KC Lye

With more than 20 years of experience as a dispute resolution practitioner, KC Lye began his practice as a commercial litigator at the Singapore Bar and later spent many years as the head of the disputes department of a major international firm in Singapore. KC now practices as independent counsel and arbitrator with Breakpoint LLC. He is a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators and is on the panel of arbitrators of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC).

 

KC focuses on international arbitration and has been involved in a wide variety of contested matters in South-East Asia. He handles high-value disputes from a range of industry sectors, including oil and gas, aviation, and commercial fraud. He has represented clients in ICSID, SIAC, ICC and LCIA arbitrations and mediation proceedings in London, Hong Kong and Singapore. He has accepted numerous appointments to sit as arbitrator, both as sole arbitrator and as part of a panel, in commercial cases centred in Japan, India, China, the Philippines and Rwanda.

 

KC has been named in the Hall of Fame for International Arbitration and ranked as a Leading Individual for many years in leading  legal directories and rankings. He has been described as one who is “always focused on getting a commercial result, “a knowledgeable advocate”, being “cool under pressure”, “commercially astute”, “an experienced tactician”, and clients have lauded his “intellectual firepower”.

 

KC publishes and lectures extensively on international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. His articles have been cited by the Singapore High Court. He is qualified as a Solicitor in England & Wales and as an Advocate & Solicitor in Singapore.

Representative Experience

International Arbitrations

  • Joint venture shareholder dispute - SIAC Singapore arbitrations: Acting for a global brewery group in multiple Singapore-seated SIAC arbitrations. The disputes relate to alleged breaches of a Singapore law-governed shareholders' agreement between the parties. Claims amount to over US$1 billion.

  • Sale of PSC interests - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Acting for a Middle Eastern national oil company in multiple Singapore-seated SIAC arbitrations, in relation to tax disputes regarding the sale of certain PSC interests in Indonesia and the Philippines. Claims amounted to approximately US$14 million.

  • FMCG distribution agreement – LCIA London arbitration – acting for global FMCG company is a dispute over a national distribution agreement in the Philippines.

  • Electricity supply agreement, Bangladesh - ICC and ICSID London arbitrations: Representing a leading Southeast Asian independent power producer against the Bangladesh Government in a high-value ICC arbitration seated in London, as well as a separate ICSID arbitration relating to a power plant in Haripur, Bangladesh. The case involves complex legal and factual points relating to the pricing mechanisms in the long term contract.

  • Power plant, Middle East - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Acting for a global EPC contractor in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore, governed by Singapore law. The matter involves resisting a US$10 million claim brought by a sub-contractor in relation to the construction of a power plant in the Middle East. The dispute involves a novel point of Singapore law on the applicability of damages to the release from a restrictive covenant.

  • Luxury mixed-use development - UNCITRAL Sri Lanka arbitration: Representing a major Asian construction company in a Sri-Lanka seated ad hoc UNCITRAL arbitration against its employer and sub-contractor, relating to claims for variation works and extension of time. Claims are valued at over US$5 million.

  • Hydroelectric power plant - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Representing a European manufacturer of hydroelectric power plant equipment in a Singapore-seated ICC arbitration involving claims amounting to approximately €4 million. These disputes are governed by Singapore law, and relate to various manufacturing contracts against an Asian main contractor and purchaser of equipment.

  • Sale and purchase agreement - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Representing an international bank in a Singapore-seated SIAC arbitration against a Southeast Asian bank in respect of claims arising from a sale and purchase agreement of a retail and commercial banking business. The dispute  governed by Bruneian law, and claims are valued at US$6-9 million.

  • Charter hire agreement -SIAC Singapore arbitration: Acting for a US investment firm in a Singapore-seated SIAC arbitration in relation to its US$5.3 million claim for the payment of an unpaid charter under a guarantee made by a Bruneian shipping company.

  • Undersea oil pipelines - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Acting for a global oil major against a sub-contractor in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore. The dispute is governed by Singapore law, and relates to submarine oil pipeline works. The dispute involves novel points of Singapore law on liquidated damages and set-off.

  • 4x350MW coal-fired power plant - ad hoc Indian arbitration: Acting for a large Indian infrastructure conglomerate in an ad hoc arbitration seated in India under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 with the venue of hearing in Singapore. The dispute arose out of a suite of English law-governed contracts for the construction of a 4x350MW coal-fired power plant in Kamalanga, Orissa, India, in relation to delay and payment claims brought by the Chinese main contractor and counter-claims brought by the owner for defects. Aggregate claims and counter-claims valued at over US$500 million.

  • Coal mine convertor belt system, Indonesia - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Acting for a leading US energy company in a US$250 million claim in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore against a major Asian coal supplier arising out of a conveyor belt system used for mining operations in Indonesia.

  • 2x685MW coal-fired power plant, India - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Advising two subsidiaries of a major infrastructure company in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore against a Korean contractor in relation to the construction, engineering, and testing of a 2x685MW coal-fired power plant in India, pursuant to Indian law-governed EPC contracts. Claims valued at over US$100 million.

  • Sale of mixed development, Vietnam - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Acting in an SIAC arbitration for an investment holding company in a major private investment group regarding disputes arising out of an asset sale and purchase agreement governed by Singapore law for a mixed-use development project in Vietnam.

  • Power station, Iraq - SI AC Singapore arbitration: Advising a major construction company in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore against an equipment manufacturer in relation to a dispute over contracts for the construction of power projects in Iraq.

  • Urban rail project, Thailand - UNCITRAL Singapore arbitration: Advising a major European engineering company in relation to a US$90 million dispute arising from a rail project in Thailand. The contract was governed by English law and provided for UNCITRAL arbitration in Singapore.

  • Offshore drilling contract - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Acting for an offshore drilling company in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore against an oil and gas exploration company in relation to disputes arising under a drilling contract.

  • Aircraft engine, in-flight failure - ICC Hong Kong arbitration: Acting for an Asian national airline in an ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong but heard in Singapore and governed by Singapore law. The dispute centred on the failure of an aircraft engine, with a claim by the airline against a Singapore aircraft engine overhaul facility for the losses resulting from the incident.

  • Airline management contract - ICC Singapore arbitration: Acting for a Southeast Asian airline in an ICC arbitration, defending against a US$80 million claim relating to a dispute under a management agreement in the Maldives and involving issues of English and Maldivian law.

  • Beverage industry, joint venture - ICC Singapore arbitration: Acting for an international brewer in a very substantial ICC arbitration in relation to a joint venture established in Asia. The governing law of the contracts was Singaporean law and the procedural law of the arbitration was English law. The arbitration also involved issues of Thai and Danish law. The case involved teams from the Norton Rose Fulbright offices in London and Singapore.

  • State financing, infrastructure - UNCITRAL Singapore arbitration: Representing an Asian bank in an UNCITRAL arbitration seated in Singapore against an Indian ocean  state and a state- owned entity in relation to the financing of the re-development of an airport (under a concession agreement); claims exceeded US$160 million. The dispute arose out of a complex suite of financing agreements governed by English law under which the bank held direct rights against the state and the state-owned entity for termination of the concession.

  • Vehicle manufacturer, financing - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Acting for finance arm of major European vehicle manufacturer with regard to recovery of heavy trucks and similar vehicles from a mining site in Kalimantan, Indonesia. The matter involved arbitration in Singapore, court actions in Jakarta and, for the first time in Indonesian legal history, the enforcement in Kalimantan of a Jakarta court-issued order for seizure and sale.

  • Sale of nickel mine, Indonesia - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Defending an Asian businessman and his mining company in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore from a US$40 million claim brought by Chinese investors concerning a failed nickel ore mining project in Southeast Asia. The contract was governed by Indonesian law.

  • Sale of LNG cargoes - LCIA London arbitration: Prosecuting a US$100 million claim in an LCIA arbitration on behalf of a major Asian national oil company against an Indian conglomerate in relation to the sale of cargos of Liquefied Natural Gas.

  • Beverage industry franchise agreement - SIAC Singapore arbitration: Acted for a Taiwanese food and beverage company in a Singapore-seated SIAC arbitration against a Southeast Asian master franchisee in relation to breaches of the franchise agreement and noncompetition covenants. Singapore law applied, with US$20 million in dispute.

 

Energy

  • Acting for a Middle Eastern national oil company in multiple Singapore-seated SIAC arbitrations relating to the sale of PSC interests.

  • Acting for an offshore drilling company in a Singapore-seated SIAC arbitration in relation to disputes arising under a drilling contract.

  • Represented a major Asian national oil company in an LCIA arbitration against an Indian conglomerate in relation to the sale of cargos of Liquefied Natural Gas.

  • Advising an oil major on the contractual implications of armed conflict in its area of operations. Acting for a regional utility company in respect of disputes over a Gas Sale Agreement.

  • Acting for a Korean conglomerate on a US Liquefied Natural Gas liquefaction project.

  • Acting for a Korean oil and gas purchaser on a potential dispute with a New York-based consultancy group in relation to a success fee under a Consultancy Agreement.

  • Acting for a global oil major against a sub-contractor in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore. The dispute is governed by Singapore law, and relates to submarine oil pipeline works. The dispute involves novel points of Singapore law on liquidated damages and set-off.

  • Acting for a major Asian engineering company in a dispute over construction of an oil pipeline and refinery in Southeast Asia.

  • Advising an Asian national oil company on joint-venture agreements relating to a methanol project.

  • Defending a national Liquefied Natural Gas importer against claims against a counterparty to a long-term gas supply agreement.

  • Defending a US oil independent in an UNCITRAL arbitration against a US$20 million claim by a South Asian contractor arising from the construction of a gas pipeline.

  • Advising a Japanese conglomerate on a petrochemical supply contract with a major European chemical company.

  • Advising an Asian national gas company on metering disputes under a long-term Gas Sale Agreement.

 

Infrastructure, Mining & Commodities

  • Acting for a global EPC contractor in a Singapore-seated SIAC arbitration in connection with claims relating to the construction of a power plant in the Middle East. The dispute involves novel points of Singapore law on the applicability of damages to the release from a restrictive covenant.

  • Representing a major Asian construction company in a Sri-Lanka seated ad hoc UNCITRAL arbitration against its employer and sub-contractor.

  • Representing a European manufacturer of hydroelectric power plant equipment in a Singapore-seated ICC arbitration.

  • Acting for a large Indian infrastructure conglomerate in an India-seated ad hoc arbitration relating to the construction of a 4x350MW coal-fired power plant.

  • Acting for a leading US energy company in a US$250 million claim in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore against a major Asian coal supplier arising out of a conveyor belt system used for mining operations in Indonesia.

  • Representing a leading Southeast Asian independent power producer against the Bangladesh Government in a high-value ICC arbitration seated in London, as well as a separate ICSID arbitration relating to a power plant in Haripur, Bangladesh.

  • Advising two subsidiaries of a major infrastructure company in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore against a Korean contractor in relation to the construction, engineering, and testing of a 2x685MW coal-fired power plant in India.

  • Acting in an SIAC arbitration for an investment holding company in a major private investment group regarding disputes arising out of an asset sale and purchase agreement governed by Singapore law.

  • Advising a major construction company in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore against an equipment manufacturer in relation to a dispute over contracts for the construction of power projects in Iraq.

  • Defending an Asian businessman and his mining company in an SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore from a US$40 million claim brought by Chinese investors concerning a failed nickel ore mining project in Southeast Asia.

  • Advising GDF Suez SA on the litigation and employment law aspects of its acquisition of a facilities management business in Singapore through Cofely South East Asia Pte Ltd.

  • Acting for a regional coal mining company in respect of litigation over a financial services contract.

  • Defending an Indonesian mining company against claims by a Chinese entity in a US$50 million SIAC arbitration which arose from a failed joint venture in respect of an Indonesian nickel mine.

  • Prosecuting a US$250 million claim in an SIAC arbitration on behalf of a leading American energy company against a major Asian coal supplier. The dispute related to certain long term coal supply agreements.

  • Acting for a major European bank in litigation connected to a US$600 million fraud on the London Metal Exchange.

  • Representing an Indian infrastructure company in an SIAC arbitration against an Indonesian counterparty. The dispute was valued at about US$90 million and related to the acquisition of an Indonesian mining company.

  • Acting for an engine maker and construction services company in relation to disputes against a major coal mining company owned by a major Indonesian conglomerate. The dispute arose from construction projects in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, in which the American company contracted to supply equipment for use in coal mining operations.

  • Acting for an Asian bank in its US$200 million claim against an Asian government and state- owned entity arising out of an infrastructure project in the Asian state.

  • Representing an Indian conglomerate in ad hoc arbitration proceedings involving more than US$240 million against a Chinese turnkey contractor for the construction of a power plant.

  • Acting for a group of Bulgarian companies in an SIAC arbitration governed by Singapore law against Italian and Chinese counterparties. The dispute related to the construction of a power project in Bulgaria.

 

Transport

  • Lead counsel representing an Asian national airline in relation to claims arising from an engine blow out and shut down after take-off in Australia. The case (against a major MRO) went to a full hearing with expert and witness evidence on methodology and engineering to establish the cause of and liability for the failure, as well as to challenge the findings of the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB).

  • Acting for a US investment firm in a Singapore-seated SIAC arbitration in relation to its US$5.3 million claim for the payment of an unpaid charter under a guarantee made by a Bruneian shipping company.

  • Acting for an Asian national airline in an ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong. The dispute centred on the failure of an aircraft engine.

  • Acting for a Southeast Asian airline in an ICC arbitration, defending against a US$80 million claim relating to a dispute under a management agreement in the Maldives.

  • Advising a major European engineering company in relation to a US$90 million dispute arising from a rail project in Thailand.

  • Defending a major Asian national airline in an ICC arbitration against a US$50 million claim against an Asian government. The dispute related to a management agreement.

  • Defending a heavy industry company against a claim arising from damage caused during loading of a vessel.

  • Advising a major regional rail company on the expansion of its rolling stock.

  • Advising a major engineering company on issues arising from the construction of a mass transit rail system in an Asian city.

  • Prosecuting a claim in an SIAC arbitration on behalf of the finance arm of a leading European vehicle manufacturer against an Indonesian company.

  • Representing a major Asian national airline in an ICC arbitration against an US airline in a US$48 million dollar dispute arising from aircraft leases.

  • Advising a major Asian national airline on its aircraft purchase contracts against Airbus.

  • Advising an Asian national airline on disputes arising from its re-fleeting programme.

  • Advising a major Asian national airline on claims flowing from its maintenance and repair division.

  • Prosecuting a claim for economic loss on behalf of an aircraft maintenance company for disruption caused by severance of power cables.

  • Acting for a major Asian national airline in a dispute with an engine maker regarding exclusivity provisions in an engine supply contract.

  • Advising a major aircraft lessor on claims regarding a defaulting Asian lessee.

 

Technology & Innovation

  • Prosecuting and defending various defamation actions, including advising a leading European industrial robotics manufacturer on a defamation claim.

 

Financial Institutions

  • Representing an international bank in a Singapore-seated SIAC arbitration against a Southeast Asian bank in respect of claims arising from a sale and purchase agreement of a retail and commercial banking business.

  • Acting for a leading re-insurer on disputes arising out of its Takaful portfolio.

  • Acting for a leading financial institution on a dispute relating to guarantees provided under an EPCC contract with a state-owned energy company.

  • Representing an Asian bank in an UNCITRAL arbitration seated in Singapore against an Asian state and a state-owned entity in relation to the financing of the re-development of an airport.

  • Acting for finance arm of major European vehicle manufacturer with regard to recovery of heavy trucks and similar vehicles from a mining site in Kalimantan, Indonesia.

 

Human Resource

  • Advising a leading European insurance broker on litigation against it related to restraint of trade obligations in the context of the mass movement of an entire product line.

  • Advising companies on their rights against former employees on restraints of trade issues and anti-poaching provisions.

  • Advising companies against employees on issues of breach of employment contracts leading to termination of employment.

  • Advising companies against employees on their rights following discovery of falsification of credentials submitted by the employee prior to his employment.

  • Advising companies on rights of termination as against pregnant employee.

  • Advising companies on their employees' various statutory benefits including bonuses and leave matters.

  • Advising a global media company on its rights and obligations vis a vis employees following the sale of part of its business.

  • Advising a company on its rights against a former employee who embarked on a campaign of libel and slander against his former employer.

  • Advising a food and beverage franchise on allegation of inappropriate sexual advances by staff members.

  • Advising highly paid professionals on their employment contracts, including associated questions of termination benefits, and restraint of trade obligations.

  • Advising a shipyard contractor on salary claims by workers and associated issues.

  • Advising the Singapore office of a leading US manufacturer of frontline medical diagnostic products and solutions on various employment matters including maternity leave and related issues.

  • Advising a major multinational mining and resources group on various aspects of Singapore employment law.

  • Advising a London-based business school on a host of employment issues including termination and restraint of trade.

  • Advising an international insurance and reinsurance underwriting group on various employment issues including termination provisions and related considerations.

  • Reviewing and amending the template employment contract for a leading manufacturer of a large range of regional and business aircraft to make it compliant with Singapore law.

 

Life Sciences & Healthcare

  • Advising operators of a fertiliser plant in Malaysia on liability issues arising from the accidental discharge of noxious gases.

 

Fast-Moving Consumer Goods

  • Acting for a global brewery group in multiple Singapore-seated SIAC arbitrations. The disputes relate to alleged breaches of a Singapore law-governed shareholders' agreement between the parties. Claims amount to over US$1 billion.

  • Acting for a Taiwanese food and beverage company in a Singapore-seated SIAC arbitration against a South East Asian master franchisee in relation to breaches of the franchise agreement and non-competition covenants. Singapore law applied, with US$20 million in dispute.

  • Acting for an international brewer in a very substantial ICC arbitration in relation to a joint venture established in Asia. The case involved issues of Thai, Danish, Singapore and English law.

 

Admissions

  • Advocate & Solicitor, Supreme Court of Singapore

  • Solicitor, qualified in England & Wales

 

Publications

  • Legal Status of the Emergency Arbitrator under the SIAC 2010 Rules - Neither Fish nor Fowl? (Singapore Academy of Law Journal, Vol. 23, p. 93, 2011)

  • Interim Measures in Aid of Foreign Arbitrations – Time for the Deus Ex Machina? (Singapore Academy of Law Journal, Vol 21, p. 429, 2009)

  • A Persisting Aberration: The Movement to Enforce Agreements to Mediate (Singapore Academy of Law Journal, Vol. 20, p. 195, 2008)

  • Agreements to Mediate: The impact of Cable & Wireless v IBM United Kingdom Ltd [2003] BLR 89, (Singapore Academy of Law Journal, Vol. 16, p. 530, 2004)

 

Memberships

  • Singapore Institute of Arbitrators - Fellow

  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre - Panel of Arbitrators

  • Asian International Arbitration Centre - Panel of Arbitrators