LL.B. (Hons) (Warwick) (1994)
Barrister-at-Law, Middle Temple, England (1995)
Advocate and Solicitor, Singapore (1997)
Snr. Acc. Spec. (Maritime & Shipping), SAL (2019)
Areas of Practice
Senior Accredited Specialist in Maritime & Shipping Law
Litigation Star for Shipping – Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific, 2022
Distinguished Practitioner – Asialaw Profiles, 2023
Recommended Lawyer – Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2022
Singapore’s Top 100 Lawyers – Asia Business Law Journal, 2019
Murali has extensive experience and expertise in commercial and shipping matters. He has advised and acted in a wide range cases.
- Civil and Commercial: Company insolvency and judicial management, commercial contracts, joint ventures, distributorship and agency agreements, shareholders agreements, oppression of minority shareholders, breaches of fiduciary duty and fraud, tenancy agreements, employment contracts and professional negligence.
- Shipping: Charterparties, cargo claims, marine insurance, collisions, shipyard claims (including claims relating to repairs costs, injury to workers), casualty claims, laytime and demurrage claims and the arrest of vessels.
Some Notable Cases
- Acted for an international bank in a claim against a shipowner for wrongful release of the cargo. The case is reported (BNP Paribas v Bandung Shipping Pte Ltd (Shweta International Pte Ltd and another, third parties)  3 SLR(R) 611;  SGHC 111).
- Acted for the former Area President of an international shipping company in a claim by the company for breaches of fiduciary duty and/or his employment contract. The case went to the Court of Appeal and is reported (Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd and others v Dafni Igal and others  SGCA 45).
- Acted for a minority shareholder of joint venture vessel owing company in a claim against the company and other parties for fraud and oppression.
- Acted for a major sugar exporter/importer in Pakistan to set aside an international arbitration award against it in the region of USD15 million.
- Acted for a director and minority shareholder in a Singapore investment holding company in an oppression claim and a statutory derivative action against the company. The case went to the Court of Appeal and is reported (International Connex Holdings Pte Ltd v Chan Shing On and others  1 SLR(R) 925;  SGHC 228).
- Acted for a shipowner in a claim against a shipyard for the constructive total loss of its vessel due to the negligence of the yard. The case is reported (The “Rainbow Star”  3 SLR 1;  SGHC 35).
- Acted for a former director of a ship agency and brokerage company in a claim by the company for breaches of duty and fiduciary duty. The case went to the Court of Appeal and is reported (Chin Siew Seng v Quah Hun Kok Francis and another appeal  SGCA 44).
- Acted for a major international oilfield service company in a claim by a shipowner for damage caused to its vessel during the loading of clients’ cargo. The case went to the Court of Appeal and is reported (Subiaco (S) Pte Ltd v Baker Hughes Singapore Pte (trading as Baker Hughes Inteq)  1 SLR 129).
- Acted for a shipping company in a claim against a slot charterer for failing to load cargo on the vessel. The case went to the Court of Appeal where the client succeeded substantially. The case is reported (Freight Connect (S) Pte Ltd v Paragon Shipping Pte Ltd  SGCA 37).
- Acted for one of the largest Greek banks in the enforcement of a fleet mortgage with a claim value of approximately US$20 million where interveners applied to alter priorities. The case is reported (The “Posidon”  SGHC 138).
- Acted for an international recycling company against a local affiliate and its directors for breaches of contracts, enforcement of personal guarantees and injunctive relief. The cases are reported (RGA Holdings International Inc v Loh Choon Ping Robin and Others  SGCA 55 and Forest Fibers Inc v KK Asia Environmental Pte Ltd  SGHC 195).
- Acted for a major German engine manufacturer and repairer in a claim by a shipowner for faulty engine repair. The case involved complex engineering concepts and principles.
- Acted for a major Indian energy company in a claim against a US company in relation to a port and general services agreement.
- Acted for a major international coal trading company in a claim by an operator of floating cranes in Indonesia.
- Acted for charterers in a claim by shipowners for exceeding the charter duration. The case involved the concept of good faith where the charter period was given without guarantee.
- Acted for a Korean construction firm in a claim against its Korean employers under a contract for the supply and installation of a SPM Calm Buoy.
- Acted for a Singapore construction company in a claim against its Maldivian employers under a supply and installation contract for a resort in the Maldives.
- Acted for shipowners in a complex claim against the bareboat charterers. The case involved multiple jurisdictions and technical issues such as offshore gas field operations and arguments on force majeure.
- Acted for the sellers of shares in an international co-working company against the purchasers for a significant shortfall of the purchase price. The claims involved allegations of fraud, multiple cross-border entities and individuals.
- Acted for the purchasers of a shipping company in a claim against the sellers in a complex dispute relating to a latent deficiency in the calculation of the purchase price.
- Advised a global leader in marine services for offshore oil and gas in the structuring of their Thailand operations.
- Acted for a leading supplier of marine services for the offshore energy industry in the preparation of their master service agreements for operations in Indonesia and Vietnam.
- Acted for investors in a joint venture for the development of mobile and web applications for community centres across the globe involving the preparation of the shareholders’ agreement and other ancillary documentation.
- Advised one of the largest vessel fleet operators on its employment related issues.
- Advised a Singapore construction company on the terms for construction of a mock-up resort villa in the Republic of Palau.
- Advising a group of companies in relation to their oil and gas exploration activities in Southeast Asia, and in particular on issues of internal restructuring, contracts with regulatory authorities, licensing and cross-border arrangements with their partners
- Acted for sellers in respect of the acquisition of a port and marine logistics group by a UK-listed company
- Acted for borrowers in respect of a lease financing facility aggregating USD30 million for the purpose of financing the purchase and upgrading of several bulk carriers
- Acted for a multinational conglomerate in their international sale of wood pellets, which involved preparing and advising on the terms of sale and related shipping agreements, including the contract of affreightment for the shipment of the wood pellets.
- Acted for a F&B company on its set up in Singapore, which included advising on its employment/tenancy and investor related agreements.
- Acted for a business in its development of a novel web application to be launched in Singapore, which required consideration of the legality of the project under statutory board laws/rules, and included preparing and advising on investor related terms and platform terms.
- Acted for a leading global provider of contract automation and management systems focused on commodities and freight markets, which involved preparing their service contracts and other ancillary agreements pertaining to software integration with third party digital transformation systems.
- Acted for an international company in respect of its IEO project, which involved advising on the feasibility of its IEO business model, reviewing and amending the whitepapers, and preparing comprehensive legal opinions to be submitted to the Monetary Authority of Singapore or relevant exchanges.
- Acted for an international shipping company in the aquisition of a Singapore shipping agency from its JV partner.
Appointments, Directorships and Memberships
- Appointed to the Firm’s Exco since 2006.
- Appointed Deputy Managing Partner on 1 January 2013. Appointed Managing Partner on 1 July 2013.
- Appointed Director, JTJB Myanmar Co Ltd in 2013.
- Marine, Offshore, Oil and Gas Association of Singapore – Committee member (2008), Honorary Treasurer (2009)
- Singapore Indian Association – Chairman, Board of Games (2007 – 2013)
- Law Society of Singapore – Member of the Inquiry Panel (Current)
- Appointed by Tuvalu Ship Registry to practice Tuvalu law (February 2015)
- SAL-INSEAD Law Firm Leadership Programme (2018)
- Appointed to the FIDReC panel of Adjudicators (Jan 2020)
- Author, Lexis Nexis Annotated Laws of Singapore, Carriage of Good by Sea Act (2022)
- Draftsman Beware – Distributorship and Agency Agreements (Ahrals Centre for Business Forums)
- Ship Arrests – The Right of Arrest, Sistership Arrest and Damages for Wrongful Arrest (Lexis-Nexis 2nd Annual Maritime Law & Practice Conference)
- Common problems relating to Notices of Readiness and Laytime (Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers)
- Ship Arrests in Singapore (2ndGeneva Trade & Shipping Forum)
- EMPLOYER BEaWARE – Employment & HR Masterclass (Crown Leadership International Group)
- Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Business (JTJB Seminar Series)
- Duty of Disclosure in Insurance Contracts (JTJB Insurance Seminar)
- Common Areas of dispute in the Palm Oil Trade (Malaysian Palm Oil Council Pointers Seminar)
- Restraint of Trade – Employment & HR Masterclass (Crown Leadership International Group)
- Interim Relief in Litigation: The Mareva Injunction (International Business Law Conference, Bali)
- Walking the Plank: Practical and Legal Implications of Piracy (ADVOC 2nd Maritime Conference, Singapore)
- Maritime Arbitration – Dispute handling & solutions (Asia Pacific Maritime & Offshore Conference)
- Doing Business in Myanmar – Succeeding in Myanmar (SBF-WDA Internationalisation Series)
- Laycan, Laytime, Demurrage and Despatch (JTJB Eastern Maritime Seminar 2015)
- Restraint of Trade: Effectively Protecting your Trade Secrets, Confidential Information and Business Goodwill (SCCA Lunchtime Seminar)
- International Sanctions (3rd ADVOC Maritime Conference 2015)
- Enforcement of Arbitration Awards in Singapore (The 13th Annual ShipArrested.com Conference, 2016)
- Challenges in Enforcement of Arbitration Awards (Asia Pacific Marine Conference, 2016)
- Practical and Legal Implications of Piracy (SNI 6th Forum on STS Best Practices, 2016)
- Ship-to-Ship Transfers: Potential Legal Issues & Risk Management (SNI-IKMAL Joint Forum on STS Best Practices, 2016, Kuala Lumpur)
- Restructuring in the Offshore Marine Sector (Offshore Marine Breakfast, SeaAsia 2017, Singapore)
- STS Operations Involving Oil Tankers: The Law and Potential Liabilities (SNI-IKMAL 8th Joint Forum on STS Best Practices, 2017, Singapore)
- Leaders’ Forum – Attention on Deck (15th Edition Asia Pacific Maritime Conference & Exhibition, 2018, Singapore)
- Ship-to-Ship Transfers: A Series of Unfortunate Events – Potential Liabilities and Due Diligence (SNI-IKMAL Joint Forum on STS Best Practices, 2018, Singapore)
- Ship Collisions – Recovery of Repair Costs, Expenses & Damages (JTJB Seminar, 2018)
- Voyage Charterparties and Notices of Readiness (JTJB Seminar,2018)
- Ship-to-Ship Transfer Operations- LNG Bunkering: The Liability Gap (SNI- IKMAL 11th Joint Forum on STS Best Practices, 2018, Melaka)
- 2020 Global Sulphur Cap – Issues and Solutions (JTJB Seminar, 2019)
- A Practical Response To Upcoming Regulations (SeaAsia 2019, Singapore)
- IMO 2020 Global Sulphur Cap & Ballast Water Management Convention (The Shiparrested.com Network 16th Annual Members’ Conference 2019, Malta)
- IMO 2020 Global Sulphur Cap – Regulations, Issues and Solutions (Fitche & Co Seminar, 2019, Dubai)
- A Collison Case Study / IMO 2020 Global Sulphur Cap (International Institute of Marine Surveying Conference, 2019, Singapore)
- Regulatory Landscape for The Maritime Environment and Decarbonization – Moderator (5th LNG & Clean Fuel Forum, 2019, Singapore)
- Current and future regulatory challenges (Asian Sulphur Cap Conference, 2019, Singapore)
- Meeting the maritime emissions challenge – Sulphur Cap 2020 and beyond (Asian Sulphur Cap Conference, 2019, Singapore)
- Trade Sanctions Compliance for Maritime – Global Trade Controls, Transaction Monitoring & Sanctions Compliance (Informaconnect Maritime Trading Academy, 2020, Singapore)
- Sanctions and STS – Perils and Pitfalls (Singapore Nautical Institute, 2020, Singapore)
- Due Diligence in STS Operations (Dynamarine, 2021, Singapore)
- IMO 2020 – A Retrospect and Lessons for The Future (Sea Asia, 2021, Singapore)
- Liability of a Master – Criminal liability and Defences (Singapore Nautical Institute, 2021, Singapore)
- Trade Sanctions Compliance for Maritime [Global Trade Controls, Transaction Monitoring & Sanctions Compliance] (Informaconnect Maritime Academy, 2021, Singapore)
- Force Majeure in the Era of Covid (Mediacomz, 2021, Singapore)
- Cybersecurity and Shipping – Risks and Best Practices (JTJB Seminar, 2022, Singapore)
- Make the Choice – Litigation, Arbitration, Mediation (JTJB Global Network Seminar, 2022, Singapore)