Kian Sing Toh, SC

Senior Partner and Head, Shipping & International Trade
Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Practice Area:

Shipping & International Trade

LLB (Hons), National University of Singapore
Bachelor of Civil Law (1st Class), University of Oxford
Advocate & Solicitor, Singapore

T +65 6232 0614

Toh Kian Sing SC is a Senior Partner and Head of the Shipping & International Trade Practice Group of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP. He was appointed Senior Counsel in January 2007.

He brings to his law practice a background of academic excellence and experience having taught full time and subsequently, as an Adjunct Associate Professor, carriage of goods by sea, admiralty practice and conflict of law with the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore. ‘His academic background gives him the edge in highly complex and challenging disputes’ (Chambers Asia 2009); recent ranking journals also describe him as “detailed and hardworking” (Chambers Asia, 2010) and “very difficult person to be up against” (Chambers Asia, 2011). Kian Sing is described as an 'expert’ in admiralty law in Asia Pacific Legal 500 (2008/2009). He also authored the only book (now into the second edition) on Admiralty Law and Practice in Singapore which is relied on by both practitioners and academics alike locally and in other jurisdictions.

Kian Sing's fluency in both written and spoken Chinese also makes him the preferred counsel for a great number of shipping companies, trading houses, state owned enterprises and banking institutions from the People's Republic of China. He is also a Visiting Professor of two Chinese universities, East China University of Politics and Law (华东政法大学) and Dalian Maritime University (大连海事大学). He has acted as arbitrator in arbitrations conducted in Chinese.

He has also handled many Sino-foreign joint venture disputes as counsel and arbitrator in Singapore, Hong Kong and China. Such joint venture disputes relate to diverse areas of business like hotel management, technology transfer, sub-sea projects, food production etc.

Apart from a busy court practice, he also acts as counsel in shipping and commodity arbitrations (in Singapore and elsewhere) and accepts appointments to act as arbitrator in these areas. He is on the panel of arbitrators of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration, China Maritime Arbitration Commission, Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration and has accepted appointments to act in ICC arbitrations. He is a Fellow of the UK Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.


Kian Sing has nearly two decades’ experience handling trade finance matters, both of a contentious and non-contentious nature. He acted as counsel in many of the reported Singapore decisions involving letters of credit as well as advised Singapore banks and commodity houses in trade finance litigation in jurisdictions such as the UK, New York, Korea, China, India and even Iraq. He also handles drafting and non-contentious work for banks and is responsible for preparing the complete set of letter of credit forms for several leading trade finance banks in Singapore. He has written on the subject of letters of credit and warehouse financing and regularly lectures on these areas.

His scope of expertise includes bills of lading, charterparty, marine insurance and reinsurance, shipbuilding, ship sale and purchase litigation as well as arbitration, oil trading, oil rigs and commodity disputes as well as letters of credit litigation. His practice also includes managing complex cross border litigation and arbitration in areas such as shipping, commodity, trade finance, international banking, insurance and reinsurance.

Reported Judgments
  •  Abani Trading Pte Ltd v BNP Paribas (2014)
  •  Zweite Ms “Philippa Schulte” Shipping GmbH & Co KG v PSA Corp Ltd (2012)
  •  Hanwha Non-Life Insurance Co Ltd v Alba Pte Ltd (2012)
  •  Prestige Marine Services Pte Ltd v Marubeni International Petroleum (S) Pte Ltd (2012)
  •  The “Makassar Caraka Jaya Niaga III-39” (2011)
  •  Transocean Offshore International Ventures Ltd v Burgundy Global Exploration Corporation  (2010), (2014)
  •  Alliance Concrete Singapore Pte Ltd v Comfort Resources Pte Ltd (2009)
  •  Banque Cantonale Vaudoise v Fujitrans (Singapore) Pte Ltd (2007)
  •  Swift-Fortune Ltd v Magnifica Marine SA (2006)
  •  UCO Bank v Golden Shore Transportation Pte Ltd (2005)
  •  Standard Chartered Bank v Korea Exchange Bank (2005)
  •  Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd v Cho Hung Bank (2004)
  •  Mizuho Corporate Bank Limited v Woori Bank (2004)
  •  Sinogreat International Trading Ltd v Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd (2004)
  •  Keppel TatLee Bank Ltd v Bandung Shipping Pte Ltd (2003)
  •  Banque Cantonale Vaudoise v Fujitrans (Singapore) Pte Ltd (2003)
  •  The “Rainbow Spring” (2003)
  •  UCO Bank v Golden View Maritime Pte Ltd (2003)
  •  The “An Ji Jiang” (2003)
  •  Beam Technology Pte Ltd v Standard Chartered Bank (2002)
  •  Tapematic SpA v Wirana Pte Ltd (2002)
  •  PSA v Korea Exchange Bank (2001)
  •  Credit Agricole Indosuez v Banque Nationale de Paris (2001)
  •  Everbright Commercial Enterprises Pte Ltd v AXA Insurance Singapore Pte Ltd (2001)
  •  The “Salina” (1999)
Memberships / Directorships
  • Member, Law Society of Singapore 
  • Member, Singapore Academy of Law 
  • Member, Regional Panel of Arbitrators appointed by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (since 2003) 
  • Panel of Arbitrators in the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (since 2010) 
  • Member of the General Committee and Panel of Arbitrators of Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (since 2004) 
  • Supporting Member, London Maritime Arbitrators Association 
  • Arbitrator on Panel, China Maritime Arbitration Commission (since 2005) 
  • Fellow, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (since 2006) 
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (since 2007)
  • Admiralty Law and Practice, 633 pages (Butterworths, 1998); 2nd Edition of Admiralty Law and Practice published in 2007 (cited in various Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Hong Kong judgments)
  • Contributing Author, The Law and Practice of Documentary Letters of Credit (2010)
  • Contributor to Singapore Civil Procedure (2003) and Annual Review of Singapore Cases (Admiralty and Shipping) (since 2005)
B.Selected Articles (in reverse order of chronology)
  • The Possessory Lien in Admiralty Actions in Rem published in [1997] Singapore Journal of Legal Studies at page 291.
  • Of Himalaya Clauses, Bailment, Choice of Law and Jurisdiction – Recent Privy Council Perspectives from The Makhutai [1996] Vol. 10 Journal of Contract Law at page 212 (co-authored with Associate Professor Andrew Phang, as he then was). Citied in Burrows, Sinn and Todd, Law of Contract in New Zealand (a successor to Cheshire & Fifoot’s Law of Contract, 8th NZ Edition), at page 473.
  • Of Straight and Switch Bills of Lading, [1996] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly at page 416.
  • Jurisdiction Clauses in Bills of Lading, [1995] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly at page 183. Cited in Dicey & Morris, Conflict of Laws, 12th Edition, 4th Supplement (1997) at page 68.
  • Obtaining Jurisdiction over Foreign Companies, [1995] Singapore Academy Journal of Law at page 171.
  • Conflict of Laws Implication of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992, [1994] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly at page 280. (Cited in Jackson, Enforcement of Maritime Claims, 2nd Edition (1996), at pages 243, 573 and 599; Benjamin’s Sale of Goods, 5th Edition (1997) Page 1833; cited with approval in Primetrade AG v Ythan ltd [2006] 1 All ER 367).
  • Re Charged Card: Problems, Practice and Statutory Reversal published in the July 1993 volume of the Asia Business Law Review at page 82 (co-authored with Mr V.K. Rajah, SC, as he then was).
  • Illegal Contracts in the Conflict of Laws: Some Recent Developments in Singapore published in the 1993 Volume of the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, page 214 (cited in Peh Teck Quee v Bayerische Landesbank Girozentrale [1999] 3 SLR(R) 842).
  • Stay of Actions based on Exclusive Jurisdiction Clauses under English and Singapore Law, published in the 1991 Volume of the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies at page 103. Cited in Briggs and Rees, Civil Jurisdiction and Judgment, (1992) at pages 184 and 185.