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Practice Areas

Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham’s practice covers a wide breadth of areas that includes corporate and commercial, environmental, banking and securities, insurance, maritime, and competition law as well as arbitration. In 2018 alone, he has appeared as lead counsel for Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) in a major dispute with the government of a constituent state of Malaysia relating to a claim for royalty payable for oil won and saved in the continental shelf off Malaysia. He also acts for Tenaga Nasional Berhad in on-going disputes with YTL Power Generation Sdn Bhd in relation to the construction of lease agreements pertaining to the operation of several independent power plants. He is acting as counsel for a number of contractors as well as the Asian International Arbitration Centre in several proceedings before the Federal Court relating to the conduct of adjudication matters under the Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012, calling for a revisit of an earlier decision of the apex court in View Esteem Sdn Bhd v Bina Puri Holdings Bhd [2018] 2 MLJ 22. He is also presently acting as counsel for Triumph City Development in opposing setting-aside applications filed by the Selangor State Government following the handing down of an arbitration award in excess of RM200 million against the Selangor State Government where issues of law pertaining to extension of time to file a setting-aside application out of time, the test of setting aside under Section 37 and Section 42 of the Arbitration Act 2005 (prior and post the 2018 amendments to the said Act) and the award of post award interest are the subject of determination before the appellate courts in Malaysia. He acted as counsel for the Majlis Ugama Islam Pahang in respect of appeals brought by Far East Holdings Berhad wherein the applicable test relating to the setting-aside of an arbitration award under Section 37 and Section 42 of the Arbitration Act 2005 along with the power of an arbitral tribunal to award pre-award and post-award interest was determined for the first time by the apex court in Malaysia. This is now the seminal decision of the Malaysian courts on the construction to be given to Section 42 of the Arbitration Act 2005 (prior to the 2018 amendments).

Professional Memberships

• Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom


• Fellow of the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators


• Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators


• Fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration Limited


• Fellow of the Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution


• Member of the Advisory Council of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA)


• Member of the Advisory Panel of the Asian International Arbitration Center (AIAC)


• Past Member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court representing Malaysia


• Past Member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration


• Past Member of the ICC Task Force on Financial Institutions

Career

Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham is the Senior Partner at Cecil Abraham & Partners. His career at the bar spans 48 years. Within that time, he has appeared in all the High Court divisions as well as before the Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Special Court and the Privy Council on a regular basis. He has over 250 reported decisions of note to his name. He is first and foremost an advocate and is regarded by his peers and clients alike as one of Malaysia’s leading counsel known to be devastatingly effective in Court. He has a strong reputation for dealing with complex disputes where the stakes are high and is known to work hard to achieve a satisfactory result for his clients. Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham’s practice covers a wide breadth of areas that includes corporate and commercial, environmental, banking and securities, insurance, maritime, and competition law as well as arbitration. He has in recent times argued the leading cases in Malaysia on unjust enrichment in Dream Property Sdn Bhd v Atlas Housing Sdn Bhd [2015] 2 MLJ 441, the doctrine of separate legal entities in Gurbachan Singh v Vellasamy s/o Ponnusamy [2015] 1 MLJ 773, on equitable fraud in Zung Zang Wood Products Sdn Bhd v Kwan Chee Hang Sdn Bhd & Ors [2014] 2 MLJ 799, the powers of liquidators in Ooi Woon Chee & Anor v Dato’ See Teow Chuan & Ors [2012] 2 MLJ 713 and the exercise of royal prerogative powers in Dato' Seri Ir Hj Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin v Dato' Seri Dr Zambry bin Abdul Kadir (Attorney General, intervener) [2010] 2 MLJ 285 and His Royal Highness Sultan Ismail Petra Ibni Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra v His Royal Highness Tengku Mahkota Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra & Anor and another suit [2011] 1 MLJ 1, to name but a few. He holds of the distinction of having acted for the former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew and several Prime Ministers of Malaysia. He is also regularly appointed as an arbitrator in domestic and in international commercial arbitrations and is the only Malaysian to be regularly appointed as an arbitrator in investment treaty disputes. He is also presently involved in several investment treaty disputes as counsel.

Publications

Tan Sri Dato' Cecil Abraham has contributed to the following publications: (i) the Malaysian chapter on arbitration in the book Commercial Arbitration Law In Asia And The Pacific, which is an ICC Publication edited by Simmonds Hill Jarvin; (ii) the Malaysian Chapter on arbitration in a publication entitled Arbitration in Asia which is published by Butterworths. The editor of the book is Michael J Moser of Freshfields; (iii) the Malaysian Chapter on arbitration for the Global Legal Group entitled Questions for the International Comparative Legal Guide: International Arbitration 2003; (iv) the International Bar Association publication Civil Appeal Procedures Worldwide edited by Charles Platto; (v) the Malaysian Chapter in the book Cargo Claims by William Tetley; (vi) the Malaysian Chapter in the International Bar Association publication Judicial Sales of Vessels and Priority of Claims, published by Kluwer; (vii) the Chapter on the “Role Played by the Party-Appointed Arbitrator” in The Asian Leading Arbitrators Guide to International Arbitration; (viii) the Malaysian Chapter in Arbitration World, 4th Edition; (ix) the Malaysian Chapter on Arbitration in World Arbitration Reporter; (x) the Malaysian Chapter in Asia Arbitration Guide; (xi) Chapter on State Approval in South East Asian Bilateral Investment Treaties in Investor-State Arbitration – Lessons For Asia (HKIAC Special Publication Series No. 1); and (xii) the Malaysian Chapter of the ICCA Handbook on International Commercial Arbitration (100th Supplement).

Personal

Qualifications


• LLB. Hons. Queen Mary College, University of London


• Fellow (Faculty of Law) Queen Mary College, University of London


• Barrister at Law of the Honourable Society of Middle Temple


• Bencher of the Honourable Society of Middle Temple


• Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya

Main Areas of Law

Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham’s practice covers a wide breadth of areas. His key areas of focus includes Corporate and Commercial, Environmental, Banking and Securities, Insurance, Maritime, and Competition Law as well as Arbitration.

Work Highlights

In 2018 alone, he has appeared as lead counsel for Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) in a major dispute with the government of a constituent state of Malaysia relating to a claim for royalty payable for oil won and saved in the continental shelf off Malaysia.

He also acts for Tenaga Nasional Berhad in on-going disputes with YTL Power Generation Sdn Bhd in relation to the construction of lease agreements pertaining to the operation of several independent power plants.

He is acting as counsel for a number of contractors as well as the Asian International Arbitration Centre in several proceedings before the Federal Court relating to the conduct of adjudication matters under the Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012, calling for a revisit of an earlier decision of the apex court in View Esteem Sdn Bhd v Bina Puri Holdings Bhd [2018] 2 MLJ 22.

He is also presently acting as counsel for Triumph City Development in opposing setting-aside applications filed by the Selangor State Government following the handing down of an arbitration award in excess of RM200 million against the Selangor State Government where issues of law pertaining to extension of time to file a setting-aside application out of time, the test of setting aside under Section 37 and Section 42 of the Arbitration Act 2005 (prior and post the 2018 amendments to the said Act) and the award of post award interest are the subject of determination before the appellate courts in Malaysia.

He acted as counsel for the Majlis Ugama Islam Pahang in respect of appeals brought by Far East Holdings Berhad wherein the applicable test relating to the setting-aside of an arbitration award under Section 37 and Section 42 of the Arbitration Act 2005 along with the power of an arbitral tribunal to award pre-award and post-award interest was determined for the first time by the apex court in Malaysia. This is now the seminal decision of the Malaysian courts on the construction to be given to Section 42 of the Arbitration Act 2005 (prior to the 2018 amendments).

Expert in these Jurisdictions

Cecil Abraham practices primarily in Malaysia although he frequently sits as arbitrators in a number of jurisdictions such as India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Industry Sector Expertise

He has extensive experience in representing clients in the following areas:

Arbitration (Commercial, Construction & Investment Treaty)

Capital Markets and Securities Disputes

Civil claims - contracts, torts including defamation and media; privacy; breach of confidence

Clubs & Unincorporated Associations

Commercial Law

Construction and Infrastructure

Energy and Telecommunications

Insurance and Banking

Land and General Property

Public and Administrative Law

Probate and Administration Law

White-collar crime, Blue-collar crime and Corporate Governance

Languages Spoken

His native language is English. He is also fluent in Tamil.

Awards

Fellow (Faculty of Law)

Queen Mary College, University of London

2001

Bencher

Honourable Society of Middle Temple

2015

Education

Queen Mary College, University of London

LLB (Hons) Law

1967 - 1969

Middle Temple

Barrister-at-law

1969 - 1969

Malaysian Bar

Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya

1970 - 1970