Partner, Asia Head of Dispute Resolution, Singapore
“I have more than 15 years of experience advising on complex, cross-border commercial arbitrations, litigation and financial regulatory investigations in Asia. My approach to disputes and investigations focuses on what is at stake for clients, crafting a cost-effective strategy that protects their interests and takes account of all the variables. Practical knowledge of North and South East Asia allows me to offer a contextual and workable solution to challenging cases and corporate crises. I also bring my passion for social justice to the leadership of our firm’s Social Impact programme in Asia.”
Education and qualifications
Jelita leads the firm’s Dispute Resolution practice in Asia, focusing on South East Asia, as well as Hong Kong SAR, where she practised for 10 years before relocating to Singapore.
Jelita advises and represents clients on their most complex cross-border and multi-jurisdictional commercial disputes, whether seeking resolution through arbitration, litigation, mediation or negotiation.
In her arbitration practice, Jelita specialises in financial and energy and resource arbitrations in Hong Kong and Singapore, using all the major institutions and rules (such as SIAC, HKIAC, ICC, and UNCITRAL), including obtaining interim injunctive relief and enforcing arbitral awards in regional courts. She has been appointed by both the SIAC and the ICC as a sole or co-arbitrator.
Jelita also has extensive experience in financial regulatory and internal conduct investigations, advising financial institutions on their most sensitive private bank, equity trading, rate-setting and anti-money laundering reviews. In her early career, she was seconded for much of 2005 to a global investment bank to support a whole-of-bank Hong Kong regulatory audit.
Jelita is adept at advising companies in a crisis triggered by an adverse reputational event, significant threatened liability or financial collapse. She is attuned to the wide range of stakeholders, the balancing of interests, the detailed investigation, careful handling of public enquiries and the management of legal risk for organisations under strain.
Jelita has led on many major disputes and investigations. These include advising:
- a global commodities trading house on the breakdown of a long-term coal offtake agreement in Indonesia, securing an urgent cross-border proprietary injunction over a coal stockpile through court and emergency SIAC arbitration proceedings, leveraging that asset to obtain a settlement of the main claim, worth up to US$120m.
- an oil and gas joint venture of multinational parties in Indonesia in a c.US$300m ICC arbitration (Singapore seat) over the gas price applicable to a gas offtake agreement, arising from a price increase imposed by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, including administrative court proceedings and engagement with the relevant regulators and Ministries to achieve settlement.
Financial regulatory investigation
- a global bank on the potential first-ever prosecution by a European authority for extra-territorial anti-money laundering allegations arising in the Hong Kong and Singapore wealth management business, including conducting an extensive internal investigation.
- a global bank, conducting an internal investigation, advising on engagement with regulators in Hong Kong and Singapore and negotiating a substantial regulatory settlement arising from the pricing and disclosure practices of the bank’s wealth management business.
- J Trust on a claim for US$250m in Singapore court proceedings arising from its acquisition of PT Bank J Trust Indonesia, as well as managing associated proceedings in Mauritius, Japan, New York, Indonesia and Delaware.
- a global wealth management institution, in Hong Kong court proceedings, brought by a Taiwanese client, with a Singapore account, and associated regulatory review, arising from a claim for mis-selling of an interest rate swap and negligent execution of an accumulator, shortly before the 2008 financial crisis.
- an international investment bank on a dispute arising in its securities joint venture in Indonesia, including preparing for both local civil litigation and Singapore arbitration proceedings and managing regulatory interactions.
- a FTSE-listed multinational consumer health and hygiene company on a high-profile product liability dispute in Korea, involving substantial civil and criminal litigation, reputational management, parliamentary hearings and Interpol-related actions.
Before entering private practice, Jelita was a law clerk in the judicial chambers of The Hon. James Spigelman AC QC, Chief Justice of New South Wales, and later of The Hon. Michael McHugh AC, Justice of the High Court of Australia.
Jelita regularly speaks at arbitration conferences and seminars around the region, including the ICC Indonesia ADR conference and GAR Live Singapore. Nominated by her peers, Jelita was appointed to the Panel of Recognised International Market Experts (P.R.I.M.E) in Finance for her legal and market expertise in financial products disputes.
Jelita has spoken publicly at the Asia Pro Bono conference and Stop Slavery Summit on modern slavery and migrant labour issues, as well as leading the collaboration of law firms, government agencies, in-house counsel and NGOs to deliver critical advice to victims of labour exploitation and trafficking, in both Hong Kong and Singapore. Jelita serves on the firm’s Partnership Board Corporate Responsibility Committee and during her time in Hong Kong, she was an inaugural member of the Hong Kong Law Society Pro Bono Committee.
Education and qualifications
Jelita studied Asian Studies and Law (Hons) at the Australian National University.
She speaks English and Bahasa (Indonesia).