Abraham Chan SC’s practice spans commercial, constitutional and administrative law. He advises and acts as advocate in a wide range of complex, high-impact disputes for individuals and institutions at all levels of court in Hong Kong.
Much of Abraham’s advocacy is at the appellate levels, where he is often brought on fresh to lead in appealing or defending earlier judgments. Abraham has also acted as an independent, court-appointed amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) in matters involving novel and difficult points of legal principle before the Court of Final Appeal, Court of Appeal and Court of First Instance, and as counsel for the Secretary of Justice intervening in the public Interest.
Abraham has been cited in the Chambers & Partners guides (Global and Asia Pacific) as “a very intelligent and articulate barrister” with “an excellent brain and exceptional presentation skills” who “commands the court’s respect”.
Abraham is identified as a leading silk for commercial disputes by Chambers & Partners, where he has been cited as a “first choice for complex disputes” and “able to present arguments in the most forceful and persuasive manner”, and as “fiercely bright” but “very approachable…client friendly and willing to work collaboratively with solicitors” with “written and oral advocacy of the highest standard”.Lau Suk Ching Peggy v Ma Hing Lam v Ors (2010) 13 HKCFAR 226 (Court of Final Appeal; appearing as amicus curiae on appointment by the Court). Construction of option agreement and issues on specific performance.Xu Hongbiao v Oasis Investment Group Ltd & Ors  HKCFI 860. Ongoing multi-jurisdictional dispute following a large scale real estate development venture fallout.
Abraham is also recommended in the Commercial Disputes section of Legal 500, where he is noted as “an extremely persuasive and organised advocate”, and “sought after for his expertise in handling commercial disputes which frequently overlap with public law issues”.
Who’s Who Legal lists Abraham as a Global Leader in litigation.
Public Law / Judicial Review
Abraham has been engaged as counsel in over 300 judicial review and regulatory matters, with more than a dozen reaching the Court of Final Appeal on the statutory “great general or public importance” ground. He has also appeared in the Court of Appeal and Court of First Instance as court-appointed amicus curiae to address issues of major public law importance. H v Director of Immigration (2020) 23 HKCFAR 248 (Court of Final Appeal). Jurisdictional questions in relation to refusals to extend time to apply for judicial review out of time.Chan Ka Lam v Country and Marine Parks Authority (2020) 23 HKCFAR 414 (Court of Final Appeal). On the scope of duties of the Country and Marine Parks Authority.
Abraham acts for an exceptionally diverse range of parties to public law litigation. He has represented, across a broad spectrum of public law disputes, both respondent authorities (including the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, the President of the Legislative Council, the Financial Secretary, the Director of Lands, the Hospital Authority, the Communications Authority, the Law Society and the Bar Council) as well as claimants ranging from listed corporations to non-profit NGOs and legally aided individuals.
Chambers & Partners has cited Abraham as “an expert in public law” and “one of the few true specialists” in the public law sphere, who is “composed, calm” and “able to present arguments in the most forceful and persuasive manner”.
Who’s Who Legal highlights Abraham as “a leading light in public law matters” who is “technically excellent and trusted by the courts”.
Legal 500 (Administrative and Public Law) describes Abraham as “a brilliant and well-respected barrister” who is “very easy to work with”.
Banking / Finance Zhang Hong Li v DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd  5 HKLRD 629 (Court of Appeal). Large scale investment mis-selling dispute with foreign trusts element. 5 week trial at first instance. Lai Sai Sang v UBS AG HCA 97/2010. Banking dispute.HSBC Private Bank v Mission Bridge HCA 406/2008. Banking and investment dispute. Building / Construction Hui Hing Sang v Chief Executive in Council HCAL 99/2015, 15.3.16. Challenge to legality of financing process for the HK$149bn+ expansion and redevelopment of Hong Kong International Airport. Building Authority v Appeal Tribunal (Buildings) & Anor  5 HKLRD 108Lai Siu-Kin Rembert v Building Authority  4 HKLRD 74
Commission of Inquiry / Inquest
Advised the HKSAR Government on legal issues arising out of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Collision of Vessels near Lamma Island on 1 October 2012.Appeared in the public inquiry regarding the application by Greater Bay Airlines Limited for a licence to operate scheduled air services under the Air Transport (Licensing of Air Services) Regulations.Appeared in the public inquiry regarding the application by Jetstar Hong Kong Airways Limited for a licence to operate scheduled air services under the Air Transport (Licensing of Air Services) Regulations. Company Re Target Insurance Co Ltd  HKCFI 3036. Winding-up proceedings under the Insurance Ordinance.Re The German Swiss International School Association Ltd  3 HKLRD 518. On whether the Race Discrimination Ordinance covers a company incorporated under the then Companies Ordinance, Cap 32. Kazuo Okada v The Registrar of Companies  1 HKLRD 483. On power of Companies Registrar to withhold registration of disputed company information. Competition
Abraham is among a small group of barristers who have been active in Hong Kong’s competition law regime from its very start. He has regularly advised and appeared as counsel for both regulators (primarily the Competition Commission but also, pre- Competition Ordinance, the Communications Authority) and respondents.Competition Commission v W.Hing Construction Company Ltd  3 HKLRD 219 (Court of Appeal). First ever action in Hong Kong against alleged market sharing and price-fixing cartel conduct under the First Conduct Rule of the Competition Ordinance, on appeal following 4 week trial before the Competition Tribunal. Instructed by the Competition Commission.Competition Commission v ATAL Building Services Engineering Ltd  4 HKLRD 425. On appropriate procedure for applications relating to confidential treatement of information in originating documents, redactions and confidentiality rights in the competition law context.
Abraham is recognised in Legal 500 Asia Pacific as a Tier 1 leading counsel for competition law: “His ability to absorb and analyse a large amount of detail quickly and to distill the key points to be successfully argued sets him apart from other barristers. He always crafts the best form of the argument to be made having regard to the particular circumstances of the case”; “extremely easy to work with, cerebral, and always able to distill complex legal issues in a way that the lay client can understand”; “grasps the issues quickly and his advice goes right to the point”.
Confidentiality / Privacy X v Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, AAB 15/2019. Acting for Google LLC in relation to questions on the scope and operation of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance in relation to internet search operators. Competition Commission v ATAL Building Services Engineering Ltd  4 HKLRD 425. On appropriate procedure for applications relating to confidential treatment of information in originating documents, redactions and confidentiality rights in the competition law context. Tong Bing Lun v Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, AAB 12/2017. Administrative appeal; data protection principles. Conflict of Laws YJH v LKHM  HKCFI 2030. Forum conveniens issues arising in family and wardship proceedings.Hiromi Okada v Tomohiro Okada & Anor (HCMP 2446/2017). Application to stay proceedings in favour of Tokyo District Court and to discharge interim relief.L v L (Child Removal – PRC) –  HKFLR 588 (Court of Appeal). On arrangements on reciprocal recognition and enforcement of civil judgements in matrimonial and family cases by the courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, acting for the Secretary for Justice as intervener in the public interest. Planning Chan Ka Lam v Country and Marine Parks Authority (2020) 23 HKCFAR 414 (Court of Final Appeal). On the scope of duties of the Country and Marine Parks Authority.Hysan Development Co Ltd v Town Planning Board (2016) 19 HKCFAR 372 (Court of Final Appeal). Leading case on private property rights under the Basic Law, the proportionality test and judicial review of town planning measures. Led by Lord Pannick QC and Jat Sew-Tong SC.Real Estate Developers Association v Town Planning Board  3 HKLRD 352 Family / Matrimonial YJH v LKHM  HKCFI 2030. Wardship and forum conveniens issues. L v L (Child Removal – PRC) –  HKFLR 588 (Court of Appeal). On arrangements on reciprocal recognition and enforcement of civil judgements in matrimonial and family cases by the courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, acting for the Secretary for Justice as intervener in the public interest.LCJWY v LCKS  6 HKC 65. Trial of preliminary issue - beneficial ownership of assets. Insolvency Engaged over several years in litigation arising from Hong Kong’s largest ever corporate insolvency (Akai Group), led by Richard Snowden QC (now Snowden JA) and Godfrey Lam SC (now G Lam JA).Re Target Insurance Co Ltd  HKCFI 3036. Winding-up proceedings under the Insurance Ordinance.Re BGA Holdings Limited HCCW 251/2019. Ongoing, multi-jurisdiction insolvency proceedings. Ugland Shipping A/S v Intermare Transport GMBH, CACV 393/2007 (Court of Appeal). Shipping insurance and cargo dispute. Advising and acting for a range of insurers and insurance associations and federations, as well as policyholders, in both non-contentious and contentious (including arbitral) proceedings. Fok Chun Yue Benjamin v Fok Chun Wan Ian & Ors HCA 2155/2010. Dispute over the administration of the estate of the late Mr Henry Fok Ying Tung. Instructed to advise and act in a large-scale professional negligence action against a firm of auditors, with Michael Brindle QC and Jat Sew-Tong SC. Settled before scheduled 6 month trial of action. Property & Conveyancing SPM Ltd v Appeal Tribunals (Buildings Ordinance)  2 HKLRD 531 (Court of Appeal). Dispute as to whether the external walls of a multi storey building are the common parts of a multi storey building and as a result the co-owners of the building are responsible for their maintenance. Centre Chase Investment Ltd v International Industrial Building, Castle Peak Road (IO)  5 HKLRD 457 (Court of Appeal). Ongoing dispute involving novel legal questions in relation to building management, including the scope of power of a Management Committee to approve breaches of a DMC in the form of illegal structures within an industrial building. Smart Edge Ltd (Receivers and Managers Appointed) v HG Property Investment HK Ltd  4 HKC 23. Dispute over the registrability within the Land Register of an action in respect of a sale and purchase agreement for the shares of company holding land. Securities & Regulation
Abraham regularly acts as counsel for both regulatory authorities and regulated entities in a wide range of regulatory contexts.Kayden Ltd v Securities and Futures Commission (2010) 13 HKCFAR 696 (Court of Final Appeal). Leading case on the extent of the SFC’s ability to obtain injunctions against overseas parties. Acting for the appellant. Securities and Futures Commission v Lau Chi Yuen Joseph and Anor  HKCFI 1346. Disqualification proceedings against executive directors of a listed company raising issues on the circumstances in which a director may be said to have profited from his fiduciary position when the relevant funds have been transferred to third-party companies of which that director is neither a director nor shareholder.
The matters highlighted below are in the financial and securities law context, where Abraham is regularly instructed both for and against the Securities and Futures Commission in proceedings involving alleged breaches of provisions of the Securities and Futures Ordinance and related regulations, and where Abraham has acted as legal advisor to the Takeovers and Mergers Panel of the Securities and Futures Commission.
Abraham also has significant experience of handling regulatory disputes and issues in the areas of telecommunications, broadcasting and media, professional conduct, land and buildings administration, professional discipline (including legal and medical professionals) and transportation (including aviation). See also Public Law and Judicial Review and Technology, Media & Telecommunications sections.
Technology, Media and Telecommunications
Abraham has wide experience in private and public law (including regulatory) areas involving advanced and emerging technology. He has advised and acted for technology companies such as Google and Uber, Fintech companies, and mobile network operators and regulators.Cheung Tak Wing v Communications Authority  1 HKLRD 457 (Court of Appeal). On the nature and scope of “announcements in the public interest” for the purposes of the statutory regime for television and radio broadcasting in Hong Kong.X v Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, AAB 15/2019. Acting for Google LLC in relation to questions on the scope and operation of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance in relation to internet search operators.
Abraham is acting as court-appointed amicus curiae in ongoing proceedings raising novel issues on the use of civil injunctions in aid of criminal proceedings, and the balancing of national security interests with constitutional rights in respect of material hosted on major digital platforms.