Fountain Court eyes Singapore launch

Inner Temple set Fountain Court is weighing up whether to open an outpost in Singapore, in a move that further underlines the growing popularity of the Asian arbitration hub.

Sources close to the set said chambers had sent a delegation to the jurisdiction and met with the City-state’s regulators to discuss a possible office opening.

The set said there was no imminent plans for a launch but added that opening an overseas base was high on the agenda.

“We’re watching the market with great interest,” said director of clerking Alex Taylor. “We’re also keeping our plans under serious review constantly, it’s a rapidly changing and developing market.

“Singapore is a popular international arbitration seat, where high-value disputes are increasingly being handled. But many international firms are already there and the market is very competitive.”

He added: “Also, only a very small number of English QCs have been admitted to conduct court advocacy in Singapore so far. However, we’re expecting Singapore’s proposed International Commercial Court to bring about more opportunities for London’s commercial sets.”

While it will take some time before setting out solid plans, Fountain Court is taking a proactive approach to building ties with the Singaporean commercial bar

The international strategy will fall under the management remit of newly appointed chambers head Stephen Moriarty QC, who took over the role from Tim Dutton QC earlier this month. Moriarty named Bankim Thanki QC as deputy head of the set.

Singapore has been the destination of choice for many London sets. In September Stone Chambers relocated Andrew Moran QC to the country to open an office there (27 September 2013).

20 Essex Street and Essex Court Chambers were the first to open in the region in June 2009 (22 June 2009), followed last year by both One Essex Court and 39 Essex Street (26 June 2012).