39 Essex Street first in line to set up Kuala Lumpur base

London set 39 Essex Street is to set up a base in Kuala Lumpur, a move that will make it the first UK chambers to have a presence in Malaysia.

39 Essex Street has recently signed an agreement with the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA) to take up office space in the Sulaiman building, a heritage building that houses the arbitration facilities of the centre. The building is currently under refurbishment and is due to officially open in July 2014.

It is the latest expansion of the set in Asia, following its opening in Singapore in January 2013 (26 June 2012). More recently, it added experienced barrister and arbitrator Rashda Rana to be permanently based in its Singapore office. Ranam has 20 years of experience in London, Australia and Asia. She also served as the general counsel of Australian construction group Lend Lease Project Management & Construction from 2009 to 2012.

39 Essex Street’s director of Asian Business Roderick Noble is leading the set’s development in Asia, including the Malaysia initiatives.

It is understood that the Kuala Lumpur base has a slightly different focus from Singapore as the KLRCA has a distinct advantages in handling shariah issues or disputes arising from contracts based on Islamic principles. The centre launched a new set of arbitration rules in September 2012 aimed at resolving disputes arising under contracts containing Shariah law issues. It’s a move also to facilitate Malaysia’s ambition to become a key global and regional hub for Islamic finance.