Professor Dr Colin ONG KC

Qualifications

  • LL.B. (Hons) University Of Sheffield, 1990
  • Barrister at Law of Inner Temple, 1991
  • Advocate & Solicitor, Brunei, 1998
  • LL.M, Queen Mary, London, 1992
  • Ph.D, Queen Mary, London, 1995
  • Diploma, International Commercial Arbitration, 2003
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute Arbitrators, 2003
  • Chartered Arbitrator, 2004
  • Fellow, Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators, 2004
  • Fellow, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, 2005
  • Advocate & Solicitor, Supreme Court of Singapore, 2012
  • King’s Counsel of England and Wales, 2017

Contact Details

D: +65 6837 8100
E: colinong@eldanlaw.com



Colin Ong is a member of the Brunei, English and Singapore Bars. He is highly experienced as barrister, lead counsel and arbitrator in large or complex international commercial disputes.

He is often engaged by other Singapore law firms and law firms in Brunei; England and others to act as lead counsel in arbitrations and in court matters. He is also regularly instructed as lead counsel and to provide advocacy and strategic advice to law firms in Brunei, China, England, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries in large quantum international arbitration matters taking place in those countries as well as in major seats of arbitration.

In 2010, he became the first non-head of state or senior judge from ASEAN to be elected as a Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple. Dr. Ong is also the first ASEAN national lawyer to be appointed English Queen’s Counsel (now King’s Counsel).

He is well known for his work in areas including banking and finance, construction and infrastructure projects (airports, bridges, pipe-lines; ports; roads), insurance, energy disputes (coal mining and supply disputes, production sharing contracts, electricity supply, gas contracts and oil exploration joint ventures), intellectual property, information technology, insolvency shipping, telecoms, technology transfer, and general commercial trade related matters.

He has acted as lead counsel or counsel in many arbitrations governed under civil law as well as cases governed under common law applying most major institutional rules as well as ad hoc cases under UNCITRAL rules. Dr Ong has led teams that have included Senior Counsel in Hong Kong and Singapore, and also other English Silks in complex large quantum arbitrations pertaining to business and commercial disputes, several of which have exceeded claims of US$1 Billion.

His clients have included state owned entities, financial institutions and other major commercial corporations and high net-worth individuals. Dr Ong is equally comfortable in acting in cases governed under Civil law as well as cases governed under Common law.

Some notable reported local cases he has been involved in include acting as lead counsel for the Indonesian national gas company before the Singapore Court of Appeal in PT Perusahaan Gas Negara v CRW [2015] SGCA 30. At the 2016 GAR Awards in Shanghai, the set of split decisions by the Court of Appeal was named runner up as the most important decision globally of 2015. Dr Ong was lead counsel in an earlier international arbitration which subsequently led to FIDIC amending the Standard 1999 FIDIC Form Contracts in April 2013 and issuing an urgent FIDIC Guidance Memorandum.

Dr Ong is one of the very few 5 individuals in the World who has maintained his position as a top 30 Global Elite International Arbitration Lawyer in the biennial Expert Guides: Best of the Best (2017 to 2021). In addition, he is also continuously ranked as a Global Thought Leader by Who’s Who Legal since 2017 to date in Arbitration, Construction and Litigation. He is the first English and Singapore lawyer to have been appointed to sit on China’s Supreme People’s Court International Commercial Expert Committee.  He is a trilingual lawyer in Bahasa Indonesia/Malay, Chinese and English. He also drafts awards in Bahasa Indonesia/Malay.

Academic and Professional Qualifications

Dr Ong was among the first few Chartered Arbitrators in the ASEAN region, He has taught at various CIArb and SIArb fellowship courses over a 15 year period. He also teaches advocacy in various countries and has published in this area as well as on arbitration. He is also the co-author of ‘Costs in International Arbitration’ (Lexis Nexis 2013), the first specialised book on costs in international arbitration. He is also co-editor of ‘Interim Measures in International Arbitration‘ (Juris 2014).  Dr Ong is on the editorial board of several international journals, including Arbitration (CIArb), Butterworths Journal of International Banking & Financial Law, Badan Arbitrase Nasional Indonesia Journal, China-ASEAN Law Review Dispute Resolution International and Maritime Risk International.

Arbitral Appointments and Arbitration Counsel 

Dr Ong has been appointed arbitrator or has acted as counsel in over 350 international cases in both commercial and ad hoc investor state disputes governed under most major institutional rules including AAA, BANI, CIETAC, HKIAC, ICC, ICDR, KLRCA, LCIA, LMAA, SIAC, SCMA, TAI, UNCITRAL and WIPO rules. The cases have also been governed by Civil and Common Law and many applicable laws including English, French; Hong Kong, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Laos Malaysian, Mongolian, New York, Philippine, PRC, Singapore, Sri Lankan; Swiss, Thai, UAE and Vietnam law. He was brought up in a trilingual background and his languages include English, Chinese and Malay. He is one of the very few lawyers and arbitrators able to handle Indonesia-related arbitration cases conducted in Bahasa Indonesia and governed under Indonesian law. He has also been involved in many PRC law governed arbitrations and has heard many cases in China and Hong Kong.

He has been and is currently visiting professor at several Civil law countries as well in Common law countries. Some of the universities where he has been or is still visiting professor of law include including the University of Hong Kong; National University of Malaysia (UKM), the National University of Singapore, University of Malaya, Kings College (London), Universitas Indonesia, Padjajaran University (Indonesia) and Queen Mary, University of London.

He has given expert evidence under the Brunei/Malaysian/Indian Contracts Acts and Specific Relief Acts and is regularly consulted by law firms from those jurisdictions on complex disputes. 

Arbitral Appointments Board

Throughout his career, Dr Ong has held and continues to hold pre-eminent positions in many of the major international arbitration institutions.  He is the current President of the Arbitration Association Brunei Darussalam (AABD); Chairman of the International Advisory Board of Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC); Advisor to Governing Council, Badan Arbitrase Nasional Indonesia (BANI); Chairman of Advisory Board, Japan Institute for International Arbitration Research and Training  (JIIART); Vice President, Asia Pacific Regional Arbitration Group; Council Member of Hong Kong Centre of International Commercial Arbitration; and Appointments Council of Chinese-European Arbitration Centre, Germany. He is a UK Government nominated appointee arbitrator panel for UK Free Trade Agreements (2021). He is a member of the IBA Task Force on Privilege in International Arbitration;  Member, ICC Commission Task force on ADR and Arbitration (since 2020); Member, ICC Commission on Arbitration (Task Force on the New York Convention) (since 2015). Co-chair of the IBA Arbitration Asia Pacific Group (until 1 Jan 2023). He was formerly a founding member and Appointments Council, Cambodian National Commercial Arbitration Centre.

Directory Recommendations

UK Private Practice Power List Arbitration (October 2022)

Colin Ong KC – ‘An incredibly responsive, even-handed, open-minded and perfectly prepared international arbitrator. He has a brilliant mind, is extremely hard working and willing to draft even if not presiding.’

Legal 500 London Bar International Arbitration (Leading counsel as arbitrators) 2022

Colin Ong QC is ‘a talented strategist who is able to think very quickly on his feet” in complex commercial proceedings.’”

Who’s Who Legal Thought Leaders Commercial Litigation 2022

“a very intuitive and knowledgeable arbitrator. One of the most highly regarded arbitration practitioners in Asia. He is extremely well known as arbitrator and counsel”

Who’s Who Legal Thought Leaders Arbitration 2022

“He is always involved in the biggest commercial, construction, energy and M&A cases …very methodical and diligent”

Who’s Who Legal Banking 2022

“Colin Ong QC is widely acclaimed by sources who laud his agile handling of complex banking and finance disputes and deep knowledge of APAC banking law.”

Who’s Who Legal South East Asia Banking – Finance 2022

“Colin Ong QC is ‘well sought after in the Southeast Asian market’ and comes highly esteemed by market sources for his ‘excellent strategy’ on high-profile commercial arbitrations.

Who’s Who Legal Southeast Asia – Arbitration 2022

“Colin Ong QC ranks highly among peers thanks to his strong track record as counsel and arbitrator in a broad range of banking and finance matters.”

Who’s Who Legal Southeast Asia – Banking 2022

“Colin Ong QC is renowned for his prolific experience in commercial litigation proceedings across a diverse range of sectors, from banking to energy disputes.”

Who’s Who Legal Southeast Asia – Litigation 2022

“Colin Ong QC is recognised by market sources as an authority on the full spectrum of construction and infrastructure matters and is highly sought after for his work as both arbitrator and counsel.”

Who’s Who Legal Southeast Asia – Southeast Asia – Construction 2022

“Colin Ong QC stands out in the market as a go-to mediator with significant experience acting on a range of construction, insurance, IP and mining disputes.”

Who’s Who Legal Southeast Asia – Commercial Mediation 2022

Colin Ong QC – 36 Stone ‘He is lethal in his case strategy and as a cross-examiner; he is surgical sharp like a par excellence surgeon, though he is indeed a doctor of law.’ “

Legal 500 The English Bar (AP) – Commercial Leading Silk 2022

“An exceptionally experienced international arbitrator who is extremely responsive, intellectually brilliant, diligent and very fair.”

Legal 500 London Bar International Arbitration (Leading counsel as arbitrators) 2021

“Colin Ong QC – 36 Stone ‘He is a very charismatic advocate who is exceptionally creative and a genius-level strategist.’ “

Legal 500 The English Bar (AP) – Construction, Energy and Infrastructure (Leading Silk 2021)

“Colin Ong QC is “an excellent arbitrator” and lead counsel according to sources, one of whom adds: “I would say that he is a true leader in the world of arbitration.”

Who’s Who Legal Southeast Asia – Arbitration 2021

“Colin Ong QC is one of the region’s top litigators. He comes highly recommended by sources thanks to his vast experience handling large-scale commercial disputes.”

Who’s Who Legal Southeast Asia – Litigation 2021

“Colin Ong QC enjoys a stellar reputation for his impressive practice, which encompasses the full range of commercial disputes.”

Who’s Who Legal Southeast Asia – Mediation 2021

“Colin Ong QC “has many fans” in the regional arbitration space, one interviewee characterising him as a “super, very commercial, proactive and hands-on practitioner.” Drawing on experience acquired in the arbitration of over 190 cases -and of appearances as counsel in a still greater number – he sits, often as chair, on cases arising from an impressive variety of practice areas, including construction, energy, IP and shipping.”

Chambers & Partners Most In Demand Arbitrators 2021

“Colin Ong QC is an “extremely good strategist”, who is “exceptionally good at thinking out of the box” for his work on an array of disputes matters from mining and energy disputes, to banking and finance mandates.””

WWL Litigation Thought Leaders 2021

“”A talented strategist who is able to think very quickly on his feet””His mastery of civil law gives him an immeasurable strategic advantage””He has a profound knowledge of the law and procedural practice””His breadth of experience in arbitration is truly impressive””He is admired across the world as one of the most successful arbitration practitioners in Southeast Asia””

Who’s Who Legal Arbitration 2021

“A superb tactician with brilliant strategies who is exceptionally adept at thinking out of the box complex issues and marshall a highly effective case for his clients.”

Legal 500 The English Bar (AP) – Construction, Energy and Infrastructure (Leading Silk 2021)

“Very hard working, on top of material and the law, and experienced in both common and civil law.”

Legal 500 London Bar International Arbitration (Leading counsel as arbitrators) 2021

“Colin Ong QC is widely renowned as an “extremely knowledgeable” practitioner who is “very committed and hardworking”. He adroitly handles all types of commercial law, including notable experience in banking matters.”

Who’s Who Legal Banking & Finance 2021

“Colin Ong QC is a pre-eminent figure in the region, where he enjoys a stellar reputation for his work handling commercial litigation across a range of sectors, from banking to construction.”

WWL Litigation 2020

“Colin Ong QC is a staple of the international arbitration field, and earns extensive recommendations from peers around the world who are “happy to endorse him for his strong work as arbitrator”, also winning widespread plaudits for his work as lead counsel in both civil and common law matters. “He is always on top of the detail as well as the big-picture issues,” adds one source.”

WWL Arbitration 2020

“Colin Ong QC is praised for his “strategic mind” and “wide exposure to many different modes of dispute resolution”. Sources further exalt his “mastery of civil law, which gives him an immeasurable strategic advantage.”

WWL Mediation 2020

“Colin Ong QC is “highly recommended” by peers for his profound expertise as lead counsel and arbitrator in high-value construction disputes.”

WWL Construction 2020

“Colin Ong QC wins widespread praise from market commentators for his outstanding work on high-value banking disputes.”

WWL Banking Finance 2020

“Colin Ong QC – 36 Stone ‘He has a brain the size of a planet.’”

Legal 500 Asia Pacific Leading Silks (Commercial) 2020

“Colin Ong QC as “undoubtedly on of the star advocates and arbitrators “in the construction market. He impresses clients with his “mastery of the detail”.”

Who’s Who Legal Construction 2020

“Colin Ong QC is identified as a “top person in the field,” one interviewee reporting that he is “always very well prepared and all over the detail and asks very tough questions,” “Parties like it that he’s on the ball, tries to get to the heart of matters quickly and is robust and efficient.” Particularly praised for his handling of construction-related matters, he is also familiar with energy, IP and shipping issues”

Chambers & Partners 2019 Arbitration (International): Most In Demand Arbitrators (Asia-Pacific Region)

“Colin Ong continues to receive strong praise from clients, who say that “he is an extremely creative and charismatic lawyer” and “the best cross-examiner that I have seen.” He is acclaimed by additional sources as “a star performer with a brilliant legal mind, and an excellent advocate with a compelling style, who gets to the heart of complex matters very quickly.”

Chambers & Partners, Asia-Pacific 2019

“Colin Ong QC maintains a worldwide reputation for his skill in arbitration, standing out as “a bright, resourceful and energetic lawyer with great experience in both civil and common law”. As arbitrator he is a “well-organised, well-informed and well-rounded” presence who “writes superb awards”, while as counsel he is lauded as a “formidable cross-examiner”

Who’s Who Legal Arbitration 2019

“Colin Ong is a distinguished litigator who garners wide praise for his experience in disputes spanning a broad range of industries and jurisdictions.”

Who’s Who Legal Litigation 2019

“Sources identify Colin Ong QC as ‘undoubtedly one of the star advocates and arbitrators’ in the construction market. He impresses clients with his ‘mastery of the detail’. “

Who’s Who Legal – Construction 2019

“Colin Ong is deeply respected in the market for his impressive arbitration and litigation practice, with commentators hailing him as ‘a brilliant strategist and a very polished performer in court.’ Sources note that he has ‘the supreme ability to explain the most complex of arguments in a simple yet eloquent way,’ as well as abilities in the finance, construction and energy sectors where he is ‘a serious talent.’”

Who’s Who Legal Litigation 2018

“Colin Ong QC is a global arbitration expert, acting as counsel and arbitrator on a range of energy, mining and telecoms disputes, among others.”

Who’s Who Legal Construction 2018

“A world-renowned arbitration counsel who ‘always manages to make complicated issues appear unbelievably straightforward’ resulting in ‘arbitrators always wanting to hear what he has to say.’ Another source adds: ‘Colin is always able to think out of the box and can always find an innovative solution to the bleakest of problems.’”

Who’s Who Legal Arbitration Analysis 2018

“He impresses as someone with fine commercial judgment and a commanding grasp of international arbitration.”

Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2018

“A very knowledgeable practitioner, easy to work with and very innovative in providing solutions.”

Who’s Who Legal Arbitration Analysis 2017

“A very able advocate and arbitrator with a supreme command of legal issues.”

Legal 500 Asia-Pacific

“Very experienced in international arbitration.”

Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2016

“Colin Ong is ‘an undisputed superstar’ in the market, and is known for his work in a range of areas including infrastructure, energy and shipping.”

Who’s Who Legal Litigation Analysis 2016

“Colin Ong is noted for his skill and experience in litigation and arbitration. He is active in matters across South-East Asia and is noted for his ability to summarise and condense complex legal arguments and concepts for his clients’ benefit.”

Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific 2014

“He is always exceptionally fast in absorbing points and extremely patient.”

Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific 2013

“Dr Ong’s unsurpassed legal and technical knowledge of the oil and gas industry and construction industry.”

IFLR 1000 2012

“He is my recommended lawyer for arbitration… there are few of his standing in Southeast Asia.”

IFLR 1000 2010

“Colin Ong QC is a highly respected figure among peers in the international banking market who praise him for his first-class expertise handling related disputes and transactional advice”

Who’s Who Legal – Banking 2009

“Mastery of detail in commercial deals and is an outstanding and tactically lethal advocate.”

Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2009

Current Positions on International Committees

He is a Member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration (Task Force on the New York Convention and Task Force of ADR); Advisory Committee Member of the China – ASEAN Legal Research Centre; Vice President of Asia Pacific Regional Arbitration Group (APRAG); Member of the ICCA-Queen Mary Task Force on Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration and a Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Arbitration Asia-Pacific Group (until January 2023).

Previous Positions on International Committees 

He has been a consultant to the ASEAN Centre for Energy in Jakarta. He has been a member of the panel of the ASEAN Protocol on Enhanced Dispute Settlement Mechanism (nominee of Brunei Darussalam). In 2011, Dr Ong was listed by Global Arbitration Review as one of the 45 leading international arbitration practitioners under the age of 45. He is a former vice chairman of the IBA arbitration committee; a former vice president of the LCIA Asia Pacific Users Council and a former Vice Chair of the Arbitration Committee of the Inter Pacific Bar Association. He was one of the draftsmen of the current Brunei domestic and international arbitration statutes and was a core drafting member of the Malaysian PAM 2006 Standard Building Forms of Contract.