Charles Phua

Charles Phua


Charles Phua is the Head of the Insurance Litigation Practice Group.

Charles completed his tertiary education at the University of Sheffield with Honours in 1993. In 1994, he was called to the English Bar and in the following year, the Singapore Bar.

He started his practice at a major law firm as a maritime lawyer dealing with both wet marine work as well as marine insurance matters.

His work as a maritime Lawyer involved him working with foreign counsel to resolve claims arising from Bills of Lading with foreign jurisdiction clauses. He also worked very closely with loss adjusters on such matters.

He has also dealt with issues on ship construction matters as well as industrial accidents that occurred at the shipyard, most notably in the case involving an explosion of a vessel, WILSON RUBY, at Sembawang Shipyard in 1995.

He also advises and acts for listed companies in their corporate and litigation matters.

Charles won a 5-day High Court trial against a subcontractor, with the central issue of the trial on construction accounts.

He also acted for a listed company in the entertainment industry in a franchise agreement dispute with an overseas franchisor. He successfully defended and prevented the injunction filed in the High Court by the franchisor against his clients.

He has also successfully obtained an injunction to restrain the acts of infringement for his clients.

He also acted for a foreign manufacturing company in defending a High Court claim by a local agent in respect of commissions. After a 4-day trial, he successfully dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim with costs payable by the Plaintiff.

Charles also has wide experience in handling claims on industrial accidents involving workers or sub-contractors under the Workman’s Compensation or Contractor All Risk insurance policies as a result of his engagement in handling both insurance and construction claims.

He conducted an 8½-day trial at the Ministry of Manpower and successfully argued for a dismissal of a claim.

In the last 20 years, he has focused on developing insurance practice. He regularly advises his insurance clients on policy issues, involving personal accident policies, professional indemnity policies, public liability policies, machinery all risk and others.

In this regard, he has resolved numerous claims, and in many cases, at a significantly reduced quantum. He has also fought trials and obtained Judgments on less favourable terms than the Offers to Settle filed for property damage and personal injury matters and obtained indemnity costs against the Plaintiffs in those proceedings. He has especially been entrusted with high quantum value personal injury and dependency claims brought against his insurance clients.

He conducted a 3-day trial in a High Court trial for a personal injury claim involving a tetraplegic Plaintiff. He successfully reduced the Plaintiff’s claim to 30% liability against his clients’ insured on account that the Plaintiff was substantially liable for the said accident.

He has also represented the underwriters in defending a claim made by the insured under the policy. The matter concerned a consignment of cigarettes allegedly damaged onboard a vessel. He was able to demonstrate to the Court during the trial that the consignment of cigarettes consisted of contraband, and hence the risk event was not covered under the policy. The insured immediately withdrew their claim midway through the trial.

He dismissed a claim made under a Home Insurance Policy and successfully argued that the Policy does not cover the Plaintiff’s claim.

He has also successfully argued that his clients’ Professional Indemnity policy is not engaged involving land surveyors, where the policy exposure was more than $3,000,000.00.

He also acted for his clients on bond calls on performance bonds and managed to defend on a call for a $5,000,000.00 advance bond.

He was instructed to handle the claim in respect of a flood along Bukit Timah and was the first lawyer to be involved in the State Court’s inaugural expert conferencing hearing.

He was engaged by HL Assurance in 2013 when they started operations in Singapore to review their policies.

He has also been entrusted by many of his clients to undertake their debts and bond recovery matters.


English, Chinese

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