Shaun Leong

Partner, Withers KhattarWong*

Withers KhattarWong LLP is a Singapore law practice, affiliated with Withers LLP.

Shaun is a partner in the litigation and arbitration team.

Shaun Leong, FCIArb, is an international arbitration specialist with more than a decade of experience in complex cross border commercial disputes across a myriad of sectors including technology, life sciences, infrastructure and energy sectors. He focuses on developing and employing successful strategies to achieve clients’ objectives in cross jurisdictional disputes.

Upon graduating with First Class Honours from the National University of Singapore, Shaun served in a judicial capacity as a Magistrate and Assistant Registrar of the Supreme Court for five years, where he published several notable written judgments on international arbitration law. The decisions include Firstlink Investments v GT Payment on the applicable law governing an arbitration agreement as endorsed by the English Court of Appeal, and Titan Unity, endorsed by the Singapore Court of Appeal, on the threshold to determine the existence of a valid arbitration agreement. He was the Head of the Court of Appeal Section of the Supreme Court Registry, and was involved in the establishment of the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) as Secretariat of the SICC committee.

Awards and accolades include:

  • International Arbitration Lawyer of the Year nominee (Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2022)
  • A "key lawyer" and "international arbitration specialist" (Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2022)
  • "Provides practical advice" (Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2022)
  • "Shaun is not afraid to pick a side and give his opinion to clients, helping them to decide" (Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2022)
  • Ranked top practice in Arbitration, Mediation & Dispute Resolution (Straits Times’ Best Law Firms 2022)
  • Leading practitioner, “Shaun has a good internal network for cross border matters”, "extremely positive", "very responsive" (AsiaLaw, 2021)
  • Ranked Singapore’s most influential lawyers aged 40 and under (being the youngest international arbitration specialist from an international firm) (Singapore Business Review)

Shaun is a panel arbitrator with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and with premier international arbitration centres across Asia-Pacific including China and India:

  • Alongside luminaries in international arbitration practice, Shaun is appointed on the Panel of Arbitrators with the Center for International Investment and Commercial Arbitration, a key institution to resolve energy, infrastructure, and Belt & Road disputes.
  • Shaun is the first Singaporean to be appointed on the panel of Arbitrators with the Tashkent International Arbitration Centre (TIAC). Sitting in a strategic pivot of the ancient Silk Road as well as the modern Digital Silk Road, the TIAC is a prime centre to resolve cross border Belt & Road disputes, and is also proud to promote the resolution of technology disputes, where the lex arbitri has found disputes involving issues of blockchain, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence to be arbitrable.
  • He is appointed an Arbitrator (仲裁人) on the Panel of BeiHai Asia International Arbitration Centre (北海亚洲国际仲裁中心), with a focus on ASEAN Belt & Road Disputes. The Centre is the first ever International Arbitration Centre in Singapore established by a Chinese commission.
  • Shaun is appointed a Panel Arbitrator of the Thailand Arbitration Centre, a premier international arbitration centre in the ASEAN region.
  • In recognition of his work on international technology disputes, Shaun is also appointed an Arbitrator on the Panel of the Bangalore International Mediation, Arbitration and Conciliation Centre, styled the “Silicon Valley of South Asia”.

Shaun regularly advises and represents clients in technology related disputes, and acts as project manager to coordinate legal issues faced by tech companies:

  • Shaun has an active practice in acting for clients in cryptocurrency and blockchain related disputes, including working with clients to design disputes prevention and disputes mitigation processes prior to the occurrence of any disputes, and to develop and deploy effective cross border strategies when disputes arise relating to cryptocurrencies and/or NFTs, representing clients in international arbitrations including enforcement work across a myriad of jurisdictions, and advising clients on investments in digitals assets.
  • His experience includes representing a prominent cryptocurrency exchange in an SIAC international arbitration in a dispute arising from a joint investment where incentive milestone payments were paid in a digital token. The dispute involves complex considerations around the proper valuation of and enforcement against cryptocurrencies. Separately, Shaun advised another cryptocurrency exchange on cross border strategies in an international arbitration over cryptocurrency-based structured financial products.
  • Shaun’s clients include many technology companies: SenseTime (world’s most valuable A.I. company); Sea Limited; Softbank Robotics; Glaxosmithkline; Telkomsel; Digital Treasures Centre; Onchain Custodian, a cryptocurrency custodian company which won Singapore’s Fintech Awards in 2019; NCS Pte Ltd; DLTLedgers; and Moaah, a company that develops software based on blockchain technology.
  • Shaun works with Horangi, the leading cybersecurity, data-security and crypto-security company in Asia trusted by industry leaders in the tech ecosystem such as GoJek, PropertyGuru and Ninjavan, to develop and customise digital security frameworks to suit an organisation’s needs.
  • He published the first written decisions issued by an Assistant Registrar of the High Court of Singapore on disclosure orders over electronic documents on the Cloud (Dirak Asia Pte Ltd v Chew Hua Kok), and in a separate decision, on compulsory orders to disclose data on mobile devices (Surface Stone Pte Ltd v Tay Seng Leon).

Shaun also helps organisations develop and implement effective crisis management programs. His defining experience in this area was in his representation of a global healthcare company in a crisis management case in South Korea, where he was substantially engaged in all aspects of legal and strategic work around the case; including work on mass class action civil claims filed by victims, mediation, settlement and compensation, forensic investigations work in cooperation with Korean authorities, criminal defence work in relation to charged individuals, and strategic, legal advice regarding communications with media and political stakeholders.

Segretaria Iris CHIANG






Successfully represented a prominent international energy sector engineering company in an Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) Emergency Arbitration to protect and preserve the client’s assets in a multi-million dispute arising out of coal-fired power stations in Indonesia.

Successfully represented a leading Singapore infrastructure and engineering company in a shareholders’ dispute and derivative corporate action with dissenting shareholders successfully managed out of the company.

Successfully represented a global energy client in an Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) Emergency Arbitration in obtaining emergency relief to protect and preserve the client’s assets in a multi-million dollar commodities dispute.

Singapore, 2012

Shaun, together with Theodore Ang, co-wrote the Singapore chapter on ‘‘Force Majeure and Hardship in the Asia-Pacific Region’‘ (2021, JURIS Legal Information).

Shaun, together with Singapore International Commercial Court Judge Justice Bernard Eder, co-wrote a chapter on “The Evolving Role of the Singapore International Commercial Court, Jurisdictional Issues and Enforcement Perspectives” in Singapore International Arbitration Law & Practice (2018, Second Edition, LexisNexis).

Shaun is a contributing author to the Singapore Civil Procedure ("The White Book”) for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 editions. In all editions, Shaun was in charge of the chapters relating to international arbitration, Singapore arbitration and the Singapore International Commercial Court.

Member, Singapore Academy of Law

Member, Singapore Law Society

Speaker on “Managing Contracts in a time of Crisis” on 17 June 2020, a webinar organised by Events4Sure

Speaker on “The Covid-19 International Arbitration Protocol – Making Arbitration Make Sense Again; the expedient and cost-effective resolution of your Cross-Border dispute”, a webinar organised by the BeiHai Asia International Arbitration Centre, in May 2020.

Il mio profilo in un minuto

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve selected law as my career really, and I suppose the genesis of it all would probably be due to my love for reading cultivated since young.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve selected law as my career really, and I suppose the genesis of it all would probably be due to my love for reading cultivated since young. My mum would bring my sister and I to the old MPH bookstore at Parkway Parade, and we would spend half a day reading books and she would then “force” to buy a few books each time. I went on to do literature at high school and that’s when my passion for knowledge & books really accelerated. I started reading widely.

I think at the end of it all, a key essence to being a good advocate is to tell a good story, your client’s version of the story. A good book (or movie, for that matter) is often open to multiple interpretations. It’s really the same for the best kind of disputes, where top jurists are asked not so much as to interpret what the law says, but to interpret what the law ought to say, when the express legislation, rules and contracts have gaps that need to be filled in.

I couldn’t have asked for a better start to a legal career. It was an immense honour and privilege to be a Magistrate and Registrar of the Supreme Court at a young age, but with that comes an understanding of responsibility and duty. I learnt a lot - primarily, it was significant to understand the decision-making process of a Judge (or arbitrator), and know how the Judge would view different perspectives and balance different arguments. I suppose in terms of most memorable judgments, one of it would probably be Titan Unity, where I felt very proud when the Court of Appeal endorsed the decision. Another memorable judgment would be Firstlink Investments v GT payment on the law governing an international arbitration agreement, which was recently endorsed by the English Court of Appeal.

What I enjoy doing the most for my clients would be to develop an effective cross border strategy for my clients faced with a dispute. Most clients come to me with a binary mindset, obviously obsessing on the merits of the case and desperate to know if they can win, or if they would lose. More often than not, however, it is important to apply your mind to all relevant jurisdictions at hand, with focus on where the assets are. Developing and employing the correct strategy could achieve a fast, cost efficient, and decisive outcome that would be more important than anything else to achieve their objectives. I get a tremendous satisfaction doing that for my clients.



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