Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham (Malaysia)

Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham (Malaysia)

Call: 1970

Practice Overview

Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham is the Senior Partner at Cecil Abraham & Partners. His career at the Malaysian Bar spans 50 years.

Within that time, he has appeared in all the divisions of the High Court of Malaya.  He has appeared regularly before the Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Special Court and the Privy Council. He has over 300 reported decisions of note to his name. He is first and foremost an advocate and is regarded by his peers and clients alike as one of Malaysia’s leading counsel known to be devastatingly effective in Court. He has a strong reputation for dealing with complex disputes where the stakes are high and is known to work hard to achieve a satisfactory result for his clients.

Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham’s practice covers a wide breadth of areas that includes Corporate and Commercial, Environmental, Banking and Securities, Insurance, Maritime, and Competition Law as well as Arbitration. He has in recent times argued the leading cases in Malaysia concerning the adjudication of construction claims in Ireka Engineering & Construction Sdn Bhd v PWC Corporation Sdn Bhd [2020] 1 CLJ 193; constitutional law issues relating to the proper practice and procedures to be adopted by State Legislative Assemblies  in The Speaker of Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak, Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar v Ting Tiong Choon & Ors and other appeals [2020] 2 AMR 313; the validity of introducer agreements within the meaning of Section 24 of the Contracts Act 1950 in Wong Yee Boon v Gainvest Builders Sdn Bhd [2020] 2 CLJ 727;  enforcement and setting-aside of arbitration awards in Far East Holdings Bhd & Anor v Majlis Ugama Islam dan Adat Resam Melayu Pahang and another appeal [2018] 1 MLJ 1, unjust enrichment in Dream Property Sdn Bhd v Atlas Housing Sdn Bhd [2015] 2 MLJ 441, the doctrine of separate legal entities in Gurbachan Singh v Vellasamy s/o Ponnusamy [2015] 1 MLJ 773, on equitable fraud in Zung Zang Wood Products Sdn Bhd v Kwan Chee Hang Sdn Bhd & Ors [2014] 2 MLJ 799, the powers of liquidators in Ooi Woon Chee & Anor v Dato’ See Teow Chuan & Ors [2012] 2 MLJ 713 and the exercise of royal prerogative powers in Dato' Seri Ir Hj Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin v Dato' Seri Dr Zambry bin Abdul Kadir (Attorney General, intervener) [2010] 2 MLJ 285 and His Royal Highness Sultan Ismail Petra Ibni Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra v His Royal Highness Tengku Mahkota Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra & Anor and another suit [2011] 1 MLJ 1, non-delegable duty and vicarious liability in Dr Hari Krishnan & Anor v Megat Noor Ishak bin Megat Ibrahim & Anor and another appeal [2018] 3 MLJ 281, to name but a few.

He holds of the distinction of having acted for the former Prime Minister of Singapore, the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and several Prime Ministers of Malaysia.

He is also regularly appointed as an arbitrator in domestic and in international commercial arbitrations and is the only Malaysian to be regularly appointed as an arbitrator in investment treaty disputes.

He has been regularly recognised as a leading individual by Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Asia Law Profiles and is ranked in Tier 1 by Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific as well as Who’s Who Legal in the area of dispute resolution for both litigation and arbitration. In 2016, he was named by Asian Legal Business as Dispute Resolution Practitioner of the Year. In 2019, he was named by Benchmark Litigation as Dispute Resolution Practitioner of the Year.

  • Corporate and Commercial Litigation
  • Commercial and Investment Treaty Arbitration
  • Environmental Law
  • Media Law Disputes
  • Public & Administrative Law
  • Banking and Securities Litigation
  • Corporate and Commercial Litigation
  • Commercial and Investment Treaty Arbitration
  • Competition Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Land & Property Law
  • Media Law Disputes
  • Public & Administrative Law
  • Public International Law

Tan Sri Dato’ Cecil Abraham has in excess of 300 reported decisions.

Panel of Arbitrators:

  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
  • Hong Kong Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)
  • Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC)
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)
  • FICCI Arbitration and Conciliation Tribunal (FACT) India,
  • Indonesian National Board of Arbitration (BANI)
  • Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA)
  • Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)


  • Member of the Advisory Council of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA)


  • Past Vice President of Asia Pacific Regional Arbitration Group (APRAG), (2006-2009)
  • Past Deputy President of the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators
  • Past Member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
  • Past Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Malaysia Branch (CIArb)
  • Past President of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA)
  • Past Member of the Review Committee of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC)
  • Past Vice Chair of Committee D, which was the Arbitration and ADR Section of the International Bar Association
  • Past Member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court representing Malaysia
  • Past Member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration
  • Past Member of the ICC Task Force on Financial Institutions
  • Past Member of the Advisory Panel of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC)
  • Past Chair of the Practice Section of the Malaysian Bar Council on Civil Procedure tasked with amending the Malaysian Rules of the High Court
  • Past Chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee
  • Past Member of the Malaysian Bar Council

The Asia Pacific Legal 500 has said the following in their publications

“Specialist firm Cecil Abraham And Partners is headed by Cecil Abraham, one of the ‘most respected’ practitioners in the area. The team acts in traditional litigation as well as arbitration matters, dealing with related complex, high-end disputes spanning, among others, antitrust, securities, banking, construction and infrastructure, and commercial law. It is acting for MUIP in a dispute seeking to ascertain whether a court of law is competent to interfere with an award by an arbitration tribunal. Sunil Abraham is also recommended.”

……………..acted for KAF Investment Bank in the Pesaka Astana bonds case, a case concerning the issue of liability in relation to information provided on investment products which has been closely watched by the capital markets industry. Cecil has also acted as defence counsel to Lynas Corporation in judicial review applications and defamation actions regarding its rare earth plant operation; Other clients include Maxis and The New Straits Times. 

Chambers Asia Pacific has said the following in their publications:

Cecil Abraham is considered by market commentators to be a “very eminent personality” within Malaysia’s dispute resolution scene. He represents both domestic and international clients across a broad range of cases, including land, medical negligence and energy-related disputes.

Cecil Abraham is a renowned figure in Malaysia’s dispute resolution circuit, acting on cases relating to corporate, banking, insurance and environmental issues. Clients laud his “wealth of experience,” noting that he is especially adept in handling “very important matters.” He acted for Suria KLCC in a tenancy case brought against the clothing retailer British India, relating to the expiration of the latter’s store lease.

“Cecil Abraham is a renowned figure in the market, highly experienced in both litigation and arbitration and praised by clients as “clinically incisive” in his approach. He played a leading role in the representation of the MEASAT network in a dispute against AV Asia over the former’s alleged breach of a mutual non-disclosure agreement.”

“Sources praise Cecil Abraham for his long-established profile as one of the top arbitration lawyers in Malaysia.  He has significant experience of acting as arbitrator on major cases across the region, notably in Singapore and India, and on high-value ICSID matters.  Clients appreciate him for ‘understanding the crucial issues’ in arbitration cases.”

“Cecil Abraham…is one of Malaysia’s most respected dispute resolution lawyers. He is also acclaimed as a ‘very accomplished arbitrator’, and sits on the panels of numerous regional and international tribunals. He presides particularly frequently over cases considered in India and Singapore, or arbitrated by ICSID. Since publication, Cecil Abraham has joined Cecil Abraham & Partners.”

“Cecil Abraham…remains a prominent disputes practitioners who is recognised for his expert handling of big-ticket cases. He is frequently called upon as counsel and arbitrator in arbitrations across the region including ICSID cases.”

Cecil Abraham has a ‘legendary reputation in Malaysia’ and handles a significant number of appellate and arbitration cases.  He is also regularly involved in international disputes and investment arbitrations as an arbitrator.  Clients particularly appreciate his ‘excellent legal knowledge and strategic guidance.” 

Winner: UK Bar Awards 2023
The Lawyer Awards 2022: Chambers of the Year