Francis graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1990 and was called to the Singapore Bar in April 1991. Since then, he has been in active legal practice till to-date. He is a Partner with Harry Elias Partnership LLP, where he is Head of International Arbitration and Mediation as well as Private Client Advisory.
An accredited Mediator since 2001, Francis is an early adopter of mediation, both as counsel and mediator. Francis pioneered the art of mediation advocacy and brings a problem-solving mindset to dispute resolution. Francis is adept at the mediation process to help parties negotiate win-win outcomes for their disputes.
As Mediator, Francis is empaneled with:
- Principal Mediator, Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC)
- Specialist Mediator and Ambassador, Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC)
- Senior Mediator, Law Society of Singapore (LSS) Mediation Scheme Panel
- Certified Mediator, Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI)
- Certified Mediator and Mediation Advocate, International Mediation Institute (IMI)
- International Mediator, American Arbitration Association – International Centre for Dispute Resolution (AAA-ICDR).
As Counsel and Mediator, Francis has handled litigation and arbitration cases with complex disputes, involving relational and contractual, multi-party, and multi-jurisdictional issues in the fields of private client, healthcare and medical, employment, joint-venture and shareholder relations, company and director liability, franchise, construction, real estate, insurance and financial products, technology and intellectual property, shipping and logistics industries.
In a recent case, Francis sat as Co-Mediator in Singapore to successfully resolve a multi-million-dollar dispute involving international parties over a dispute concerning a construction project in an ASEAN country.
Francis is a thought leader in mediation working with the Singapore Mediation Centre and the Singapore Management University to conceptualise and moderate the Singapore Mediation Lecture Series for the last 10 years. Francis is a trainer, assessor, and coach in the mediation field.
Francis has acted in various international arbitrations under the SIAC, HKIAC, ICC and LMAA. His experience covers broad range of work including:
- representing a Taiwan Corporation in an arbitration under the auspices of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) against a Netherlands Corporation and its subsidiary in China in a dispute relating to a contract for the development of electronic products
- representing insurers in an arbitration under the auspices of the Singapore International Arbitration (SIAC) against a Netherlands Corporation in a dispute relating to subsea operations and marine infrastructure
- representing an Indian Corporation in an arbitration (SIAC) to successfully challenge the jurisdiction of the tribunal on the ground that pre-arbitral procedures had not been followed
- representing Indonesian ship owners in an arbitration under the auspices of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) to claim against charterers for breach of a contract for the carriage of coal
- representing an international aerospace construction group in an arbitration (SIAC) to claim against their subcontractors for wrongful repudiation of contract and for defective works
Francis is a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (SIArb) and serves on the SIArb Council as the Honorary Secretary.
Francis is also active in the Singapore Courts and some of his notable cases include:
- successfully arguing in a Singapore Court of Appeal matter for the Court to imply a term for fitness for purpose and to apply the Law of Bailment to impose liability on the adverse party
- acting for a developer in an en-bloc sale to evict a trespasser, where the Singapore High Court reviewed and clarified the applicable law
- acting for a group of companies in the Singapore High Court to claim against their ex-staff for siphoning off business in breach of their director and fiduciary duties
In the Private Client space, Francis advises clients on Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills, Probate and Trust matters. Drawing upon his experience gleaned from years of legal practice, Francis is well placed to guide private individuals and business owners on the steps to take to protect their assets and pass their wealth to the next generation. Francis also acts in estates and trusts disputes.
Previously a legal advisor to the then Singapore Sports Council, Francis provides advisory to organisations as their external legal counsel. For example, he guided two entrepreneurs in their legal processes and structuring over six years from start-up to eventual listing on the ASX.
As an undergraduate at the National University of Singapore, Francis won the B.A Mallal Mooting Competition in 1987. Till today he continues his passion for advocacy, serving as senior trainer as well as co-vice chair of the Singapore Law Society’s Advocacy Committee.
Francis serves as an Adjudicator with the Financial Industry Dispute Resolution Centre Ltd (FIDReC). Francis is also an Assessor with the Panel of Assessors for COVID-19 Temporary Relief (PACT and URA Registry). He is a Notary Public and Commissioner of Oath.
Francis strongly believes in legal empowerment and regularly volunteers through speaking engagements to charities such as Law Society Pro Bono Services together with NTUC (LawWorks), Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC), Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (MINDS) and others.