15 April 2021 - Article
Acting as co-lead counsel in landmark High Court appeal (as well as at first instance) which is the first reported contested adoption case where I co-led the team in which we successfully represented a gay man seeking to adopt his own biological child in Singapore who was conceived through surrogacy. The man who is in a long term same sex relationship with his partner of over 10 years and desired to have a child to care for and call his own. The child was conceived via commercial surrogacy procedures in the USA and after birth, returned to Singapore. The reported 105 page judgment is UKM (applicant) v Attorney-General  SGHCF 18.
Successfully representing client as lead counsel in landmark High Court case where client’s appeal against an interim maintenance order was allowed. The case is seminal as it set out guiding principles for what the Court must consider before awarding maintenance. In this case, the Court held that neglect by a party to pay reasonable maintenance must be established before the said party may be ordered to pay interim maintenance and that applications should not be unnecessarily taken out. Reported Judgment in TCT v TCU  SGHCF 3
Acting as lead instructed counsel in the High Court appeal case of UYK v UYJ  SGHCF 9 which was the first reported judgment that the Court had to consider the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the welfare of the child and the implications this would have on the left behind parent’s access to the child as well as the approach taken by the Court for the COVID situation for relocation cases. The case has become a leading precedent for how the Court balances children’s issues with other considerations in the midst of the COVID pandemic and also sets out key principles that a Court must consider in any application for leave to relocate the child to a foreign jurisdiction.
Acting as lead counsel in High Court case where the judge expounded on a seminal Court of Appeal decision (TNL v TNK) that clarified that the ‘structured’ approach in ANJ would not apply to long Single Income marriages. The judge gave helpful guidance on when a marriage may be regarded as a Single Income marriage and the helpfulness of past precedent cases as a guide for division of matrimonial assets. This case has been cited with approval for the legal principles therein by the Court of Appeal. Reported Judgment in UBM v UBN  SGHCF 13
Acting as lead counsel in a High Court appeal which expanded the applicable principles of discovery in family matters pertaining to privately owned companies. Reported judgment in ACW v ACX  SGHC 53. Acting as lead counsel for the same client whose shares in his group of companies valued at over S$40 million constituted over 80% of the pool of matrimonial assets to be divided. A key consideration for the case was how the Court would award an equitable division of the assets given that the client’s shares, which formed the bulk of the assets to be divided, were illiquid. Reported judgment in TYU v TYV  SGHCF 8
Acting as lead counsel for UHNW client with matrimonial assets of over S$200 million in contentious ancillary proceedings that was successfully resolved on a global basis at SMC mediation.
Successfully representing client as lead counsel in urgent application for return of child situated overseas back to Singapore and resisting the defendant husband’s appeal which was dismissed.
Acting as lead counsel in a successful High Court cross appeal case (HCF/ DCA 53/2019) for the mother who was appealing against the lower court’s decision to refuse her request for leave to relocate the children back to their home in UK. The father was appealing against the lower court’s decision to award sole care and control of the children to my client. The lower court’s judgment is reported in UXT v UXU  SGFC 79. On appeal, the High Court allowed the mother’s appeal for leave to relocate the children to UK and dismissed the husband’s appeal against the care and control orders.
Acting as lead counsel for client in ancillary hearings and successfully defending client’s significant expenditure on family expenses from being regarded as dissipation of matrimonial assets. Reported judgment in TMS v TMS  SGFC 40.
Author of the chapters ‘Practice and Procedure in relation to Children’ and ‘Other Applications relating to Children’ in ‘Law and Practice of Family Law in Singapore’, a 2016 publication by Sweet & Maxwell.
Contributing author to ‘The Art of Family Lawyering’, a 2019 Special Edition publication by the Law Society of Singapore.
Intending to relocate your children from Singapore? – What you need to know. -Linkedin 2020
Should I divorce in England or Singapore? – Linkedin 2020
Member, Singapore Academy of Law
Member, Law Society of Singapore
Fellow, International Academy of Family Lawyers.
Accredited Family Mediator (Family Panel) and Associate Mediator, Singapore Mediation Centre
Associate Mediator, Law Society Mediation Scheme
Speaker and Panellist, ‘Court Annexed Mediation’, Family Mediation Symposium 2019 jointly organised by the Family Justice Court and Hague Convention on Private International Law
Panellist, ‘Surrogacy & Family formation’, 4th LGBT Family Law Institute meeting 2019, Melbourne
Moderator, Family Conference 2018, Family Justice: A Therapeutic approach
Speaker, ‘Divorce Process and Procedure’ hosted by Maintenance Support Central – SCWO, 2016
Guest on Radio 938Live (Now CNA938) where Ivan spoke about Maintenance and the need for equality, 2017
Me in a minute
I am forthcoming, sociable and put in my utmost for everything I do, be it at work or play.
I am a seasoned litigator who recognises the intrinsic emotional issues existing in all matrimonial matters as well as the impact that such proceedings may have on clients and the family. Working alongside trusted professionals, I offer tailored incisive legal solutions designed to address each of my client’s concerns on the facts of each case. Each client’s case is special and has lasting consequences on the lives of individuals which require individual attention. It is never just a job.
Clients in family and divorce matters not only rely on their family lawyer for legal advice and guidance but often also for counselling and simple empathy during trying personal times. It is my ethos to provide my clients with the legal advice and representation they deserve with compassion and understanding. As a family lawyer, understanding my clients’ concerns at the outset is key. This understanding enables me to come up with a strategy and roadmap at the outset which presents clients with a clear solution while assuring them I will be with them on their journey every step of the way.
While I do not shy away from litigation where necessary as a means of achieving clients’ objectives and resolving their concerns, I am also an advocate of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation as an alternative mechanism of empowering clients to resolve outstanding issues in a manner that is satisfactory to them. I am often sought out by clients to advise and represent them in mediation, many of these cases involve matrimonial assets of significant value and are amicably resolved.
My career as a family and divorce lawyer started out almost by accident. My pupil master who trained me only did commercial and civil litigation and this was what I thought I’d cut my teeth on. The opportunity to practice family law arose when the family law partner left and I was roped in to run the files for the family law portfolio. I found great joy and satisfaction in assisting clients through challenges and changes during immensely trying periods of their lives which are often emotionally charged. Knowing that my assistance in helping my clients resolve their concerns leaves a lasting impact on their lives and their families is meaningful and is still the driving motivator for my practice. The rest as they say is history and I have never looked back.
I am forthcoming, sociable and put in my utmost for everything I do, be it at work or play. I believe in living life like you love it. On the personal front, my dog, friends and family keep me busy. I enjoy playing golf and travelling as a means of relaxation even if I am not very good at the former. I am perfectly at home nursing drinks with friends or attempting to scale some off beaten trek with company in the name of exercise or having that instagrammable moment.