Linklaters hires Norton Rose Fulbright arbitration partner in Singapore to lead Asia team

Andrew Battisson has returned to a Magic Circle UK firm having first made partner at Allen & Overy

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Linklaters has strengthened its arbitration bench with the hire of partner Andrew Battisson in Singapore from Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) to lead its Asia team.

The move sees Battisson return to a UK Magic Circle firm having previously made partner at Allen & Overy (A&O) in 2016 before joining NRF in Sydney in 2018. 

Battisson, who is dual-qualified in Australia and England and Wales law, will head up Linklaters’ Asia international arbitration practice, which includes partners Jelita Panjaitan and Rebecca James in Singapore and Justin Tang in Hong Kong.

Battisson has more than 20 years of experience advising and representing clients in international commercial arbitration and investor-state arbitration before all the major arbitral institutions, as well in related enforcement litigation, alongside a developing practice as an arbitrator. 

His sectoral experience plays to Linklaters’ client base and those of its alliance partners, Allens in Australia and South Africa’s Webber Wentzel, with which it maintains a close regional relationship. His financial services and telecoms expertise will be precious, as staples for Linklaters, but his energy and infrastructure connections are regionally in demand.

He is well connected in arbitration circles as a member of the ICC Australia Nominations Commission and as a fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, Australia’s leading arbitral institution.

However, it is in Singapore where Battisson is expected to focus his efforts given that the city-state’s disputes offering is arguably regionally pre-eminent. The local disputes hiring market has shown signs of demand-led fluidity, with many local law firms setting up disputes boutiques, while the arrival of leading silk, Jern-Fei Ng KC, at Duxton Hill Chambers, signals Singaporean support for premium-level advocacy.

Jelita Pandjaitan, who leads Linklaters’ disputes team in Asia, said: “In all our key markets in Asia, arbitration continues to be the preferred method of resolving disputes, and we are seeing strong demand from our clients. 

“Andrew will further boost our capability to support our clients’ large-scale, complex, cross-border international arbitration needs. Andrew’s extensive experience and relevant sectoral expertise impeccably complement our existing practice. He is well-known and liked in the field – as impressive in advocacy as in strategy.”

His arrival further strengthens Linklaters’ Asia international arbitration practice following James’ promotion to the partnership this year and the elevation of Hansel Ng, who is also based in Singapore, to counsel. 

Last year, Linklaters’ Indonesian associate firm Widyawan & Partners hired Narendra Adiyasa from Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung to lead its disputes and employment practices and in January Linklaters’ China joint operation partner, Zhao Sheng Law Firm, hired Ellen Zhang as a partner from Fangda Partners, where she was a counsel.

Battisson arrives at his new firm with a strong track record. With Matthew Gearing KC, he had been integral to developing A&O’s regional arbitration network as its first Singapore-based arbitration partner, working closely with Gearing in Hong Kong before leaving to join NRF.

His recruitment by NRF was crucial to its Asian arbitral expansion. His exit, five years on, illustrates the attraction of the firm’s talent base in a vibrant lateral hiring market for disputes specialists, with the firm having lost London-based EMEA head of disputes Michael Godden to A&O in January and two construction and energy partners to Baker McKenzie in Sydney. 

NRF’s EMEA head of arbitration, Sherina Petit, commented: “We wish Andrew all the very best in his future endeavours.”

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