Cavinder Bull SC
Office:
10 Collyer Quay
10-01 Ocean Financial Centre
049315
City:
Singapore
Country:
Singapore
Tel:
+65 6531 2416
Fax:
+65 6533 3591

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Building on nearly 25 years of dispute resolution experience, Cavinder acts as counsel and arbitrator in complex international arbitrations. As counsel, he has represented governments, multi-national corporations, and some of the biggest names in business and finance. He has been appointed arbitrator in ICSID, PCA, ICC, SIAC, LCIA, UNCITRAL and ad hoc arbitrations. He is the vice president of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, a member of the governing board of ICCA, vice president of the Asia Pacific Regional Arbitration Group and former deputy chairman of SIAC.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO FOCUS YOUR PRACTICE ON DISPUTE RESOLUTION?

The main motivation was my aspiration to be an advocate in significant cases, so I could have a part to play in determining the important issues of the day.

HOW HAS INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION EVOLVED SINCE YOU FIRST BEGAN PRACTISING IN THE FIELD?

International arbitration in Asia has certainly become a much more important form of dispute resolution, especially as Asian economies reach out beyond their own borders. There has also been a great deal more investor-state arbitration in Asia in recent years.

HOW HAS YOUR WORK AND EXPERIENCE AS COUNSEL IMPACTED YOUR APPROACH TO PROCEEDINGS WHEN ACTING AS ARBITRATOR?

It has convinced me that counsel know the case best. They live with the case for years and listening carefully to their submissions greatly educates tribunals.

WHERE, IN YOUR OPINION, DOES THE FUTURE OF THE PRACTICE AREA LIE?

The practice of international arbitration will continue to demand the highest intellectual engagement and diligent mastery of facts. What we will need more of is a greater understanding of cultural and linguistic differences so that counsel and arbitrators will do right by parties from all over the world.

TO WHAT EXTENT HAS THE EMERGENCE OF NEW REGIONAL ARBITRATION CENTRES AROUND THE WORLD, SUCH AS THE SIAC, HAD AN IMPACT ON THE POPULARITY OF “TRADITIONAL” ARBITRAL SEATS?

It has challenged what we think of as “traditional” arbitral seats. I am not so sure if that term will really be meaningful in the near future.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH OTHER LAWYERS WHO HOPE ONE DAY TO BE IN YOUR POSITION?

Start by being a good arbitration counsel. That means to be well prepared and clear in presentation. Then watch the tribunal carefully and engage with them. It is that engagement that will teach you much.

AS CEO OF THE FIRM, WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN PRIORITIES IN TERMS OF ITS DEVELOPMENT AT THE MOMENT?

The goal is to keep the firm firmly in the top tier for dispute resolution while expanding into other areas of practice. Investor-State arbitration is a good example. We now have eight ongoing cases and a good number of lawyers at all levels who have been exposed to this area of practice.

LOOKING BACK OVER YOUR CAREER, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN THE PROUDEST OF?

It is too early for me to be looking back.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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