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Sheila Ahuja



Ahuja Sheila
Sheila Ahuja



Sheila Ahuja is a Partner in Allen & Overy’s Global Arbitration group based in Singapore and the Joint Chair 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. Her experience spans jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Singapore, England and Wales, India, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, and the PRC. Sheila has particular experience of energy and infrastructure disputes, disputes arising from joint ventures and distributorship arrangements, and disputes relating to complex financial products.

She is admitted to appear in the higher courts in Hong Kong and the England of Wales, and also in the Singapore International Commercial Courts.

Sheila is committed to not only practising international arbitration, but also developing the practise of international arbitration world-wide. Most notably, since 2013, she has led a team that assisted the Government of Myanmar with drafting their arbitration legislation, and also led several arbitration-related training workshops for the Myanmar Attorney General's Office and the Supreme Court of Myanmar.

Sheila is a member of the Steering Committee of the IBA Arb 40, the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the Young MCIA (Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration), Co-Chair of the Asia Pacific Arbitration Group Sub-Committee of the IBA and a former member of the Proceedings Committee of the HKIAC. She is also a contributing author of Alternative Dispute Resolution: The Indian Perspective, published by Oxford University Press, and the upcoming publications Emerging Trends & Practices in International Arbitration, to be published by Thomson Reuters, and International Commercial Arbitration: An Asia-Pacific Perspective, to be published by 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 2021 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 respect of the India rankings, Sheila is one of only 11 individuals ranked worldwide for Indian Disputes - Expertise Based Abroad by Chambers 2021, which notes that “established disputes practitioner Sheila Ahuja is sought out for her assistance with investor-state and commercial arbitration. She works out of Singapore, with a client enthusing: ‘She is very impressive and I rate her very highly. She is very considerate and bright and has a great demeanour.’”

Chambers Asia Pacific 2020 (Arbitration - Singapore) stated that “Sheila is lauded as a ‘very effective lawyer’ by sources, who highlight her growing prominence in the market. She has significant expertise in handling joint venture and financial products-related disputes as well as investor-state arbitration.” For the 2020 India rankings, Chambers noted that “in the words of one client [she] ‘has expertise in Indian disputes and a lot of experience. She's very hard-working, responsive and ready to help.’”

Sheila is also recommended by Legal 500 for Hong Kong Arbitration, which has described her as “standout” and notes that she is of “‘star material: she is extremely sharp, works hard and is very personable’”.

Other noteworthy experience includes advising:

  • 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.

News & insights

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Publications: 19 AUGUST 2021

JCAA Rules Update: Expanded scope for expedited procedure and new Appointing Authority Rules

The Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (JCAA) has updated its rules relating to expedited procedure and published new Appointing Authority Rules with effect from 1 July 2021.

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A computer chip circuit board

Publications: 01 APRIL 2021

Developments in sanctions targeting Myanmar

Following the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, the U.S., UK and EU have imposed a range of sanctions targeting individuals and entities affiliated with the Burmese military.

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sunset image of a small sail boat at dusk

Publications: 18 FEBRUARY 2021

Myanmar update from on the ground: implications for investors

On the morning of 1 February 2021, in response to allegations of voter fraud, Vice-President Myint Swe (who has since assumed the role of acting President) declared a State of Emergency for one year…

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Amendments to the Singapore International Arbitration Act come into force

Publications: 07 DECEMBER 2020

Amendments to the Singapore International Arbitration Act come into force

On 1 December 2020, the International Arbitration (Amendment) Act 2020 (the Amendment Act)1 came into force, introducing two of the proposed amendments to the Singapore International Arbitration Act…

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Admitted as solicitor, Hong Kong, 2010

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


LLB, University of London, 2004

PCLL, The University of Hong Kong, 2005

MA, Law, University of Cambridge, 2007

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