Kia Pheng practiced as a disputes lawyer for about 30 years.He regularly appears as lead counsel in both trial work and at appellate hearings in the Supreme Court as well as in arbitration proceedings. His areas of practice include insolvency, bankruptcy, civil, corporate and commercial litigation, shareholder disputes, property-related disputes, family disputes and employment disputes.
For banking and insolvency matters, Kia Pheng acts for insolvency practitioners, banks and debtors as well. His insolvency practice includes representing parties in cases of recognition of foreign insolvency proceedings and matters relating to US Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. A number of Kia Pheng’s cases have been reported in the Singapore Law Reports for being legally significant.
Notably, in 2006, Kia Pheng acted for a debtor company to successfully argue that under the provisions of the Companies Act, an action instituted by the judicial managers of the company to challenge a transaction entered into by the company with a third party on the ground of unfair preference or being at an undervalue, cannot be continued by the liquidators when judicial management of the company was followed by a winding up order before the action was adjudicated upon. This issue was described by the Court of Appeal in its decision as “a point of insolvency law which is of considerable importance to the general creditors of an insolvent company”.
Kia Pheng also acted as lead counsel for a globally renowned modelling agency incorporated in Switzerland in an international arbitration held in the SIAC in 2017 and 2018 against a BVI company which alleged breaches of an agency agreement between the parties. After successfully defending the Swiss respondent against the BVI claimant which was represented by a UK Queen’s Counsel before the arbitral tribunal, Kia Pheng successfully opposed an application filed in the High Court in Singapore by the BVI claimant to set aside the arbitral award.
Kia Pheng has previously been a facilitator in the Singapore Institute of Legal Education’s Preparatory Course for the Law and Practice of Arbitration subject leading to Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations.
Restructuring and insolvency
- Acted for and advised a client in 2022 to successfully oppose an insolvent company’s application for judicial management, and thereafter succeeded in arguing the client’s winding up application against the insolvent company which was the main operating subsidiary of a listed company, Kitchen Culture Holdings Limited.
- Acted for and advised the trustee of a real estate investment trust in various matters instituted in the High Court of Singapore in 2021 and 2022, including obtaining a court order against the former manager of the real estate investment trust to deliver documents to our client
- Acted for the respondent/plaintiff bank in a claim against a customer (the defendant) of the bank’s insolvent customer arising from invoices of the bank’s customer which were assigned to the bank (Italmatic Tyre & Retreading Equipment (Asia) Pte Ltd v CIMB Bank Bhd  2 SLR 416).
- Acted for a debtor company in a landmark case to successfully argue that an action instituted by the judicial managers of the company to challenge a transaction entered into by the company with a third party on the ground of unfair preference or being at an undervalue, cannot be continued by the liquidators when judicial management of the company was followed by a winding up order before the action was adjudicated upon (Neo Corp Pte Ltd (in liquidation) v NeoCorp Innovations Pte Ltd  2 SLR(R) 717).
- Acted for a bank in resisting the debtor company’s application to stay the winding up proceedings commenced by the bank against it on the ground,inter alia, that the debtor company was in the process of appealing against a High Court order dismissing its application for a scheme of arrangement made under section 210 of the Companies Act (United Overseas Bank Ltd v Ng Huat Foundations Pte Ltd 2 SLR(R) 425).
- Acted for the defendants in a dispute arising from a joint venture formed to develop an eco-city project in China wherein allegations of conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duties were made against the defendants (Teo Chong Nghee Patrick and others v Han Cheng Fong and another 3 SLR 595).
- Acted for the defendant Volkswagen entities against the former Singapore dealer for Volkswagen cars in resisting Singapore court proceedings brought against the Volkswagen entities in respect of agreements, one of which contained an arbitration agreement (Car & Cars Pte Ltd v Volkswagen AG and another 1 SLR 625).
- Acted for the minority shareholder in a company who brought an oppression action against the majority shareholders under section 216 of the Companies Act. This case is notable for the Court of Appeal’s decision to order the company to be wound up despite the company being a solvent and profitable company (Low Peng Boon v Low Janie and others and other appeals  1 SLR(R) 337).
- Acted for a party purchasing shares in a company pursuant to an order of court in respect of an oppression action under section 216 of the Companies Act wherein the central issue before the court was the correct method of valuation of the shares (Yeo Hung Khiang v Dickson Investment (Singapore) Pte Ltd 1 SLR(R) 773).
- Acted for a purchaser of property in an important decision on fraudulent conveyances under section 73B of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act (Ng Bok Eng Holdings Pte Ltd and another v Wong Ser Wan  4 SLR(R) 561).
- Acted for the plaintiff hospital in suing the defendant company which the hospital engaged to commission a computer system with customised software (National Skin Centre (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Eutech Cybernetics Pte Ltd  3 SLR(R) 801).
- Acted for a bank in a case where the court issued an important decision on the nature and scope of an “all monies” clause (Re Tararone Investments Pte Ltd  3 SLR(R) 61).
- Fellow, IPAS (Insolvency Practitioners Association of Singapore)
- Member, INSOL International (International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Professionals)
- Member of the committee that was involved in drafting the proposed omnibus insolvency legislation in Singapore
- Fellow, SIArb (Singapore Institute of Arbitrators)
- Overseas Member, Chancery Bar Association
- SMC (Singapore Mediation Centre) Accredited Mediator
- Co-authored the Singapore chapter of “Restructuring & Insolvency” of the publication, Getting The Deal Through (by Law Business Research), 2011 volume
- Co-authored the chapter on “Money & Restitution” in Bullen & Leake, Singapore Precedents of Pleadings (2016)