Essex Court Chambers has boosted its Singapore presence with four additional local members, including Singapore former attorney general VK Rajah SC.

With the latest expansion, Essex Court Chambers will have the largest presence in Singapore among UK’s commercial sets and the largest number of advocates admitted to the Singapore bar.

The four new members of the set’s Singapore practice group are Rajah SC, Tham Lijing, Colin Liew and Calvin Liang. All will practise as self-employed, full-time independent advocates and will be based in a new office in Singapore’s Duxton Hill area, under the local brand of Essex Court Chambers Duxton.

Toby Landau QC, who was called to the Singapore Bar in May this year, will also be relocating to Singapore to join the group.

Rajah SC stepped down as Singapore’s attorney general in January 2017 following a three-year term. Prior to his public appointment, he was the managing partner of Singapore’s largest firm Rajah & Tann. He was appointed senior counsel in 1997, the Singapore equivalent to the Queen’s Counsel in England.

Tham joins from local litigation boutique Ascendant Legal, where he was of counsel. Liew was previously a lawyer in Singaporean firm TSMP, while Liang was most recently of counsel of litigation-focused local firm Tan Kok Quan Partnership.

“The recruitment of these new members, together with Toby’s call to the Singapore Bar earlier this year, significantly enhances the ability of members of Chambers to respond to the challenges and opportunities generated by the increasingly transnational nature of commercial, financial and international law disputes,” said David Foxton QC, head of chambers at Essex Court Chambers.

Prior to the expansion, Essex Court Chambers, similar to its English rival sets, had a small office in Singapore’s Maxwell Chambers focusing on international arbitration work, but there wasn’t a permanent barrister based in the office.

The new local chambers model sets a precedent in the Singapore market.

“Singapore’s first pure chambers practice introduces a different concept of specialised legal services that will focus on advisory and advocacy work. This will be a new platform to give Singapore and the region a wider choice in first tier legal services in both domestic litigation and international arbitration briefs,” says Rajah SC.

One Essex Court, 20 Essex Street, 39 Essex Court, Stone Chambers and Fountain Court are among other UK barristers’ chambers to have an office in Singapore.