Simon D. Powell
Simon Powell is an independent arbitrator in full time practice in Asia, operating under the banner of Powell Arbitration. Prior to establishing his own, independent practice he was a senior partner in a number of leading global law firms, including most recently Latham & Watkins LLP, and spent a number of years leading their arbitration and litigation practices and in a variety of management roles.
Simon has spent the last 27 years of his life as an arbitration and dispute resolution lawyer in Asia, focusing on complex commercial and corporate disputes. Prior to his practice in Asia, and qualification in Hong Kong, Simon worked in (and was admitted to the bars of) England and Wales and Australia. He is also admitted to the New York bar. Over the years he has consistently been recognised as one of the leading dispute resolution practitioners in Asia by various publications.
Simon has extensive experience acting as arbitrator and counsel. He is serving, or has served, as chair, party-appointed arbitrator and sole arbitrator in arbitrations, and has acted as counsel in numerous arbitrations in various jurisdictions across the globe, including Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Korea, conducted under a number of different rules, including those of SIAC, the ICC, the HKIAC, CIETAC and UNCITRAL.
Simon is also is a Solicitor-Advocate, with full rights of audience before all the Hong Kong civil courts, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), and a CEDR accredited mediator. He currently Chairs the ICC Nominations Committee in Hong Kong, and is a member of the Law Society’s Arbitration Appointments Committee.
What Others Say
Simon has garnered effusive praise from clients, colleagues and fellow practitioners for his skills as a lawyer in resolving disputes. The following quotes are taken from leading independent publications researching into the industry, and attest to Simon’s abilities, experience and knowledge. Simon is committed to bringing the same rigorous focus on efficiency and effectiveness to his practice as a full-time, independent arbitrator as that for which he has been consistently recognized throughout his many years of private practice in leading global law firms.
Simon Powell is held in high esteem by clients, who describe him as a "very hard-working and detail-oriented lawyer."
The "pragmatic and personable" Simon Powell is known for his litigation expertise and is well considered by his clients for his arbitration work.
Clients highlight his "ability to grasp technical concepts and the natural and effective manner with which he tends to ride the ebbs and flows of the case," adding: "Whatever is thrown at us he is able to handle in a professional and helpful manner."
Market commentators describe team head Simon Powell as a “top-quality practitioner”.
Clients praise Simon Powell’s “impressive ability to distil really challenging technical concepts and communicate them clearly”.
Simon Powell has a long- standing track record and is a well-known name in the market who is known for his “huge experience”.
Simon Powell is the key partner, providing “strong commercial practicality together with legal rigour”.
Simon Powell is the leader of the firm’s Asia litigation practice, and is described by one source as a “smart, dependable and savvy” lawyer who “grasps the details of a case quickly and accurately, which inspires confidence in clients”.
The team is led by the “unflappable, smart and savvy” Simon Powell. Powell is “one of the region’s leading disputes lawyers.”
Technically excellent and always looking very strategically and at the larger picture, Asia litigation chair Simon Powell has a “well-earned reputation for being very hard-working and extremely client-centred” and is regarded as a “safe pair of hands”.
One client speaks highly of Simon Powell’s “excellent response to technical matters in front of challenging and difficult opposition.” Peers add that he is “a very safe pair of hands – thoroughly good”.
Simon Powell has a wealth of experience in this market and is well regarded by sources for the strength of his expertise.
The “pragmatic, grounded and approachable” Simon Powell heads the team.
With over 20 years of legal experience, Simon Powell is “very knowledgeable” say interviewees, who also highlight that he “pays good attention to detail and is very good at communicating."
Simon Powell “is articulate and writes very well-thought-out pleadings,” one client remarked. Another enthused: “He knows the whole process and its nuances, and keeps us informed by staying on top of things.” His expertise lies in commercial arbitration.
Noted for his “can-do attitude,” Simon Powell leads the practice … “I think very highly of him” said one client, adding: “He has a very analytical mind and is meticulous. He understands the small pieces which form the bigger picture."
Simon Powell is “dedicated and capable – a top-notch lawyer who puts his head down and goes for it without blowing his own trumpet,” sources remark.
Simon Powell is a key factor to the team’s success. Client’s say: “He’s very easy to work with. He understands the legal aspects and is very commercial. He’s also calm and collected."
Simon Powell is praised as “a very good litigator who is diligent, methodical and thorough."
Practice leader Simon Powell is a “highly respected practitioner with a well-rounded mix of technical and commercial experience."
Simon Powell is “an accomplished lawyer,” specializing in complex commercial litigation matters in various areas, including TMT.
The Complete Picture
International Arbitration, Mediation and Adjudication
Contractual and Commercial Disputes
Asia and China-related Disputes
Global Investments, M&A and Private Equity Disputes
International and Cross-Border Disputes
Joint Venture, Shareholder and Partnership Disputes
Financial and Financial Services Disputes
International Sales of Goods, Commodities and Trade Law Disputes
Telecommunications and Technology Disputes
Entertainment, Sports and Media Disputes
Energy, Mining, Industrials and Manufacturing Disputes
Anti-Trust and Competition-related Disputes
Infrastructure Project Disputes
Real Estate Disputes
Powell Arbitration (2019-present)
– Founder and Principal, based in Hong Kong and offering services as a full-time, independent arbitrator across Asia and globally.
Latham & Watkins LLP (2010-2018)
– Managing Partner and Asia Chair of Litigation and Arbitration (Hong Kong)
Jones Day (2004-2010)
– Partner (Hong Kong)
– Partner (Hong Kong)
Simmons & Simmons (1992-2000)
– Associate (Hong Kong)
– Associate (Sydney, Australia)
Hill Taylor Dickinson (1987-1989)
– Solicitor (London, UK)
Simon is among the best-known arbitration and disputes lawyers in the region. His experience spans more than 30 years of legal practice, with the past 27 years having been spent in Asia, after commencing his practice in London before moving to Sydney and then Hong Kong in 1992. Simon specialises in complex commercial and corporate arbitration, as well as in insolvency situations. Over the years Simon has consistently been recognised as a leading dispute resolution practitioner in Asia. Simon has served as chair, party-appointed arbitrator and sole arbitrator on international arbitral panels, as well as acting as counsel in arbitrations in various jurisdictions including Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Korea conducted under a number of different rules, including those of SIAC, the ICC, the HKIAC, CIETAC and UNCITRAL.
Simon’s recent appointments as arbitrator and counsel are listed below.
- Appointed as the first co-arbitrator (for Claimant) in a 3-member panel by the HKIAC in an arbitration conducted under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (as revised in 2010) and the 2015 HKIAC Procedures for the Administration of Arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules in a commercial dispute between Cayman Islands and Mainland China entities regarding the alleged failure of Respondent to make payment of outstanding sums due in relation to a share purchase under a Share Purchase Agreement (governing law: Hong Kong).
- Appointed as sole arbitrator by the HKIAC in an arbitration conducted in accordance with the Expedited Procedure under the 2013 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules in a commercial dispute between a Samoan and a Hong Kong entity regarding the sale, purchase and delivery of iron ore in accordance with the chemical composition stipulated in the underlying contract (governing law: Hong Kong (by agreement of parties)). Award issued 12 December 2018.
- Appointed as Presiding Chair of a 3-member panel by the HKIAC in an arbitration under the 2013 HKIAC Administered Arbitration Rules in a dispute between a Hong Kong entity and a US individual arising out of a Loan Facility Agreement (governing law: Hong Kong).
- Counsel to a US-based PE fund in a HKIAC arbitration under New York law against a PRC entity in a multi-million dollar dispute over an investment in a Chinese mining company for its failure to honour the terms of a convertible bond.
- Counsel to an Austrian wind turbine design and technology company in a Singapore-seated ICC arbitration under Singapore law against an Indian renewable energy company in a dispute arising from a Wind Turbine License Agreement and related supply agreements.
- Counsel to a leading Scandinavian supplier of aluminium in its disputes with its mainland Chinese business partner in a CIETAC arbitration seated in China.
- Counsel to a fund managed by a China-based private equity firm in relation to a HKIAC arbitration under New York law against a Cayman Islands entity for a share of dividends and other distributions paid out by a Chinese investee company.
- Counsel to a US eBooks start-up company in a dispute with its business partner in China under a strategic alliance agreement in a HKIAC arbitration under Delaware law.
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb)
CEDR Accredited Mediator
Member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration
Member of the ICC-HK Standing Committee on Arbitration and ADR
Chair of the ICC-HK’s Nomination Sub-Committee (Member since 2015, Chair since 2017)
Member of the Arbitrators Admission Sub-Committee of the Hong Kong Law Society
Member of a number of Hong Kong Law Society Committees (Higher Rights of Audience Committee; Civil Litigation Committee; Insolvency Law Committee; and Competition Law Committee)
Member of the Higher Rights of Audience Examining Panel (Civil)
Simon has recently authored the following publications:
- The Insolvency chapter of Emden’s Construction Law (1st Hong Kong edition, 2017)
- The Hong Kong chapter of the Technology, Media and Telecommunication Review (6th to 9th Editions, 2015-18)
- The Hong Kong chapter for Getting the Deal Through’s Arbitration Guide (2017 and 2018)
- The Hong Kong chapter for Getting the Deal Through’s Dispute Resolution Guide (2014-19)
- The Cross-Border Issues chapter of Sweet & Maxwell’s Company Law in Hong Kong: Insolvency (2014-19)
- The Hong Kong chapter of Practical Law’s Dispute Resolution Global Guide (2014-18)
- The Hong Kong chapter of Thomson Reuters’ International Fraud and Asset Tracing (3rd and 4th Editions, 2014-15)
Simon is currently a member of the following Panels:
- Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)
- Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)
- Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC)