Photo, Nandakumar Ponniya

Nandakumar Ponniya

Wong & Leow LLC


Nandakumar (Kumar) Ponniya heads the Dispute Resolution Practice of Baker & McKenzie in the Asia-Pacific.

Kumar is listed as a leading international arbitration lawyer in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021 and was also named a Litigation Star in the Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific 2020. Chambers Asia Pacific 2021 quotes “the ‘well respected’ Nandakumar Ponniya for having led commercial and investment arbitrations and notes that he is especially recognised for his focus on construction and contractual issues. He has also been described by clients as being “intellectually sharp and street smart” (Legal 500) and "very savvy and well connected" (Chambers Global). Further, he has been recognised for being "sensitive to commercial realities” (Chambers Asia Pacific) and providing "practical, on the ground advice that clients need” (Legal 500).

Kumar is a member of the Expert Panel of the Centre for Cross-Border Commercial Law in Asia (CEBCLA) and is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He serves on statutory tribunals such as the Income Tax Review Board and the Law Society’s Inquiry Panel. In addition, Kumar also  serves as an adjunct assistant professor at the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Management University, where he conducts the International Projects Practice and Law as well as the International Construction Law course.

Practice Focus

Kumar has a broad focus on dispute resolution with specialist expertise in international arbitration, commercial litigation, and corporate restructuring and insolvency. His particular areas of industry focus include  construction, technology, energy and financial services. With more than 20 years of experience, Kumar has an in-depth understanding of the legal and regulatory frameworks of the major Asian markets. His wealth of experience is drawn from handling disputes for government, state-owned enterprises, multi-national corporations and regional industry leads arising from a variety of commercial transactions and investments, as well as complex engineering and development projects in Singapore, ASEAN and the wider Asia Pacific region.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Representation of a consortium comprising an Asian contractor and a European specialist contractor in ICC arbitration proceedings valued in excess of USD 1 billion concerning a dispute with a state petroleum company arising from the modernisation and expansion of oil refinery and pipeline facilities, involving claims of additional works; unjust enrichment; delay and disruption; acceleration and loss of labour productivity.
  • Representation of a global oil company in ICC arbitration proceedings for claims in excess of USD 600 million in respect of an oil & gas concession to resolve disputes over the costs of exploration and production over a 25-year period. 
  • Representation of  a mining resources company in HKIAC arbitration proceedings (including emergency arbitration) in Hong Kong in respect of disputes arising out of a shareholders agreement, with investment valued in excess of USD 150 million.
  • Representation of  an Asian oil major in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings seated in Singapore and administered by the SIAC, arising out of a dispute valued at approximately USD 500 million with a contractor involving a production sharing contract governed by New York law.
  • Advised a major international merchant bank on its creditor rights arising from the financial collapse and USD 14 billion restructuring of a large Asian paper production company (at the time, the world’s largest debt restructuring in an emerging market).
  • Advised a state-owned asset management agency on its creditor rights in a restructuring of approximately USD 1.6 billion worth of debt owed by an Indonesian conglomerate, arising out of various financing agreements governed by Indonesian law.
  • Advised an oil and gas company on its creditor rights in a restructuring of approximately USD 1 billion worth of debt owed by a petrochemical company, arising out of various agreements governed by Indonesian and New York law
  • Representation of a global specialist engineering contractor in two actions at the Singapore courts in respect of claims arising out of the fabrication of various structural components in Indonesia, valued in excess of USD 50 million, for oil & gas facilities in Russia and Indonesia.
  • Representation of a the majority shareholder of a large dye manufacturing corporation in a dispute with the minority shareholder, valued at approximately SGD 600 million, including defending a claim for minority oppression in the Singapore Courts alleging breaches in respect of nondisclosure of information and documents, exclusion from management, as well as mismanagement of assets.
  • Representation of minority shareholder in a leading security and logistics corporation with interests, among others, in PNG and Timor Leste, in a minority oppression suit in the Singapore Courts, involving allegations of diversion of assets, lack of proper governance and transparency.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Singapore Mediation Centre
  • Society of Construction Law, Singapore
  • Law Society of Singapore


  • New York~United States (2002)
  • England & Wales~United Kingdom (1998)
  • Singapore (1996)


  • National University of Singapore (LLB) (1995)


  • English
  • Tamil


Contributor, "Doing Business," The World Bank, The International Finance Corporation and Oxford University Press, 2005-2010