Tay Yong Seng
Yong Seng acts as lead counsel in a broad spectrum of commercial disputes, in both litigation and arbitration. His clients include global financial institutions, multinational companies and government bodies.
In the High Court, he has particular expertise in commercial and employment litigation. He has successfully acted for top-tier companies like BGC Partners, Itochu and Maersk in complex injunctions that pushed the boundaries of Singapore law. He also has significant experience in handling large-scale industrial accidents and product failures, having defended leading MNCs in the power-generation, automobile and chemical industries.
In the Court of Appeal (Singapore’s highest Court), his experience lies in arguing novel and difficult points of law. His successful cases as lead advocate include a landmark 5-Judge decision on defamation, and leading decisions on company/insolvency law and tort law. He also successfully argued Singapore’s first civil action under the Personal Data Protection Act 2012. This was a ground-breaking Court of Appeal decision that recognized emotional distress as being part of “loss or damage” actionable under the Act.
Yong Seng also has a busy international arbitration practice, representing heavy industries, power generators, aerospace and media companies. He has successfully acted for leading Japanese MNCs in international arbitrations. He also has significant experience in defending arbitration awards in Court.
Yong Seng is recognized by leading legal directories like Legal 500 (“Leading Individual”), Benchmark Litigation (“Litigation Star”) and Chambers (“Ranked Lawyers”),noting that “[he] has a very sharp and insightful mind and plans his court strategy like a chess grandmaster”, [is] “Oxford-educated and technically razor sharp”, “technically brilliant and makes difficult cases seem easy”, and an “excellent Court advocate, strong sense of the occasion and fast on his feet.”
Yong Seng has prior Government experience as an Assistant Director in the Ministry of Law. He is also active in academia. At Singapore Management University (SMU), he teaches as Adjunct Faculty on Commercial Remedies in Litigation. He is also on the Practice Advisory Committee of the School of Law at SMU. At the Singapore Academy Law (SAL), he serves as Subject Editor for SAL Practitioner (Employment Law), and Co-Editor of the SAL Annual Review of Singapore Cases (Equity and Trusts).
He is also a member of the Board of Governors of Nanyang Polytechnic and Honorary Legal Adviser to the Singapore Table Tennis Association.
Yong Seng was educated at Oxford University. He took a B.A. (Hons) in Law in 2003 (converted to M.A. in 2013), and a B.C.L. in 2004. At Oxford, he was an Exhibitioner and a College Book Prize winner at Pembroke College.
High Court Litigation
- Acted for GFI Group (now part of BGC Partners) in enforcing a worldwide non-compete covenant in its employment contracts (Mahina Woon v GFI Group (OS 4 of 2015)).
- Acted for Itochu in enforcing a two year international non-compete (Tan Kok Yong Steve v Itochu Singapore  SGHC 85).
- Acted for Maersk Trade Finance in enforcing a worldwide “Mareva” freezing injunction in relation to the Agritrade commodity collapse (Maersk Trade Finance v Ng Xin Wei, (Suit 189 of 2020)).
Appellate Advocacy (Court of Appeal)
- Leading Court of Appeal decision on company and insolvency law (Seah Teong Kang v Seah Yong Chwan  5 SLR 792).
- Landmark 5-Judge Court of Appeal decision on defamation law (Goh Lay Khim v Isabel Redrup  1 SLR 546).
- Ground-breaking Court of Appeal decision on tort law and res ipsa locquitur (Grace Electrical v Te Duem Engineering  SGCA 65).
- Singapore’s first successful civil action under the Personal Data Protection Act (Michael Reed v Alex Bellingham  SGCA 60)
- Successfully acted for a top Japanese healthcare company in one of the first Expedited Arbitrations in the SIAC under the 2016 Arbitration Rules, and defended the SIAC award in a setting aside application in the High Court (Mary Chia Beauty v Slim Beauty House, OS 849 of 2017).
- Successfully acted for a leading MNC in defending an ICC arbitration award, involving complex issues of sale of goods and quantification of claims: CNQ v CNR  SGHC 287