Raphael Kok Chi Ren

Senior Associate

Raphael is a civil and commercial litigator. His core practice encompasses shareholder disputes, international arbitration, energy disputes, and asset recovery. He has represented clients from a myriad of industries, including power generation, property development, estate plantation, retail distributorship, banking and finance, telecommunications, shipping and haulage, investment ventures, healthcare, tourism and hospitality, and sports. Some of his trials and appeals have been reported in law journals.

He specialises in multi-fora litigation. He has provided research assistance to senior counsel from England, Australia, and Singapore, particularly on the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, and challenges to the jurisdiction of arbitral tribunals at the interim phase (anti-arbitration injunctions and stay of proceedings). He is well-versed with the various dispute resolution frameworks under public international law (ICJ and ICSID) and private international law (UNCITRAL and PCA).

He also advises on emerging areas of law shaped by digital technologies, especially data privacy, e-commerce, and online media regulation. He is well-versed with the EU General Data Protection Regulation and Digital Services Act. In 2021, he assisted a self-made billionaire to secure an interim injunction to restrain an online news portal from publishing private information leaked from the infamous ‘Pandora Papers’.

Since Lim Chee Wee Partnership was founded in 2020, he has been instrumental in the formation and training of the firm’s pupils and paralegals. Upon joining the firm in 2022, he continues to be actively involved in knowledge management and talent acquisition.

Raphael graduated from the University of Malaya. In a career spanning over 10 years, he has amassed a diverse blend of experiences in private practice, corporate in-house, and academic research. Upon admission to the Malaysian Bar in 2009, he practised under a senior counsel and founding partner of a leading Malaysian law firm. Subsequently, he joined Shell as a corporate counsel overseeing the Asia-Pacific region, where he was awarded the Best Malaysian In-House Lawyer of the Year by ASEAN Legal Business in 2014. Upon returning to University of Malaya, he taught advocacy and drafting, completed a postgraduate degree, and published articles in high-indexed academic journals.

Key Practice Areas

Civil and Commercial Litigation
  • Acted as junior counsel in a High Court trial to determine the true beneficial ownership of 114,575 acres of rubber estate lands valued over RM1 billion between a Malaysian statutory body and cooperative of smallholders: see Koperasi Ladang Pekebun-pekebun Kecil Malaysia Bhd v Pihak Berkuasa Kemajuan Pekebun-pekebun Kecil Perusahaan Getah [2014] 2 CLJ 711.
  • Acted as junior counsel in a protracted dispute between two property developers spawning several satellite suits in the High Courts of Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam with one suit appealed until the Federal Court (involving the removal of private caveats and setting aside of consent orders): see Taipan Focus Sdn Bhd v Tunku Mudzaffar b Tunku Mustapha [2011] 1 MLJ 441.
  • Acted as junior counsel to defend a patent agent sued for professional negligence by a former client in a High Court trial, which involved difficult questions of law on the admissibility of an affidavit affirmed by a senior officer from the Intellectual Property Division passing away before taking the witness stand: see Tube Home (M) Sdn Bhd v P Shanmugam & Anor [2010] 10 CLJ 678.
  • Acted as junior counsel in the High Court until the Federal Court to contest a building contractor’s claim that retention sum is trust monies rather than a mere contractual debt: see Qimonda Malaysia Sdn Bhd v Sediabena Sdn Bhd [2011] 8 CLJ 269.
  • Acted as junior counsel to defend a sporting association sued for negligence by a pit crew member suffering horrific burns after being engulfed in fire due to a botched refueling exercise during a midnight race at Sepang International Circuit: see Jordan Saw Yu Huan v Low Suan Chuan & Ors [2013] 4 MLJ 137.
Corporate Litigation and Shareholder Disputes
  • Acting as junior counsel in a Federal Court appeal to resolve novel questions of law on the proper legal test and guiding principles governing applications for leave by a director on behalf of a joint venture company to commence derivative action against the company’s directors pursuant to Section 348 of the Companies Act 2016.
  • Acted as junior counsel in a High Court trial in the successful recovery of shares in a hotel chain worth RM546 million: see Aset Nusantara Sdn Bhd v Ekran Berhad [2010] 7 AMR 197.
  • Acted as junior counsel in the successful defence against a claim by an insolvent developer against a land-owning vehicle and their common shareholders to recover payments made prior to the developer’s liquidation allegedly rendered void due to undue preference: see Indran Development Sdn Bhd (in liquidation) v Coralville Holdings Sdn Bhd & Ors [2011] MLJU 1445.
  • Acted as junior counsel in an oppression suit brought by minority shareholders of a joint venture company incorporated to develop oil palm plantations (resulting to a successful settlement by way of buy-out).
International Arbitration
  • Assisted an English Queen’s Counsel on the novel issue of whether an English High Court judgement validating a London arbitral award can be registered in Malaysia under the Malaysian Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act 1958 (as an alternative to directly enforcing the award under the Malaysian Arbitration Act 2005).
  • Assisted an English Queen’s Counsel on a Privy Council appeal on whether winding-up proceedings of a joint venture company presented on just and equitable grounds can be stayed pending arbitration on the basis that the underlying dispute falls within the scope of the shareholders’ arbitration agreement and therefore arbitrable (or capable of partially being ‘hived off’ to arbitration).
  • Assisted an Australian Senior Counsel on the novel issue of whether an arbitral award resolving substantive issues subject to a previous arbitral award can be aside on the ground of ‘public policy’ under New York Convention for violating res judicata.
Oil & Gas and Energy Disputes
  • Advised a multinational energy company on claims made by a Malaysian joint venture partner on the revenue apportionment of a production sharing contract over a block off the coast of Sarawak exceeding US$50 million.
  • Advised the international trading units of a multinational energy company located across Singapore, Dubai, and London on charter-party and oil bunkering recovery claims (issuance of notice, port tracking and ship arrest).
  • Acted as junior counsel in a claim brought by a statutory pension fund to recover the sum of RM55 million invested into a failed coal mining plant project in Sarawak.
Fraud and Asset Recovery
  • Assisted the preparation of civil claims against professionals facilitating the fraudulent misappropriation of over US$1 billion from a sovereign wealth fund masterminded by an infamous international fugitive indicted by the US Department of Justice on behest of a former public official facing criminal conviction.
  • Advising companies and directors embroiled in the investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on the potential mismanagement of governmental procurement contracts arising from the troubled ‘Littoral Combat Ship’ project under the Malaysian Ministry of Defence valued over RM9 billion.
  • Assisting in a civil suit and application for Mareva freezing injunctions by a bank against its former Managing Director and numerous other defendants for the fraudulent misappropriation of a RM400 million loan to finance a RM1.3 billion telecommunications project.
Data Privacy
  • Acted as junior counsel for a self-made billionaire to secure an interim injunction to restrain an online news portal from publishing private information leaked from the infamous ‘Pandora Papers’ supplemented by an anonymity order to seal all court documents from public viewing.
  • Acting as junior counsel in a civil suit to secure the safe migration and maintenance of critical IT infrastructure enabling over 200,000 companies and 23 governmental bodies to process applications of over 500,000 expatriates under the Malaysian TalentCorp program.
  • Advised prominent individuals on the removal of information over their private affairs from online news portals and Google search results (‘right to be forgotten’).
  • Assisted the drafting and deployment of a company-wide data privacy policy in compliance with the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act 2010.
Qualifications and Professional Affiliations
Qualifications

  • Advocate & Solicitor, High Court of Malaya (2009)
  • LL.M., University of Malaya (2022)
  • L.L.B. (Best Graduating Student), University of Malaya (2008)

 
Professional Affiliations

  • Assistant Secretary, Asian Society of International Law (Malaysian Chapter)
  • Member, Asian International Arbitration Centre Young Practitioners’ Group
Publications and Talks

Authored the following journal articles (peer-reviewed):

  • ‘How to Identify Insiders and Intruders Disguising as Investors in the Assignment of Investments’ [2022] 71(2) International & Comparative Law Quarterly 357
  • ‘Is There a Private Right to Privacy in Malaysia?’ [2022] 30(1) IIUM Law Journal 1
  • ‘Online Intermediary Liability in Malaysia: From Delfi to Malaysiakini’ [2021] 3 Malayan Law Journal cclxxx
  • ‘Suppressing Fake News or Chilling Free Speech: Are the Regulatory Regimes of Malaysia and Singapore Compatible with International Law?’ [2020] 47(1) Journal of Malaysian Comparative Law 25
  • ‘Data Protection’ in Malaysian Blockchain Regulatory Report (2018)
  • University of Malaya Malaysian Centre of Regulatory Studies 159

 
Authored the following newsletter articles:

  • ‘Judicial Management: Are Companies in Capital Markets Excluded?’ Legal Focus (28 May 2020)
  • ‘Is the Entire Agreement Clause a Magical Formula Against Collateral Contracts?’ Legal Herald (April-June 2011)

 
Presented the following talks:
 

  • ‘Policy Advisory Opinion 2021-01 on the Sharing of Private Residential Information’ Meta Oversight Board Asia-Pacific Roundtable Discussion (Virtual) (7 October 2021)
  • ‘Rethinking Data Protection in a Decentralized World & Consumer Rights: In Blockchain We Trust?’ Malaysian Blockchain Regulatory Report Launch and Forum (Kuala Lumpur) (5 July 2018)