17 Aug 2021

Brick Court takes on second international QC from rival Essex Court in wake of China sanctions

Singapore-based Salim Moollan QC will join Vernon Flynn QC at new set in September as Essex Court secures two up-and-coming Chancery juniors

Essex Court Chambers is located in Lincoln's Inn Fields Shutterstock

Leading Singapore-based arbitration counsel Salim Moollan QC is leaving Essex Court Chambers after 23 years for the set’s close London rival Brick Court Chambers.

Moollan, who practises as a registered foreign lawyer in Singapore, is the fourth QC to leave Essex Court – and the second to land at Brick Court – in the wake of China’s controversial decision to target the set with sanctions in March after four tenants wrote a legal opinion on the treatment of the Uighurs.

Essex Court Chambers has, however, also demonstrated its pulling power, securing two up-and-coming junior Chancery counsel from rival sets in recent weeks, as well as a public law QC.

Moollan will join his new set on 1 September, according to a short post on LinkedIn, reuniting him with Vernon Flynn QC, who joined Brick Court in April from Essex Court. Dual-qualified in Mauritius and London, Moollan is best known for his international arbitration practice and works in the higher and appellate courts. He maintains active links with Mauritius, having chaired the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Congress there in 2016.

In July, he appeared in the Privy Council in the Betamax appeal from Mauritius, which considered the relationship between enforcement of international arbitration awards and conflicts with public policy.

Known for his specialism in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) work, he chairs the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s arbitration working group, which is currently considering reforms to ISDS rules. He has also held senior roles with the London Court of International Arbitration and is a past vice president of the ICC Court of Arbitration, representing Mauritius.

Essex Court last month took on two juniors with around five years of experience from leading Chancery sets. Christopher Lloyd has joined from Erskine Chambers in a move that reunites him with former colleague Tim Akkouh, who joined in 2019. Both barristers specialise in significant commercial fraud cases.

Sophia Hurst, who is registered with the Dubai International Financial Centre and qualified to appear before British Virgin Islands courts, has joined from Serle Court.

Also joining the set, in November, is the head of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s public international law team, Ben Juratowitch QC.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, the two other silks to have left Essex Court since the issuing of sanctions have secured significant appointments.

Arbitration specialist Toby Landau QC, who now practices independently in London and from the newly founded Duxton Hill Chambers in Singapore, has been elected as a vice president of Singapore’s International Arbitration Centre. His colleague, former Singapore attorney general, VK Rajah SC was also elected to a similar position on the ICC’s Court of Arbitration.

Jern-Fei Ng QC, who left Essex Court for 7 Bedford Row in London, has been appointed to the board of Maxwell Chambers, Singapore’s internationally acclaimed hub for dispute resolution.