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Daniel Chia

Managing Director, Herbert Smith Freehills Prolegis
Director Partner Head of Practice

Daniel is the Managing Director of Prolegis LLC and Head of Litigation for the Herbert Smith Freehills Prolegis Formal Law Alliance (FLA).

He is an experienced litigation lawyer and covers contentious matters relating to dispute resolution, contentious restructuring and insolvency and government investigations and enforcement.

Daniel provides tailored, tactical advice that adds value to client's corporate strategy. He devises and executes strategies for disputes relating to commercial crime, commercial fraud, business crime defence, white-collar proceedings, professional indemnity insurance, shareholder litigation, insolvency claims, and securities and regulatory enforcement in Asia. These include matters relating to misselling, misrepresentations, fraudulent fundraising, and prosecuting and defending against allegations of corruption, money laundering, and commercial crime.

He is an experienced corporate and commercial trial and appellate litigator representing clients in complex, cross-border, and multidisciplinary disputes. Daniel has appeared as lead counsel in court hearings, international arbitrations, and other dispute resolution forums. Daniel also regularly acts in professional liability cases where he represents professionals, consultants, and insurers in all matters relating to professional negligence.

Daniel is recognized as a leading lawyer in major legal directories including Chambers and Partners, Legal 500, and Benchmark Litigation where clients have commended him for not just his technical ability in the law but also his business acumen and his ability to manage disputes and problems and structure solutions efficiently and effectively.

Client and peer accolades across legal directories recognize that he is "excellent" and "a terrific litigator" who is "able to hold his own against much more senior advocates, including senior counsel." He has been praised as being a partner who is "hands on", "diligent and has a great work ethic" and a "delight to work with". Legal 500 notes his "strategic vision and on the ground advocacy" and his knowledge of "big ticket litigations." He is also credited for leading an "outstanding team" that provides "impeccable service."

Daniel was recognized by Asian Legal Business in their inaugural Asia Super 50 Disputes lawyers list, which recognizes the top arbitration and litigation practitioners based in Asia. He was also named a "Future Leader" in Litigation by Who's Who Legal in 2018 to 2020 and was ranked for 3 consecutive years as the most highly regarded in the Asia Pacific region. He was also quoted by clients in the publication as being an "experienced commercial litigator" who "provides valuable strategic advice to corporate clients which considers both legal and commercial realities".


National University of Singapore, (LLB 2005)

Advocate and Solicitor, Singapore

Fellow Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

Experience & expertise

Selected matters

Corporate & Commercial

  • acting for various fund managers and investment funds in respect of their investment into investee companies located in China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Issues which typically arise include founder mismanagement, accounting fraud, misrepresentation and corporate actions depending on the form of the instrument of investment
  • successfully representing asset managers in a claim for deceit and fraud in respect of the acquisition of an African cryptocurrency-friendly bank in the Singapore International Commercial Court, covering issues relating to the regulatory regime for SWIFT payments, cryptocurrency payments and wallets as well as the bank licensing regime in several African jurisdictions
  • advising a leading electrical retailer for homes and businesses in Singapore as the appointed crisis management counsel. This included all matters relating to the worldwide energy crunch and surge in electricity prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, numerous litigations threatened by former customers and regulatory issues arising from the open market electricity regulatory regime administered by the Energy Market Authority in Singapore
  • successfully represented a Singapore-listed water solutions company in derivative proceedings initiated by minority shareholders who took issue with the listed company's share placement exercise and the exploratory acquisition of two wastewater treatment concessions in China and in Indonesia
  • successfully acting for over 20 shareholders in a government sponsored Global Investor Program fund in oppression, derivative action and insolvency proceedings against the management of the fund for fraud and misuse of monies for claims close to US$40 million. The series of proceedings included the first known "pre-packed" scheme for claims which was sold in the fund's insolvency proceedings to the shareholders to enable them to take direct action against the former management

 Arbitration & Award Enforcement

  • successfully representing a IT cybersecurity company in both arbitration and setting aside proceedings with a series of related entities trading under the name "KuCoin", which is linked to a cryptocurrency exchange. Secured a rare setting aside of an arbitration award for the client in the Singapore High Court on the ground of breach of natural justice, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeal of Singapore
  • successfully representing a large state-owned Chinese shipbuilding yard in SIAC arbitration proceedings against Singaporean shipowning entities in respect of contracts to build several offshore drilling rigs – the value of which exceeded US$350 million. Technical issues relating to defective design of components, marine construction, liquidated damages and wrongful termination took centre stage. Also acted in the attendant setting aside applications and successfully resisted the shipowning entities' attempts to set aside the award both at the High Court and Court of Appeal stages
  • successfully representing a Korean state owned entity in respect of enforcement proceedings against Indian parties in the Singapore Courts. Successfully resisted the counter parties attempt to set aside the arbitral award (which had award US$15 million in damages in the client's favour and dismissed some US$150 million in counterclaims against the client)
  • successfully representing 21 Chinese preference shareholders in a quasi-class action case in a SIAC arbitration. It concerned the recovery of a US$40 million investment from a Singapore Global Investor Program Fund which invested in entertainment assets throughout the world
  • successfully representing international investors in an SIAC arbitration involving a shareholder dispute in respect of investments in a pharmaceutical and diagnostic company which was majority owned by a Chinese conglomerate. Issues relating to oppression, diversion of business and trade secret theft in China took centre stage
  • representing a Cambodian telecommunications company in ICC arbitral proceedings against a Chinese telecoms component manufacturer for loss of potential profits up to US$50 million. Technical issues of telecoms frequency, equipment design, suitability and customs issues took centre stage

Engineering & Construction

  • successfully defended a globally renowned consulting engineering firm against a Singapore High Court claim brought by renowned commercial building owners for alleged defects in façade design in relation to a "Grade A" office building in Singapore. The trial of the matter involved 6 parties, some 30 factual and expert witnesses and led to one of the longest running trials in Singapore. He also successfully represented the same client in the attendant appeal
  • successfully defended a globally renowned consulting engineering firm against a Singapore High Court claim initiated by Global Switch (a worldwide operator of data centres) in a claim relating to the power and cooling systems of a data centre, which involved issues of compensation for alleged defective design, replacement costs, loss of profit and revenue. Also successfully represented the same client in the attendant appeal and obtained one of the largest sums of attorney costs ever awarded by a Singapore court
  • successfully acted for plaintiff contractors in respect of an oil rig construction against the owners and successfully reaching a settlement of the claims 

Labour & Employment

  • acting for several multi-national companies on their anti-bullying and harassment policies
  • successfully defended a client in a claim involving alleged theft of trade secrets and confidential information as well as breach of non-compete clauses
  • acting for a leading talent agency in connection with the overhaul of their Asia-wide employment policies and documentation. The overhaul included anti-bullying and harassment policies, sales incentive schemes, equal opportunity and diversity policies, substance abuse policies, and general code of conduct
  • advising various clients on restrictive covenants and anti-poaching activities, policies and disputes
  • acting for various clients across Asia-Pacific on claims relating to theft of confidential information and trade secrets
  • coordinating and conducting investigations in respect of issues relating to employee misconduct and fraud along with the attendant termination and civil claims issues

White Collar & Crime

  • successfully acting as coordinating counsel for a Algeria-based French businessman in respect of corruption proceedings and government asset seizures in Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy and France. Secured the unfreezing and release of nearly US$200 million in assets following the client's acquittal
  • acted for the chairman of a leading shipbuilder in Singapore in corruption proceedings and investigations in Singapore
  • acted for a government linked entity in respect of a fraud committed by its sales representatives in South East Asia
  • acted for various listed companies on the Singapore Stock Exchange in respect of regulatory issues arising from purported breaches of securities regulations and disclosure requirements

Pro Bono & Human Rights

  • acting as in over 10 capital punishment matters relating to drug trafficking and drug possession in the Singapore Courts
  • advising clients on the spill-over effect of greenwashing and misstatements from a securities regulation perspective under Singapore law