Nicholas Poon

Nicholas is Managing Director of Breakpoint LLC and he advises and represents clients in a broad range of contentious advisory matters and disputes. He has acted for private trusts, investment vehicles, property developers, construction companies, banks and financial institutions. Nicholas has also taken on a number of criminal matters pro bono.   

Nicholas graduated from the Singapore Management University School of Law near the top of his cohort. After being called to the Singapore Bar in 2011, Nicholas clerked for the Judges of the Supreme Court of Singapore as part of the prestigious Justices' Law Clerk programme. In that capacity, he assisted the High Court and Court of Appeal in numerous cases, including several landmark commercial and arbitration matters. In 2014, Nicholas was appointed Assistant Registrar, in which capacity he adjudicated a wide array of interlocutory applications in High Court proceedings, many of which were in the context of shipping, IT and IP disputes.  Nicholas was also involved in numerous legal policy initiatives, including the establishment of the Singapore International Commercial Court.    

In 2016, Nicholas joined the market leader in dispute resolution, Drew & Napier, where he rose to become Associate Director.  Since joining private practice, Nicholas has appeared as lead counsel across all levels of the court system, including the Court of Appeal.  He was also appointed onto the Supreme Court's young amicus curiae panel in 2018.      

Nicholas has published extensively in academic and practitioner journals, particularly in the area of international commercial arbitration. His works have been cited by the High Court and Court of Appeal, practitioners, and academics.  He is co-authoring an upcoming textbook on international commercial arbitration in Singapore.   

Experience

Below is a sample of the matters that Nicholas has assisted with or acted in:

  • representing a major Korean entertainment conglomerate in a multi-jurisdictional dispute involving claims in New York, South Korea, BVI, Hong Kong and Singapore.  

  • successfully defended a management and consulting company in the Singapore High Court against a S$2.8billion claim for dishonest assistance and knowing receipt. The claim relates to a high-profile mass departure of more than 200 insurances agents from a leading insurer in Singapore.

  • advising a billion-dollar US-based private equity fund on several investments in Asia. 

  • representing and advising the subsidiary of a major European brewery on disputes with a former employee and nominee director.

  • representing a cryptocurrency trading house against a customer in a multi-jurisdictional dispute that involves foreign governments and allegations of money-laundering and use of criminal proceeds. 

  • represented the minority shareholders of a large family-owned company in a minority oppression claim. Successfully procured the company controlled by the majority shareholders to pay out dividends in excess of S$60m.

  • acted for a SME building contractor as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal and successfully overturned the High Court's decision to set aside an adjudication determination on the grounds of breach of the rules of natural justice  

  • obtained in the High Court a suspended order committing a defendant to imprisonment for breaching a discovery order. The Court's decision is the first reported case of its kind  

  • represented a global office furniture business in the High Court against their former senior management personnel for breaches of contractual and fiduciary duties and conspiracy. The High Court awarded damages in excess of S$5m and also granted the claimants a worldwide freezing order against one of the defendants  

  • represented a US petrochemical company against a government-linked company in an SIAC arbitration involving a mega petrochemicals joint venture in Singapore.  The quantum in dispute exceeded US$40m

  • represented multiple individual and corporate litigants in several parallel proceedings in the High Court involving loan agreements, unlicensed moneylending and an industrial property development joint venture. The quantum in dispute exceeded S$30m

  • assisted the Court of Appeal in a major joint venture dispute involving a Singapore-listed company. The Court's decision remains the leading decision on the interpretation and implication of terms in contracts

  • assisted the Court of Appeal in a dispute over a complex sale and purchase of coal interests.  The quantum of the claim exceeded S$20m.  The Court's decision addressed a wide spectrum of legal topics including guarantees, fraud, misrepresentation, conversion of scripless shares, and lifting of the corporate veil   

  • assisted the Court of Appeal in one of the largest commercial arbitration disputes in Singapore involving the enforcement of a US$250m SIAC award. The Court's seminal decision articulated Singapore's position on the remedies available to parties seeking to resist enforcement of awards despite not having actively challenged a preliminary ruling on jurisdiction or applying to set aside the award

  • assisted the High Court in a dispute involving an attempt to set aside an SIAC award. The Court's decision comprehensively examines the ambit of the natural justice ground for setting aside an award

Selected Publications

  • Chapter on Conflict of Laws in Singapore Law – 50 Years in the Making (Academy Publishing, 2015)

  • Choice of Law in Enforcement of Arbitral Awards (2012) 24 SAcLJ 113

  • The Use and Abuse of Anti-Arbitration Injunctions (2013) 25 SAcLJ 244

  • Enforcing the Negative Promise in an Arbitration Agreement: Ust v AES (2013) 4 LMCLQ 432

  • Choice of Remedies and a Tale of Two Cities: PT First Media (2014) 3 LMCLQ 338

  • Setting Aside Preliminary Rulings on Jurisdiction: International Research Corp plc v Lufthansa Systems Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (2014) 26 SAcLJ 269

Memberships and Committees

  • Committee Member, ASEAN Law Association

  • Committee Member, Committee on Reform of Legal Costs in Singapore

  • Independent Director, Tiong Woon Corporation Holding

  • Member,  Law Society of Singapore

  • Member, Singapore Academy of Law

  • Member, Law Reform Committee on the 1996 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children