TAY Julian

Julian Tay is a Senior Partner and the Co-Head of our Litigation and Dispute Resolution department.

He read law at the National University of Singapore (NUS). In NUS law school, he was a Dean’s Lister and a recipient of the prestigious Kwa Geok Choo Scholarships. After graduation, he started his pupillage at Lee & Lee before he was called to the Singapore Bar in 1998.

Julian was admitted into partnership in 2004, promoted to Senior Partner in 2010, and appointed Co-Head of our firm’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution department with effect from January 2022.

Over the years in practice, Julian has acted as counsel in several notable cases at both trial and appellate levels. His versatility in practice is reflected through the broad range of cases he handles, such as matters involving civil and commercial disputes, professional liability with a keen interest in medical litigation, criminal defence roles, family trust wills and estate, bankruptcy and insolvency, defamation, real estate disputes, accident and personal injury claims, building and construction disputes, etc.

The broad areas of Julian’s litigation practice encompass:

  • Civil and Commercial Litigation
  • Medical Litigation
  • Criminal Litigation
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Insolvency Litigation
  • Family, Wills, Trust & Estate Litigation

Beyond the realm of legal practice, Julian is also an active advocate of continuing professional development and has made modest contributions to academia.

Civil and Commercial Litigation

Julian handles a broad spectrum of civil and commercial litigation. He has acted for major listed companies and prominent individuals in civil and commercial disputes. He has also advised and represented several leading local banks and financial institutions in commercial and consumer banking/investment matters, including the enforcement of securities such as mortgages, charges, and guarantees.

Some of his notable cases in this field include:

  • Representing a family trust vehicle in successfully defending against a $70 million suit in the High Court over alleged loans. This case raises important conflict of laws issues relating to service out of jurisdiction and threshold requirements for choice of law and choice of forum: Shen Sophie v Xia Wei Ping and others [2022] SGHC 206.
  • Representing an individual in a successful claim in the High Court and on appeal to recover more than S$7 million in damages for breach of contract concerning shares in a Catalist-listed company: Fu Hao v Evancarl Ltd and another [2021] SGHC 137.
  • Representing an individual before the High Court in claiming more than GBP 1 million against another individual for breach of a foreign exchange agreement: Millsopp, Michael Joseph v Then Feng [2021] SGHC 228.
  • Representing an individual before the High Court in successfully resisting the multi-jurisdictional enforcement of an emergency arbitral award made in Hong Kong in relation to a contractual claim of over HKD 500 million: Reuters report on 5 January 2022.
  • Representing an agricultural development company in successfully claiming more than $1 million against a former director and a competitor company in which he was involved for breach of fiduciary duties and breach of contract.
  • Representing two of several individuals including Ministers and Members of Parliament in defending against a High Court action which involved allegations of breaches of public duties, and successfully obtaining a court order to strike out the action.
  • Representing a management solution company in successfully obtaining an injunction order issued by the High Court against a former employee from being employed by or otherwise providing or undertaking any service for and on behalf of a competitor.
  • Representing the Keppel Club, one of Singapore’s oldest golf clubs, in a High Court claim against a fraudulent former employee who conspired with others to defraud club members in excess of S$37 million: Straits Times report on 8 November 2016.
  • Representing a family investment vehicle in a High Court claim of more than USD 6.6 million against its bank for misrepresentations in investment advice on leveraged bonds: Breezeway Overseas Ltd v UBS AG [2012] SGHC 41.
  • Representing a prominent high net worth individual before the High Court in his claim against an international bank for foreign exchange and bond trading losses of about S$1 billion.
  • Representing a company before the High Court in resisting a derivative action commenced by a shareholder and setting aside the applications of ex parte freezing and search orders: Fong Wai Lyn Carolyn v Airtrust (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2011] SGHC 88.
  • Representing a multi-national corporation before the High Court in one of the first cases where a senior employee was found to owe his employer company the same fiduciary duties as a director of the company: ABB Holdings Pte Ltd and others v Sher Hock Guan Charles [2009] SGHC 157.
  • Representing an individual in a contractual dispute over the purchase of a US$1 million limited edition replica of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker” statue: Eng Hui Cheh David v Opera Gallery Pte Ltd [2009] SGCA 49.
  • Representing a trading company distributing “Darlie” toothpaste in resisting a contractual claim of more than S$6 million by their supplier: Hawley & Hazel Chemical Co (S) Pte Ltd v Szu Ming Trading Pte Ltd [2008] SGHC 13.
  • Representing an individual before the High Court and the Court of Appeal in his successful defence against a claim on cheques of over S$500,000: Sutanto Henny v Suriani Tani also known as Li Yu [2004] SGHC 7; and Henny Sutanto v Chandra Suwandi (trading as Global Standard Marketing) [2005] SGCA 45.
  • Representing an international power company in an ICC arbitration concerning the establishment of a foreign power plant in a claim for over USD 19 million.
  • Representing a former CEO in successfully defending against his former employer’s claim for incurring about RM 98 million of stock trading debts: AMS Securities (S) Pte Ltd v Thio Gwan Choon [2001] SGHC 35.
  • Representing one of the largest foreign banks in a case of criminal breach of trust by an employee involving about USD 6 million and taking urgent remedial actions to seize the employee’s assets.

Medical Litigation

As a panel lawyer for the Medical Protection Society as well as MOH Holdings Medical Malpractice Indemnity programme, Julian regularly acts for medical practitioners from both public hospitals and private practice in professional liability claims, Singapore Medical Council complaints, and Disciplinary Tribunal hearings, Coroner’s Inquiries, etc.

Some of his notable cases in this field include:

  • Representing a provisionally registered medical practitioner who was charged by the Singapore Medical Council with the falsification of his credentials in his medical publications.
  • Representing a registered medical practitioner who was charged by the Singapore Medical Council for unprofessional conduct involving insulting a fellow healthcare worker’s modesty.
  • Representing two private obstetricians in a medical negligence suit and successfully procuring the patient to withdraw the entire suit against the specialists on account of various irregularities.
  • Representing a general practitioner in defending a medical negligence claim concerning an aesthetic procedure to reduce fat performed on a patient.
  • Representing a general practitioner in a Coroner’s Inquiry following a patient’s death after a drug overdose.
  • Representing an aesthetic doctor in private practice to defend a medical negligence claim following serious complications from a nasal filler procedure, which led to blindness suffered by a patient.
  • Advising a group of resident medical officers from a private hospital in respect of the patient’s death following surgery for the removal of bile duct stones.
  • Advising a senior doctor from a public hospital in respect of a police investigation following a patient’s death after performing a right hepatectomy and caudate lobe resection.
  • Advising a senior doctor in a public hospital following a complaint of serious burns sustained by a patient following a surgical procedure.
  • Advising an orthopaedic specialist in a public hospital in respect of a patient’s complaint following upper limb bone re-fracture after removal of metal plates.
  • Assisting a private cardiology consultant to respond to a complaint lodged by a patient’s next-of-kin concerning the management of a patient.
  • Assisting a general practitioner to respond to a complaint lodged by the Ministry of Health concerning the use of genetic profiling on patients.
  • Representing a general practitioner charged by the Singapore Medical Council for professional misconduct involving the prescription of benzodiazepines to multiple patients. This case was part of a series of similar disciplinary proceedings against several other general practitioners from the same private clinic chain and attracted close public scrutiny over the prescription practices of benzodiazepines.

Criminal Litigation

With an active criminal litigation practice, Julian is involved in a wide range of criminal cases and matters of public interest, ranging from minor and serious offences to statutory and other regulatory offences.

Some of his notable cases in this field include:

  • Representing a childcare service provider charged with offences involving unauthorised withdrawals of baby bonus matching contributions from Child Development Accounts (CDAs) pursuant to certain loan “matching schemes” across various childcare centers. This was the first time where charges were preferred in the context of CDAs: Straits Times Report on 25 January 2022.
  • Representing an individual in a landmark case involving a criminal reference to the Court of Appeal on questions of law of public interest. This was the first case under the Criminal Case Disclosure (CCDC) regime which established that the court has the power to order the Prosecution to furnish additional particulars in the summary of facts served as part of the Case for the Prosecution: Public Prosecutor v Li Weiming and others [2014] SGCA 7.
  • Representing a former Chief Financial Officer facing charges under section 420 of the Penal Code in an unprecedented case involving foreign exchange trading losses of about S$300 million incurred by the group of companies he managed: Straits Times report on 29 October 2014.
  • Representing a former general manager charged with offences of conspiring with others to cheat his employer and its customer in excess of $1.5 million: Public Prosecutor v Ang Beng Ho [2015] SGDC 112.
  • Representing an Indonesian national in extradition proceedings under the Extradition Act and successfully applying for the High Court to grant bail: Christanto Radius v Public Prosecutor [2012] SGHC 114.
  • Representing an individual in successfully persuading the Prosecution to drop a murder charge. This case raises an important issue of whether the Court may grant a discharge amounting to an acquittal in the context of the Prosecution seeking a discharge not amounting to an acquittal: Public Prosecutor v Teo Boon Leng [2012] SGDC 355.
  • Representing a prominent businessman charged for driving while under a disqualification order and successfully persuading the appellate court to reduce the custodial sentence from six weeks to a single day in view of his extenuating circumstances: Straits Times Report on 30 October 2010.
  • Representing various individuals charged for other traffic-related offences under the Road Traffic Act and Penal Code: Business Times Report on 30 June 2010; Straits Times Report on 24 April 2007; and Public Prosecutor v Chua Seng Lai Robin [2007] SGDC 263.
  • Representing an individual in a robbery-turned-murder case before the High Court and Court of Appeal. This involved a landmark Court of Appeal decision on the requirements for the offence of murder under Section 300(c) of the Penal Code, and a second Court of Appeal decision on the novel issue of the prosecution’s right to appeal where a conviction was made on a substituted charge at trial: Public Prosecutor v Lim Poh Lye and Another 2005 [SGCA] 31; Koh Zhan Quan Tony v Public Prosecutor and another motion [2006] SGCA 17.
  • Acting for the importers of a Chinese Proprietary Medicine, Slim 10 pills, who faced charges preferred by the Health Sciences Authority for offences in failing to declare certain controlled substances.
  • Representing a Chinese national charged for cheating a bank: Public Prosecutor v Wang Xiao Hui [2004] SGDC 301.
  • Representing a former SATS employee charged for corruption: Public Prosecutor v Hendricks Glen Conleth [2002] SGHC 306.
  • Representing a UAE national charged for multiple offences relating to outrage of modesty: The New Paper report on 14 September 2012.
  • Representing various individuals charged for offences concerning the abuse of foreign domestic workers: Public Prosecutor v Yeo Poh Choo Elizabeth Ann [2007] SGDC 293; Public Prosecutor v Lee Beng Hian [2005] SGDC 127; Lim Kim Luan v Public Prosecutor [2002] SGHC 147; and Public Prosecutor v Ang Kah Kee [2002] SGHC 58.
  • Representing various individuals charged for offences relating to the harbouring and employment of immigration offenders: Gan Too Cheh v Public Prosecutor [2006] SGHC 23 and Public Prosecutor v Ang Shiun [2004] SGDC 79.
  • Representing various individuals charged for traffic-related offences under the Road Traffic Act and Penal Code: Public Prosecutor v Chua Seng Lai Robin [2007] SGDC 263: Straits Times report on 24 April 2007.
  • Representing various individuals in defending drug-related offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
  • Representing a social club member in commencing a private prosecution against another club member for criminal defamation over derogatory remarks made during a club dinner toast in a case dubbed by national media as the “Cheers suit”: Straits Times Report on 11 November 1999

Real Estate Litigation

Within the sphere of real estate litigation, Julian also handles a wide array of Real Estate matters with a keen focus on property ownership disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, and collective sales.

Some of his notable cases in this field include:

  • Representing the majority owners in the successful collective sales of various developments, such as Peace Centre, Peace Mansion, Tulip Garden, Hollandia, Pearl Bank, Kemaman Point, Villa D’este, etc.
  • Representing a property developer before the Court of Appeal against an estate lessee in successfully resisting a multi-million dollar claim involving the interpretation of a rent review clause in a lease agreement. This case raises important issues on the admissibility of “pre-contractual or prior negotiations” as extrinsic evidence in contractual claims, and remains a key authority on contractual interpretation alongside Zurich Insurance and Sembcorp Marine: Lucky Realty Co Pte Ltd v HSBC Trustee (Singapore) Ltd [2015] SGCA 68.
  • Representing the majority owners in the successful collective sale of the Gillman Heights before the High Court and the Court of Appeal involving novel issues of law including the reference point for assessing the age of a privatized HUDC development in the absence of a Temporary Occupation Permit: Kok Chong Weng and others v Wiener Robert Lorenz and others (Ankerite Pte Ltd, intervener) [2009] SGCA 7.

Insolvency Litigation

Julian handles a diverse range of insolvency matters, such as debt recovery, debt restructuring, and enforcement actions.

Some of his notable cases in this field include:

  • Representing an individual creditor in successfully resisting a judicial management application by an insolvent online grocery and food delivery service company, and obtaining a winding-up order against the company: Straits Times report on 27 August 2019.
  • Representing a group of investors against a joint-venture entity in the oil and gas industry for collective claims in excess of USD 9 million involving complex cross-border disputes, and successfully resisting the insolvent entity’s attempts to resist liquidation: related to Canadian proceedings in Re CanaSea PetroGas Group Holdings Limited 2014 ONCA 824.
  • Representing a listed building construction company and its subsidiary in successfully implementing a Scheme of Arrangement involving creditors’ claims in excess of S$30 million. This was a novel case where the listed holding company whose shares were used as part of the scheme payment was offered protection in respect of debts incurred by the subsidiary.

Family, Wills, Trusts & Estate Litigation

Julian has extensive experience in handling litigation cases involving family, wills, trusts, and estate matters.

Some of his notable cases in this field include:

  • Representing an individual in challenging a purported last will on account of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity, and seeking declaratory orders in relation to certain inter vivos This case raises important questions of law on the jurisdiction of the Family Division of the High Court under Sections 22(1)(a) and 22(1)(b) of the Family Justice Act 2014: URF & URG v URH [2019] SGHCF 1.
  • Representing an estate in challenging a marriage posthumously and seeking a declaration that there was no valid marriage on voidable grounds under the Women’s Charter: Tan Ah Thee and Another (administrators of the estate of Tan Kiam Poh (alias Tan Gna Chua), deceased) v Lim Soo Foong [2009] SGHC 101.
  • Representing two siblings in successfully setting aside a purported last will in a multi-million dollar estate on the grounds of mental incapacity and undue influence, and obtaining a Court declaration that the estate assets be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

Talks and Academia

Julian is an active advocate of continuing professional development and has regularly been invited to give talks to professionals and participate as panel speakers on topics of importance. He also has a keen interest in mentoring undergraduate law students and post-graduate law students taking Part B Examinations conducted by the Singapore Institute of Legal Education.

Some of his modest contributions include:

  • Key speaker for the talk on “The Duty to Treat” organized by the Ministry of Health as part of the MOHH MMI Programme held at National University Hospital on 31 May 2023.
  • Panel speaker for the session on “Behind the Books: Actus Reus and Mens Rea in s 300(c) of the Penal Code 1871” organized by NUS Criminal Justice Club held at NUS Law Faculty on 15 March 2023.
  • Key speaker for the talk on “Doctor’s Reporting Obligations” organized by KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital (KKH) held at KKH on 26 November 2021.
  • Trainer for “Medical Expert Witness Training Course 2019” jointly organized by the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, the Singapore Academy of Law, and the Singapore Medical Association held at Family Justice Courts on 6 July 2019.
  • Key speaker for the talk on “SMC Complaints – A Doctor’s Nightmare” organized by Mount Elizabeth Hospital (MEH) as part of Continuing Medical Education (CME) held at MEH Orchard on 17 May 2019.
  • Panel speaker for the session on “Judicial Behaviour, the Dreaded and Desired: From the Lawyers’ Lenses” organized by the Singapore Judicial College held at Supreme Court Auditorium on 28 May 2015.
  • Panel speaker for “Legal Aspects & Implications of Screening” organized by Singapore General Hospital (SGH) as part of the 1st SGH Fetal Medicine Course held at SGH on 16 November 2007.
  • Panel speaker for “Managing Medical Mishaps – Medicolegal Perspectives” organized by and held at Singapore General Hospital on 30 August 2007.
  • Panel speaker for “Emerging Medicolegal Issues in Screening, Diagnosis, Surveillance and Treatment of Fetus” organized by OGSS Reducing Medical Litigation CME Series held at KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital on 29 January 2007.
  • Mentor for the course on “File Management System” – a compulsory module of Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations conducted by the Singapore Institute of Legal Education for post-graduate law students (from 2010 to 2022).
  • Tutor for Trial Advocacy Course conducted by the National University of Singapore for second-year law students from 2009 to 2013.
  • Honorary Legal Advisor to Sentosa Harbourfront Business Association in 2016.
  • Co-authored “First time a provisionally-registered doctor is struck off” case note on Singapore Medical Council v Chua Shunjie [2020] SGHC 239.
  • Co-authored “Facts or Interpretations?” case note on Lucky Realty Company Pte Ltd v HSBC Trustee (Singapore) Ltd [2015] SGCA 68.