Shobna’s expertise is in high-value cross-border commercial litigation, arbitration, insolvency and appellate matters.
Shobna’s hallmark is her pursuit of excellence in everything that she does. Coupled with her intellect, intensity and drive to achieve the best commercial outcomes for clients, she is sought after as lead counsel for complex, technical and high-stakes cases. Shobna was recognised as one of the top lawyers under 40 by Singapore Business Review in 2017, and in 2023 commended as “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Asia Pacific.
Areas of Practice
Expertise in Complex Commercial Litigation
Shobna has an active counsel practice and appears before the Singapore High Court and Court of Appeal on complex commercial matters. She is often instructed by local and international law firms to argue cutting edge and novel points of law in relation to arbitration, banking and finance, evidence and procedure, equity and trust, restitution and unjust enrichment, insolvency and restructuring, and professional negligence including in the context of disciplinary proceedings. Instructing counsel on a recent matter says that “Shobna leaves no stone unturned and is my first choice of counsel for referral work in particular on high stakes, complex commercial matters.”
Industry Recognition and Testimonials
Shobna has been ranked as a “Litigation Star” Benchmark Asia Pacific 2023 with a co-counsel commending her as “extremely bright and hard-working, and a real pleasure to deal with. Shobna a creative thinker and excellent on the law. A rare find.” An instructing counsel has noted that “Shobna is a superb litigator who is going right to the top of the profession. Truly excellent.”
Financial Services and Contractual Litigation
Shobna has had significant experience in financial services litigation including under standard forms such as the GMRA and ISDA forms of contract, litigation arising from arbitration proceedings, joint venture / shareholder disputes, and technology-related matters. Shobna’s clients include global financial institutions, major private equity funds and multinational corporations across a range of industries and sectors.
Clientele and Industry Reach
Shobna also has experience in the renewables space and in the evolving crypto and blockchain arena. A global banking client of Shobna’s commends her as “our go to lawyer, who achieves the strategic outcomes we want in court or before tribunals. Even on the rare occasion that Shobna loses, we know and have every confidence that she fought our case with tenacity and to the best of her ability.”
Technical and Forensic Skills
In trial work, Shobna attracts technical briefs as she has a forensic eye, she is quick on the uptake of facts and is able to distil complex matters very simply to courts and Tribunals. A client notes that “Shobna’s dedication to her craft is second to none and rare in someone so young. Shobna is obviously intelligent and quick to identify underlying issues. This, together with her sense of curiosity and eagerness to understand the applicability of the law to business issues, is a potent combination in any counsel. Shobna’s humility and willingness to constantly learn and improve herself is commendable and allows her to bring much more to the table than the competition.”
On the arbitration front, Shobna has led complex cross-border matters under the auspices of the SIAC, ICC, LCIA and HKIAC Rules. She is very familiar with the procedural innovations under each of these rules, and regularly contributes to the thought leadership discourse and debates in the international arbitration global community. Shobna is also a Fellow with the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.
International Law and Special Interests
Shobna has also been involved in cutting-edge international law briefs including boundary disputes, law of the sea matters and advising clients on investment treaty claims against Asian states. Shobna has a particular interest in climate change-related and more generally international disputes in the ESG space.
Shobna’s recent cases as lead counsel include:
Lead counsel in an appeal to the Singapore Court of Appeal successfully representing an international bank on novel and complex points of insolvency and arbitration law
- Lead counsel in an appeal to the Singapore Court of Appeal against SIA in a matter arising from a breach of an aircraft purchase agreement
- Lead counsel instructed on a complex commercial appeal before the Singapore Court of Appeal concerning novel issues of equity and trust as well as fiduciary duties in the context of a partnership arrangement.
- Lead counsel in an international arbitration representing an international bank under a derivatives agreement for a claim worth over USD250million
- Lead counsel advising the liquidators of company that has been impacted by the Hin Leong saga, which is one of the largest current corporate failures / companies to be restructured in Singapore to date.
- Lead counsel in a complex banking dispute before the Singapore High Court involving conflict of law principles and intestacy laws
- Lead counsel representing a landlord creditor in objecting to a scheme of arrangement filed under the IRDA
- Lead counsel acting for a major Russian bank in enforcement proceedings concerning a foreign court judgment worth over USD 300million
- Lead counsel successfully representing VTB Bank in heavily contested winding-up proceedings concerning a debt of US$250 million as the lead counsel before the Singapore High Court.
- Lead counsel in a complex employment dispute against a billion dollar American MNC with allegations of breach of confidentiality and confidential information levelled against our clients.
- Lead counsel in a employment dispute against a big tech company for wrongful dismissal and / or recognition of various implied terms owed by the employer to the employee at law.
- Lead counsel in a novel and complex medical negligence matter involving a loss of life of an infant.
- Lead counsel in an appeal to the High Court on the first reported case under the COVID-19 Temporary measures act
Shobna’s other experience includes:
- Successfully represented PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd (“PNGSDP”) at the Singapore High Court in a US$1.4 billion in a Suit commenced by the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. The appeal against the judgement by the High Court was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in January 2020.
- Independent State of Papua New Guinea v PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd  SGHC 68
- Representing VTB Bank at the Court of Appeal in 2019, where the Court considered for the first time complex points of law regarding the interaction between arbitration and insolvency.
AnAn Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd v VTB Bank (Public Joint Stock Co)  1 SGCA 33
- Represented an Indian listed company in a dispute arising out of a Joint venture agreement valued at more than US$800 million. Allegations of fraud and conspiracy were the central matters being contested at trial.
- Successfully representing a Thai conglomerate in a dispute against an Australian listed company for breaches of representations and warranties under a sale and purchase agreement. The Suit concerned breaches of GAAP accounting standards and other complex financial misconduct allegations. Successfully defending against a counter-claim of, among others, conspiracy-related allegations.
- Successfully representing a French Pharmaceutical Company in a dispute with its Indonesian partner under a Distributorship Agreement. Damages claimed were in excess of USD100M, which were successfully dismissed.
- Represented a US investment bank in a High Court Suit concerning a property-related joint venture (valued at close to USD 600M) with a Singapore-listed company
Representing a mining conglomerate in a London seated LCIA arbitration under a shareholder / joint venture agreement (worth USD500M) in relation to coal mines in Africa.
Prior and present employment
- Equity Partner, Tan, Rajah & Cheah May 2021 – September 2023
- Partner, Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP 2017 – May 2021
- Senior Associate, Clifford Chance, Singapore 2013 – 2017
- Associate, Allen & Overy, Singapore, 2012 – 2013
- Senior Associate, Drew & Napier, Singapore, 2008 – 2012
- Justice Law Clerk to the Court of Appeal / High Court of Singapore, 2006 – 2007
- Fellow, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (SIARB)
- Young Members Group Executive Committee, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Singapore branch)
- SAL-INSEAD Law Firm Leadership Programme 2022
- Founding Member of Women in Practice Sub-Committee, Law Society of Singapore
- Professional Development and Practice Sub-committee (PDPC) under Professional Affairs Committee, Singapore Academy of Law (SAL)
- Board of Advisors, UK Singapore Law Students Society (UKSLSS)
- Appointed member of IPBA Host Committee, Singapore Annual Conference 2019
- Faculty, Singapore International Arbitration Academy, Centre for International Law at National University of Singapore
- Faculty, Singapore Institute of Legal Education, Arbitration and Professional Responsibility
- Assisting Counsel, LASCO (Legal Assistance for Capital Offences) Scheme
- LLB (First Class Hons), National University of Singapore
- Placed on Deans List in 4 years at National University of Singapore, Law School 2002-2006