Tommy Thomas law firm partner Sitpah Selvaratnam and Rajendra elected to international arbitration body for 3-year term.

Two seasoned Malaysian lawyers will take up positions as members of a Paris-based international arbitration body, the flagship of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Sitpah Selvaratnam (left), who joined Tommy Thomas to form Messrs Tommy Thomas in January 2000, will serve a three-year term as a member of the ICC’s International Court of Arbitration (ICA).

The other Malaysian on board is Rajendra Navaratnam (right), a partner at law firm Azman, Davidson & Co.

They are two of the 176 members from 104 countries appointed by the ICC’s supreme governing body for the court’s 2018-2021 term. The members represent a gender parity of 88 women and 88 men, ICC said in a recent statement.

Sitpah told The Malaysian Reserve that the appointment was firmed up earlier this year, way before Tommy’s appointment this month as Malaysia’s attorney general after the surprise Pakatan Harapan victory in the May 2018 general election.

The previous ICA members for Malaysia were Tan Sri Cecil Abraham and Vinayak P Pradhan.

ICA aims to resolve difficulties in international commercial and business disputes to support trade and investment. It performs the role by providing individuals, businesses and governments with a variety of customisable services for every stage of their dispute.

Although called a court in name, ICA does not make formal judgements on disputed matters.
Instead, it exercises judicial supervision of arbitration proceedings, according to information at its website.

“There will be consistent sittings through-out the year. We take part either physically in Paris or other locations, or by video conference,” said Sitpah.

The parent body ICC, which claims a global network of over six million members in more than 100 countries, describes itself as a world business organisation helping businesses of all sizes and in all countries to operate internationally and responsibly.

Sitpah is a counsel and arbitrator in domestic and international arbitration. For the last 10 years, she has sat on numerous regional arbitration panels to settle international disputes.

Rajendra, a counsel and arbitrator in the areas of construction law, intellectual property (IP) law and insurance, was the past chairman of Malaysia branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

He was a professional electrical engineer with the National Electricity Board for 10 years prior to legal practice.

Some of the other newly appointed ICA members from this region are Lawrence G S Boo from Singapore’s The Arbitration Chambers, Smitha Rajan Menon from Singapore law firm WongPartnership LLP, Anangga W Roosdiono from Indonesia-based Roosdiono & Partners and Andi Yusuf Kadir from the Kajarta-based HHP Law Firm.

In the same statement, ICC also announced the reappointment of Alexis Mourre as ICA president.

In line with the ICA decision not to permit members to serve for more than two consecutive terms, ICC said close to half of the court are new entrants.