#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Francis Xavier SC, Rajah & Tann Singapore


#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Francis Xavier SC, Rajah & Tann Singapore

In this #10QuestionsWithMaxwell interview, we feature Francis Xavier SC, Regional Head of Disputes Group, Rajah & Tann Singapore.

Francis practises cross-border commercial litigation and international and treaty arbitration. A veteran in the field, Francis has 33 years of legal practice and has a track record of being involved in novel and unprecedented cases. He has appeared before the SICC on numerous occasions (at both trial and appellate levels) and was in fact involved in the very first case heard before the SICC. 

Francis is recognised as a leading disputes lawyer – Asia Law Profiles (2017-2022); Asia Pacific Legal 500 (2014-2019, 2021, 2022); Ranked Lawyers Chambers Global (2016-2022); Dispute Resolution Chambers Asia-Pacific (2016-2022); Best Lawyer in Litigation Practice, Best Lawyers International (2015-2020); Global Arbitration Review (2010); Best Litigation Lawyers in Singapore (2013); Asia Law Leading Lawyers (2009). He was recently named as one of Asia’s Top 15 Litigators by Asian Legal Business (2021). 

He is a Chartered Arbitrator and also a Past Chairman of the Singapore branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is the immediate past global President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and also the immediate Past President of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association. 

He is the General Editor of two major publications – “Civil Litigation in Singapore” (Sweet & Maxwell, 2017) and “Arbitration in Singapore: A Practical Guide” (2nd Edition, Sweet & Maxwell, 2018). 

In this interview, he shared one thing he would change about the arbitral system, highlights throughout his legal career, 3 fun facts about himself, and more.

Read his full interview below:

Q: How did you set foot in international arbitration?

After the birth of SIAC in 1991, arbitration took a firm hold in Singapore. It was ‘the next big thing’.

Q: Since you began your career, what has been the biggest change you have seen in relation to the way arbitration proceedings are conducted?

In the early days, arbitration was the preserve of a relatively small coterie of lawyers. Today, this is no longer the case. The participants are widely diverse. This has given rise to highly differing approaches to arbitration practice and procedure. 

Q: If you could change one thing about the arbitral system, what would it be?

To institute procedural safeguards to prevent the occasional abuse of the party-nominated arbitrator mechanism.

 Q: Share with us some highlights throughout your legal career.

The main highlight would be the great number of good friends and colleagues that one has had an opportunity to cultivate, all across the globe.

Q: You were a Mentor on our Maxwell Mentorship Programme, what is one piece of invaluable advice you would give to our group of Mentees or other younger legal practitioners in entering the alternative dispute resolution field?

Believe in yourself and keep pushing the envelope of your skills and expertise. Success will eventually arrive at your door.

Q: What do you think will be the greatest opportunity the next generation of ADR practitioners can expect?

The world is becoming ever more reliant on ADR. In such an environment, international arbitration and mediation will continue to thrive and become ubiquitous.

Q: On the contrary, what is one opportunity you see in the ADR landscape in the upcoming years?

The rise of mediation – either by itself or in its hybrid forms – will get ever more widespread. Get trained and accredited!

Q: To get to know you more on a personal level, share with us 3 fun facts about yourself.

a. Involved in the conservation of 130 million year old rainforests in peninsular Malaysia.

b. Enhancing metabolic output is a curiosity.

c. A dangerous addiction to erupting volcanoes.

Q: What is one thing that you have always wanted to do but have not had a chance to accomplish yet?

Visit at least 90% of the countries on this blue planet – before I breathe my last.

Q: Lastly, describe Maxwell Chambers in 3 words.

Well-resourced. Supportive. Dynamic.


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