Joseph Lee

Joint Managing Director
Advocate and Solicitor, Singapore

josephlee@lvmlawchambers.com
+65 6206 7881

Joseph is the Joint Managing Director of LVM Law Chambers. He is one of the leading disputes resolution lawyers of his generation and has been recognised by the Legal 500 as a Next Generation Partner for dispute resolution in 2021. Clients describe him as a “very astute and sharp litigator who looks at issues thoroughly and is quick at strategizing and finding solutions to protect his clients’ interests”.

Joseph has a broad range of advocacy experience and has appeared as lead counsel in the highest levels of the Singapore courts in cases which have shaped Singapore law in commercially significant ways. These cases include LH Aluminium Industries Pte Ltd v Newcon Builders Pte Ltd [2015] 1 SLR 648, a leading case in the interpretation of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act, and Clearlab SG Pte Ltd v Ma Zhi and another [2014] SGHC 221, a key case on equitable compensation and trade secrets. He also has an active arbitration practice with disputes amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars and is extremely familiar with arbitration across various jurisdictions involving different arbitration rules.

Besides the courts and arbitral tribunals, Joseph also regularly appears before quasi-judicial tribunals such as the Strata Titles Board, the Appeals Board for Land Acquisitions and the Income Tax Board of Review.

While Joseph’s practice covers a multitude of sectors, he has developed particular expertise in the fields of property, construction, oil and gas, commodities, international trade, banking, and governmental institutions. In particular, Joseph has a ‘strong following among clients in China and Hong Kong’ (2021 Legal 500) given his excellent grasp of Mandarin and a keen understanding of Chinese business culture. He regularly acts for numerous state-owned enterprises and blue-chip companies listed in China and Hong Kong.

Outside of the law, Joseph has served as an independent director with a public listed company and on the Disciplinary Panel of the Council for Estate Agencies as well as the Singapore Dental Association.

Case Highlights

Construction

  • Acting for an insurer in arbitration proceedings concerning a flyover collapse which led to a construction worker’s death.
  • Acted for the developer of luxury waterfront villas in a claim for over S$1.8 million in damages for defects affecting a bungalow worth S$14.32 million; a notable decision concerning the survival of a common law right to claim damages for defects. Sandy Island Pte Ltd v Thio Keng Thay [2020] 2 SLR 1089.
  • Acted for the main contractor of a condominium project against the developer for wrongful termination and call on performance bond for the full sum of the contract – a decision notable for the principles relating to the use of Calderbank letters. CKR Contract Services Pte Ltd v Asplenium Land Pte Ltd [2020] SGHC 81
  • Acted for the main contractor of a commercial building development against a subcontractor in challenging an adjudication application under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act. Lendlease Singapore Pte Ltd v M & S Management & Contracts Services Pte Ltd [2019] SGHC 139
  • Acted for the builder of an industrial building development in a dispute with its sub-contractor over wrongful termination and liquidated damages. CAA Technologies Pte Ltd v Newcon Builders Pte Ltd [2016] SGHC 246
  • Acted for a main contractor in a setting aside application relating to the Security of Payment Act – a decision notable for the Court’s interpretation of the provisions of the Act. LH Aluminium Industries Pte Ltd v Newcon Builders Pte Ltd [2015] 1 SLR 648
  • Acted for two doctors against a S$30 million claim for breach of contract of a share purchase agreement and for fraudulent misrepresentation. Wang Xiaopu v Goh Seng Heng and another [2019] SGHC 284

Insurance

  • Acted for an insurance company against an insured car rental business in a claim for S$500,000; a decision notable for the principles surrounding contractual interpretation. MS First Capital Insurance Ltd v Smart Automobile Pte Ltd [2020] SGHC 256

Property and Real Estate

  • Acted for the purchaser of two units of a commercial building development against the developer to exercise a contractual right to terminate the contract and secure a refund; a decision notable for the Court’s interpretation of Section 49 of the 2002 Arbitration Act. Oxley Consortium Pte Ltd v Geetex Enterprises Singapore (Pte) Ltd and another matter [2021] 2 SLR 782
  • Acted for the General Manager of a Country Club against the President of the club against an action in conspiracy to injury by defamation and negligence. Terrence Fernandez v Lim Shao Ying Genevieve and another [2020] SGHC 278
  • Acted for a MCST in a claim for encroachment against the commercial units; a decision notable for its affirmation of the MCST’s authority to govern and considerations for the grant of an injunction to enforce by-laws. The Management Corporation Strata Title Plan No. 3405 v Raffles Place Bistro Pte Ltd [2016] SGDC 247

Employment

  • Acted for a contact lens manufacturer in a claim against ex-employees for breach of confidentiality and theft of trade secrets – a decision notable for the principles relating to equitable compensation and trade secrets. Clearlab SG Pte Ltd v Ting Chong Chai and others [2014] SGHC 221; Clearlab SG Pte Ltd v Ma Zhi and another [2016] SGCA 31

Trusts

  • Acted for the Singapore Tourism Board in a claim for the return of sponsorship funds extended to concert organisers – a landmark decision concerning principles governing the piercing of the corporate veil and Quistclose trusts. Singapore Tourism Board v Children’s Media Ltd and others [2010] SGHC 334

Restructuring and Insolvency

  • Acted for the directors in a claim for breach of director’s duties in the context of a restructuring. Parakou Investment Holdings Pte Ltd and another v Parakou Shipping Pte Ltd (in liquidation) and other appeals [2018] SGCA 3

Wills and Probate

  • Acted for the beneficiary of a testamentary estate worth over S$ 10million in a claim for revocation of the grant of probate; a decision notable for the principles relating to testamentary capacity and undue influence. UWF and another v UWH and another [2021] 4 SLR 314

Private Equity and Investments

  • Acted for a co-founder and substantial shareholder of a Singapore-incorporated company listed on the SGX’s Catalist board against the company and its parent company in a claim for S$4.5 million; a decision notable for the principles surrounding unlawful means conspiracy, and joint and several liability. Crest Capital Asia Pte Ltd and others v OUE Lippo Healthcare Ltd (formerly known as International Healthway Corp Ltd) and another and other appeals [2021] 1 SLR 1337
  • Acted against the four organizers of a Ponzi scheme; a decision notable for the applicable principles surrounding whether a lawyer or law firm should be restrained from acting for a plaintiff against the same counterparty in a previous set of proceedings resolved by means of a settlement or mediation. LVM Law Chambers LLC v Wan Hoe Keet and another and another matter [2020] 1 SLR 1083
  • Acted for a doctor against a Seychelles-incorporated investment vehicle and its director-shareholder in a claim surrounding the sale of over $14 million worth of shares – a landmark decision affirming the purpose of pleadings as ensuring that each party is aware of the respective arguments against them and that no party is taken by surprise. Liberty Sky Investments Ltd v Aesthetic Medical Partners Pte Ltd and other appeals and another matter [2020] 1 SLR 606
  • Acted for a Hong Kong investor in a claim for S$7.4 million against four organizers of an investment scheme, and sought a Mareva order to freeze S$ 13.1 million of their assets. Chan Pik Sun v Wan Hoe Keet and others [2020] SGHC 137

Appointments

  • Member, Law Society of Singapore
  • Member, Singapore Academy of Law
  • Disciplinary Panel, Council for Estate Agents

Accolades

  • 40 most influential lawyers in Singapore Aged 40 and Under by the Singapore Business Review in 2015.
  • Next Generation Partner for Dispute Resolution by Legal 500 – 2021.
  • Next Generation Partner by Legal 500 – 2022.
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