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Sheila Ahuja



Image of Sheila Ahuja
Sheila Ahuja



Sheila is a Partner in Allen & Overy’s Global International Arbitration Group based in Singapore and Co-head of the firm's India Group. She has advised on a wide range of arbitration matters, both commercial arbitrations and investor-State arbitrations, as well as arbitration related court matters. Besides Hong Kong SAR and Singapore, her experience spans most of Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Mainland China, Japan and, in particular, India, where she spent six months as a Consultant with Trilegal in 2011. She is a Solicitor Advocate, with Higher Rights of Audience before the Senior Courts of England & Wales and the Courts of Hong Kong. She is enrolled in the Bar Council of New Delhi and is also qualified to appear before the Singapore International Commercial Court. She regularly sits as arbitrator, and more recently, as presiding arbitrator. Sheila has particular experience of complex commercial disputes, disputes arising from joint ventures and distributorship arrangements, disputes relating to complex financial products and energy and infrastructure disputes.

Sheila is a committee member of the IBA Asia Pacific Regional Forum, the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the Young MCIA, and a former member of the Proceedings Committee of the HKIAC. She is also a contributing author of Alternative Dispute Resolution: The Indian Perspective (Oxford University Press), and the upcoming publications Emerging Trends & Practices in International Arbitration (Thomson Reuters), and International Commercial Arbitration: An Asia-Pacific Perspective (Cambridge University Press). She is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore.

Sheila speaks English, Sindhi, Hindi and Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin).

Market Recognition:

Sheila is listed in the Chambers Asia Pacific 2022 rankings for both Dispute Resolution: Arbitration in Singapore and Dispute Resolution in India. She is the highest ranked female arbitration counsel in Singapore with Chambers stating that “She has a reputation for being ‘on top of the case at all times,’ as well as creative in the face of challenging problems and ‘extremely persuasive and effective as an arbitration lawyer and partner.’” In addition, she is described as being “‘extremely competent’ according to market sources, and clients describe her as ‘smart, very detailed, and an excellent advocate.’”

In respect of the India rankings, Sheila is one of only nine individuals ranked worldwide for Indian Disputes - Expertise Based Abroad by Chambers Asia Pacific 2022, which notes that she “is sought out for her assistance with investor-state and commercial arbitration. A client remarks that ‘she is simply the best; a charismatic leader with a razor-sharp mind and strategic vision who is culturally attuned and a versatile advocate.’ Another source asserts: ‘Sheila is a superb lawyer who understands the issues, expresses her positions clearly, is always available and is able to bring innovative solutions to the table.’”

Sheila is also recommended by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022, which quotes a client as saying she “‘is always immaculately prepared. Her written and oral advocacy is first class. Her witness management is impressive. She makes everything she says and does seem reasonable… She is a trustworthy advocate and an effective one.’”

Who’s Who Legal 2022 states that she “impresses respondents with the depth of her arbitration expertise, who subsequently recommend her as ‘one of the best advocates in Singapore’.”

Sheila was named Arbitration Lawyer of the Year, SE Asia at the ALB Women in Law Awards 2021.

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Admitted as solicitor, Hong Kong, 2010

Admitted as solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, 2011

Admitted to Bar Council of Delhi, 2022


LLB, University of London, 2004

PCLL, The University of Hong Kong, 2005

MA, Law, University of Cambridge, 2007

Oxford Women’s Leadership Development Programme, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2020

Other noteworthy experience 


  • Shell (formerly BG) and Reliance on multi-phased arbitration proceedings commenced under the UNCITRAL Rules against the Government of India relating to disputes exceeding USD 5 billion arising out of two production sharing contracts, and also advising them in related court proceedings.
  • Nissan on a claim against the Republic of India pursuant to the 2011 Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and India in connection to certain outstanding investment incentive sums owed to Nissan by the State Government of Tamil Nadu. We also advised on local proceedings in the Indian courts seeking to stay the treaty arbitration.
  • Baggerwerken Decloedt en Zoon NV, in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of the Philippines, arising out of the cancellation of a EUR280 million infrastructure project. This was the first successful ICSID award obtained against the Republic of the Philippines.
  • A leading global financial software technology company based in Florida in relation to a dispute with a large Chinese alternative asset manager arising out of the sale of a financial software company.
  • A Mauritian investment fund in a USD120 million Singapore seated ICC arbitration regarding a hotel project in India. Our role also includes obtaining anti-suit injunctions from the Singapore High Court and advising on Court proceedings in India and Singapore.
  • A global investment bank on court proceedings relating to its investment in an infrastructure project in Bangalore, India.
  • A Mauritian investment fund on various potential issues arising from third party rights in relation to the fund's proposed exit from its investment in an Indian company engaged in the operation of IT office parks.
  • An international investment bank in two HKIAC arbitrations, one against a Hong Kong company for its failure to pay a sum due in respect of derivatives trades under the 2002 ISDA Agreement and another against the company’s PRC parent for failing to honour a guarantee it had provided concerning the trades.
  • An international oil & gas company on potential arbitration proceedings relating to joint venture and shareholder disputes concerning two energy projects in Malaysia.
  • The Hong Kong branch of an Indian bank in disputes arising from sums of approximately USD0.5 billion owed to it under letters of undertaking issued by an Indian bank.

Published work

  • Professional Conduct in International Arbitration – A Discipline of Its Own for a Discipline of Its Kind, co-authored with Matthew Gearing, for ASA Special Series No. 36, Advocacy in International Commercial Arbitration, July 2013
  • Editor, HKIAC/HK45 Newsletter, 2013-2015