel constitutional issues. 
     
  5. Review Publishing Co Ltd & anor v Lee Hsien Loong & anor [2010] 1 SLR(R) 52 – Successfully acted in defamation actions concerning articles published by an international publication. The defendants printed apologies for the articles and paid damages and costs to the plaintiffs. 

Accolades

The Asia Pacific Legal 500
Dispute Resolution 2018– Leading individual for 17 consecutive years
International Arbitration 2018 – Leading individual for 6 consecutive years

“Regarded as the ‘number one in Singapore’ and praised for his ‘standout persuasive and advocacy skills’”

“Unparalleled litigator.”

“Wise and perceptive.”

"Simply one of the best."

"Esteemed practitioner."

Chambers Asia-Pacific and Global
‘Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession’ Award 2014
Dispute Resolution: Litigation: Domestic Firms 2018 – Standalone in Band 'Star Individual' for the 8th year
Dispute Resolution: Arbitration: Domestic Firms 2018 – Band 1 for 5 years running
Dispute Resolution: Arbitration: Singapore - Foreign Expert (Brunei) 2018 – debut
Brunei: General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) 2018 - debut

"bona fide star performer" who is "in a class of his own" 

‘praised for his ability to interpret his opponents' actions with "uncanny accuracy”.’

"He is very quick on his feet and is able to grasp the details of the case quickly."

“very effective litigator” who “consistently gives very good results.”

“regarded by market sources as an "exceedingly good counsel" who is described as "a formidable adversary" by one opponent.”

“Hailed as a practitioner who ‘needs no introduction.’

"he always puts the client as paramount, he'll always be the one to respond and he's very respectful."

"very prominent and able senior counsel.”

"[I have] always gone with Davinder Singh for the big cases."

“[A] formidable advocate who is widely acknowledged as ‘the best litigator in Singapore.’”

“Peers and clients are equally impressed. One source praised that ‘he is very thorough, works very hard and is a stupendous guy – very smart and charismatic, which is important in litigation.’

“Widely acknowledged by market sources as a ‘very impressive’ dispute resolution specialist who readily adapts his skills as a star litigator to an arbitration context.”

“Clients described him as ‘strongly supportive both at the start and throughout the arbitration process.’”

"The ‘Davinder factor’ puts this practice in a different league. [He] is prized for his ‘unique ability to grasp issues, including those which are not legally related, and to cross-examine with authority’."

“Rated as being ‘at the top of the profession in Singapore for his ability and involvement and for the range, complexity and volume of the arbitration work that he does.’”

 “Multiple sources endorse [his] stellar dispute resolution practice, taking the view that ‘there is just no comparison.’ Clients especially praise his ‘unique ability’ to cross-examine and to anticipate a judge’s questions.”

“[He] is singled out by commentators for his ‘fantastic advocacy.’ Peers endorse his skill in both arbitration and litigation, enthusing that ‘he’s a consummate disputes lawyer – it’s almost as if he was purpose-built for this sort of work.’”

“A doyen of the Singapore disputes resolution sphere. Interviewees say ‘he has a fantastic reputation…working with him is an experience, the guy is incredible’.”

“A formidable advocate with a long-standing and excellent reputation in the market.”

“A standout figure in arbitration as well as litigation, widely regarded as 'an exceptionally good lawyer – always top of the tree.’"

"Sources laud his 'razor-sharp mind and ability to grasp concepts that are beyond most lawyers.'"

"[His advocacy] is smooth as silk – he's a pleasure to listen to and has the substance to back it up." 

“Very well known for his arbitration prowess and impressive advocacy skills.”

"So quick on his feet during cross-examination, breaking down even the most elusive of witnesses, and equally quick at reading the judge's sentiments."

“[A] cut above the rest and the best in the business.”

“[G]old standard”, “one of the best-known names for disputes work in Singapore” and “the reason that we will keep going to the firm.”

Who’s Who Legal

Identified as Thought Leader: Global Elite – Litigation (2019 edition)
Identified as Thought Leader – Litigation (2018 edition)
Identified as Thought Leader – Arbitration (2018 edition)
Identified as Thought Leader – Restructuring & Insolvency (2018 edition)
Arbitration 2018 – Leading lawyer for 5 consecutive years
Investigations 2018 – Leading lawyer for 4 consecutive years
Asset Recovery 2018 - Leading lawyer for 4 consecutive years
Litigation 2018 – Leading lawyer for 12 consecutive years
Restructuring & Insolvency 2018 – Leading lawyer for 5 consecutive years 

Asian Legal Business Southeast Asia Law Awards 2018
Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year

Asialaw Profiles
Dispute Resolution 2018 – Leading individual

Commended by a client for “his command of advocacy, his memory and understanding of the intricacies of the dispute and his ability to provide sound and straight to the point advice”

“He is the best litigator in Singapore”

“Davinder is the best in Singapore. He is the star.”

Asialaw Leading Lawyers
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 2018 – Market Leading Lawyer for 3 consecutive years 

Best Lawyers International: Singapore (2019 edition)
Lawyer of the Year: Arbitration & Mediation - Endorsed individual for 2 consecutive years
Bet-the-Company Litigation – Endorsed individual for 11 consecutive years
International Arbitration – Endorsed individual for 2 consecutive years
Litigation – Endorsed individual for 11 consecutive years
Arbitration and Mediation – Endorsed individual

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

“He’s a counsel without peer.”

“Davinder’s absolutely the best—no question.”

World IP Review 2016
Identified as a leading practitioner in IP

Asia IP Experts 2016
Leading individual in IP Litigation

Asialaw APAC Dispute Resolution Awards 2015
Disputes Star of the Year – Singapore

The Asian Lawyer Emerging Markets Awards 2014
Disputes Lawyer of the Year 2014 - Winner

“Feared in Singapore as the city’s most powerful litigator”

India Business Law Journal
In the India Business Law Journal, June 2014, a leading lawyer from India described Davinder as “the most respected lawyer in Singapore”.

Singapore Tatler 300 list
Featured in the Tatler 300 list for 7 consecutive years (2011 to 2017). The list highlights Singapore’s newsmakers, power players and top influencers as well as champions of business, connectors and change makers.

Asian-MENA Counsel 2012 and 2013
The only litigator in Singapore named for two consecutive years as External Counsel of the Year based on votes and testimonials of in-house counsel in eleven jurisdictions who took part in an Asian-MENA counsel survey representing the Corporate Asia & Middle East in-house community.

Appointments/Memberships

  • Chairman, Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) Board of Directors
  • Vice-Chairman, ICC Commission on Corporate Responsibility & Anti-corruption
  • Conferred the Order of Dato' Setia Negara Brunei (D.S.N.B.) by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, which carries the title Dato' Setia
  • Member, SIAC Panel of Arbitrators
  • Member, Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) Senate
  • Recommended International Arbitrator, Pacific International Arbitration Centre (PIAC), Vietnam
  • Member, Advisory Board of Best Lawyers

Directorships

  • Director, Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC)
  • Director, Delfi Limited
  • Director, PSA International Pte Ltd