Oon & Bazul



Dispute resolution

Oon & Bazul, Singapore’s largest conflict-free firm, is best known for its international arbitration, insolvency, shipping and commercial disputes practices. In particular, its insolvency offering has done very well in the past year, with peers noting its growing prominence in the market and increased visibility on major cases due to the firm’s well-regarded shipping practice. On top of its traditional strength in shipping, the firm has been frequently engaged in various other sectors such as energy, oil and gas, manufacturing and fintech. Recently, the firm has grown its capabilities in cross-border fraud disputes and asset recovery.

On the shipping side, the firm is noted for its expertise in the highly specialised area of misdelivery claims and regularly acts for ship owners and bill of lading holders. The shipping practitioners also have substantial experience applying for and defending mandatory injunctions taken up by ship owners under letters of indemnity in both the Singapore and UK Courts. This has led to substantial instructions in the wake of the collapse of Hin Leong Trading, Hontop Energy and other oil trading entities.

Bazul Ashhab heads the firm, while partners Meiyen Tan and Keith Han drive the insolvency practice. Arbitration-focused Suresh Divyanathan and head of litigation and shipping Kelly Yap are other key contacts in the firm. There are 14 disputes focused partners on the team.

One case highlight is the firm’s work for Canadian bitcoin company Zaftr after it was the victim of an elaborate fraud scheme. In another matter, the team is representing soya bean meal supplier Wivewaters Resources in relation to a claim for an unpaid invoice.

In insolvency, the firm is representing Xihe Capital and its subsidiaries, which is owned by the same family that runs Hin Leong Trading and Ocean Tankers, on its restructuring. The clients collectively own more than 100 vessels worth more than $1.5 billion. The team additionally acted for Modernland Realty and its subsidiaries in the restructuring of 2021 notes issued by JGC Ventures and 2024 notes issued by Modernland Overseas. The team successfully obtained the court’s sanction of a pre-packaged scheme of arrangement.

The shipping team continued to serve as lead counsel for Visa Resources in the defence of a claim brought by Chinese ship owners over a dispute on the unauthorised issuance of bills of lading and changing of discharge ports, which resulted in the arrest of the vessel in India. Red Sea Marine Services has also engaged the team for its defence against claims brought by Maybank. A significant and novel issue of law in the matter relates to the enforceability of automatic crystallization clauses in the context of a floating charge and whether a bank that holds a floating charge over a vessel can enforce any rights over a subsequent purchaser of the vessel in question.

Key clients of the firm include AAG Corporate Advisory, Achwell, Mencast Holdings, Red Sea Marine Services and Shree Ramkrishna Exports.

The firm welcomed litigation partners Benedict Eoon from Covenant Chambers, and Priscilla Lua and Jerald Foo from Clifford Chance towards the end of 2021.

Oon & Bazul remains in growth mode, as shown by its recent senior hires, and it intends to grow organically through further lateral hires in the future. While the dominant legal market trend is towards the establishment of boutiques in order to remain free of conflicts, Oon & Bazul is going the other way and moving towards full service.

Client feedback

“Good technical skill in restructuring and insolvency. The team is easy to work with as they are always available and are speedy in response.” – Insolvency

“The experienced lawyers are user friendly, provide 24/7 service and have attention to detail.” – Shipping

“It provides efficient and full advice to its clients.” – Shipping

Bazul Ashhab

“He is a solid litigator.”

Meiyen Tan

“She has good technical skills, quick responses and is very hands on with involvement. She’s been involved in recent groundbreaking cases and has creative solutions.”