Fountain Court plans Singapore launch in September

Fountain Court is to launch an office in Singapore in early September, after appointing former Rajah & Tann litigation partner Kanaga Dharmananda as a member of chambers.

Fountain Court’s deputy head Bankim Thanki QC pinpointed the soon-to-be-launched Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) as the key reason for the set’s expansion to the market.

“We see an opportunity in Singaporean government’s drive to establish the SICC. Our launch in Singapore is timed to coincide with its opening later this year,” said Thanki.

He continued: “The SICC will have real advantages for companies to resolve their disputes, given the reputation of Singapore’s judiciary and the judges who are to sit on the new court. The speed of the court and the quality of the judges will attract a lot of dispute resolution work to Singapore.”

Unlike other London sets that have launched in Singapore – 20 Essex Street and Essex Court Chambers among them – Fountain Court has opted not to open an office in Maxwell Chambers, home to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and instead will have a base in the Marina Bay financial district.

Dharmananda will join Singapore arbitrator Lawrence Boo, who joined Fountain Court in 2010 as a door tenant, in the new office. 

Dharmananda started his career in legacy Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques and took silk in Perth in 2010. He was a senior counsel in Perth-based Francis Burt Chambers prior to joining Fountain Court. Before that he practised in Singapore with Rajah & Tann a partner. 

Thanki said another member of chambers will be seconded from London to the Singapore office once the office is launched.

At the same time, 20 Essex Street has also expanded its presence in Singapore with the hire of Indian lawyer Nakul Dewan, who joins the set from Allen & Gledhill where he was counsel who focused on arbitration and litigation.

News of Fountain Court’s plans to open in Singapore were first mooted last year and reported by The Lawyer in October (17 October 2013).

Other London sets with a presence in Singapore include Stone Chambers (27 September 2013), Essex Court Chambers, 20 Essex Street (22 June 2009), One Essex Court and 39 Essex Street (26 June 2012).