Rebecca Chew is the Head of Medical, Healthcare & Life Sciences Practice and the Co-Head of China Related Investment Disputes Practice.
She joined Rajah & Tann in 1992 as a junior lawyer focusing on contentious court work. She has been practising in the firm from the time when it was considered a small firm to its current size today as the largest full service law firm in Singapore and South East Asia.
Rebecca has been named by objective legal observers including Chambers Global, Chambers Asia-Pacific and Client Choice –International Guide as a leading lawyer.
“...technically sound, pragmatic and methodical…an expert on anything related to banking, her remit includes general litigation, customer relations and loans recovery for financial institutions. She is also celebrated for her expertise in recovering loans for various PRC banks.”
Hailed by interviewees for “her speed and knowledge”. Won plaudits for offering “immediate advice” and “staying on top of complicated files”. Sources also remarked on her Chinese language skills which prove “useful for documentation and correspondence”.
Recently, Rebecca was named Woman Lawyer of the Year by ALB SE Asia Law Awards (2022), for her remarkable achievements in the practice of law and the larger community.
She has also been identified as the Health and Wellness Advocate of the Year by ALB’s Women in Law Awards (2021), and recognised as an Outstanding Lawyer by Acritas Star (2021).
She was a finalist for Woman Lawyer of the Year (Law Firm) by ALB SE Asia Law Awards (2020), and was given an individual award for Best in Dispute Resolution at the Euromoney Legal Media Group Asia Women in Business Law Awards 2017.
She worked with some of the best and brightest legal minds in Singapore and gained much valuable insight and experience as a result. Just about 3 to 4 years after joining Rajah & Tann, Rebecca was offered partnership, and this gave her a bigger role in managing relationships with the firm’s institutional clients which included many prominent financial institutions. This enabled her to gain even greater exposure in the arena of dispute resolution and offered her many opportunities to take on cases as lead counsel and to expand her area of practice. With her strong Chinese language ability, she is an integral part of the firm’s China Practice and is very much sought after by clients in handling disputes involving projects in Mainland China or businesses from Mainland China. In 2009, she was asked to take on a larger role in the management of the Firm in charge of its Human Resource in addition to her role as a senior litigator in the firm.
Rebecca started as a junior lawyer who was given the responsibility for setting up and organising the system for the loan recovery work for financial institutions such as the Bank of China. From there, she actively advises local and foreign banks on many issues relating to their banking business. Much of her work involves managing and advising banking clients on their claims and disputes as well as various issues involving banker-customer relationship. For example, she has represented Bank of China in a reported case concerning paramount mortgagee’s rights. She was also part of the team that represented Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB in the high profile case against Asia Pacific Brewery Pte Ltd relating to the fraud perpetrated by Chia Teck Leng on the Brewery and the Bank. As a senior litigator in the firm, she is also responsible for ensuring the high quality of litigation service provided by the firm to its clients.
In addition to banking/commercial litigation, Rebecca Chew has substantial experience in the area of disputes involving joint ventures and projects in Mainland China and entities from Mainland China. She is extremely conversant in Mandarin and has successfully represented PRC companies and banks in a number of high profile disputes. In a recent High Court trial in Singapore, she successfully represented a Mainland Chinese company to sue on a Chinese Court Judgment and obtain full recovery from the Judgment Debtor in Singapore. This is the first reported case of a Singapore Supreme Court recognising and enforcing a Chinese Court Judgment in Singapore. This decision has far-reaching implication not only in the Singapore context but for claims filed in Mainland China for recovery of sums due under a Singapore Court Judgment.
Rebecca’s experience covers other areas of the law including disciplinary proceedings particularly for medical professionals and medical malpractice. She actively advises medical institutions and healthcare boards as well as patients in the area of medical ethics, malpractice and management. She is a Domain B member of the National Healthcare Group DSRB and has been actively involved in the ethical review of clinical trial protocols. As mentioned, she is particularly experienced in the area of public law and administration, medical ethics, disciplinary proceedings for professionals. Rebecca has represented a number of statutory boards including the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board, Singapore Nursing Board, Singapore Pharmacy Council etc in disciplinary proceedings and in advising them on various issues involving administration of complaints etc. She has successfully represented the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board in a number of notable landmark decisions.
Notable Reported Judgments
- Bombay Talkies v. UOB  SGCA 66
- Ramesh Nagrani v. UOB  SGHC 266
- Giant Light Metal Technology (Kunshan) Co. Ltd v Aksa Far East Pte Ltd  2 SLR 545
- The Bank of East Asia Ltd v. Quah Su-Ling  SGHC 52
- Rafat Ali Rizvi v. ING Bank NV Hong Kong Branch  SGHC 114
- Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (Publ) Singapore Branch v. Asia Pacific Breweries (S) Pte Ltd & anor  SGCA 22
- Huang Danmin v Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board  SGHC 152
- Yip Kok Seng v. Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board  SGHC 226
- Raffles Money Change Pte Ltd (formerly known as Honest Money Changer Pte Ltd) v. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB  SGHC 37
- Chai Chwan v. Singapore Medical Council  SGHC 115
- Surender Singh s/o Jagdish Singh & Ors v. Li Man Kay, Consigliere David Terence & National University Hospital (Singapore) Pte Ltd  SGHC 168
- Ho Paul v. Singapore Medical Council  SGHC 9
- Public Prosecutor v. Zhong Zhi Li  SGDC 126
- United Overseas Bank Ltd v. Bank of China  1 SLR 57
- Tung Hui Mannequin Industries v. Tenet Insurance Co Ltd and Others  SGHC 69
- Tang Kin Hwa v. Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners’ Board  SGHC 153.
- Bank of China Ltd v. Yong Tze Enterprise (Pte) Ltd and another  SGHC 68
- Bintan Lagoon Resort Ltd  SGHC 151
- Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank AG v. Asia Pacific Breweries (Singapore) Pte Ltd and Other Applications  4 SLR 39;  SGHC 155
Memberships / Directorships
- Member, National Healthcare Group’s DSRB Domain B Committee (2004 – Present)
- Member, Expert Workgroup for Drafting of Guidelines on appropriate use of National Electronic Health Records (NEHR) by the Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health Singapore
- Member, Transplant Ethics Committee, Ministry of Health
- Member, Research and Ethics Committee, The National University Hospital (2000 – 2004)
- Member, Teaching Faculty of the Singapore Medical Association Centre for Medical Ethics & Professionalism
- Member, National Organ Transplant Ethics Committee Panel of Laypersons
- Member, Law Reform Committee of the Singapore Academy of Law
- Specialist Mediator, Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC)
- Doctors’ Fees After Susan Lim’s Case – Implications for the Medical Profession in SMA News November 2013 issue
- Author of the Chapter on Banker and Customer in the Book “Law Relating to Specific Contracts in Singapore” Second Edition, Sweet & Maxwell/ Thomson Reuters
- Report of the Law Reform Committee Singapore Academy of Law on Part Payments & Deposits in December 2015
- Author of article for SMA News on “Principles of Natural Justice in Disciplinary Hearings” published in March/April 2016