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Brunei
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Brunei
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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    Brunei lawyer now a King’s Counsel

    Hakim Hayat

    Bruneian lawyer and arbitrator, Professor Dr Colin Ong has made history as the first ASEAN national legal practitioner to have been bestowed by the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to be a Queen’s Counsel (QC) in 2017.

    With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, many symbols and titles in the United Kingdom have had to change.

    New coins, medals and stamps will no longer bear the profile of the Queen, but that of her heir His Majesty King Charles III.

    This includes elite English lawyers who held the rank of ‘One of Her Majesty’s Counsel’ or ‘Queen’s Counsel’.

    They are now called ‘One of His Majesty’s Counsel’ or ‘King’s Counsel’ (KC), now that the monarch is a king.

    Dr Ong has made history by becoming the first ASEAN national legal practitioner to become a King’s Counsel (KC) of England & Wales.

    The last King’s Counsel appointment was 70 years ago before Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952.

    Professor Dr Colin Ong

    Those who hold the title in Britain are informally called “silks”. This is also a reference to the special silk gowns they wear in court.

    When they are first appoint-ed at Westminster Hall, they are given personal Letters Patent of Appointment from the monarch.

    The system began in 1597, when Queen Elizabeth I first bestowed the title of Queen’s Counsel to Sir Francis Bacon.

    A QC or KC is the highest accolade that can be bestowed on a lawyer in the United Kingdom. It indicates excellence and pre-eminence in the English legal system.

    Dr Ong was also the first ASEAN national legal practitioner to have been elevated to the rank of Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple at the English Bar. In addition to also being a Brunei and Singapore lawyer, Dr Ong serves as the President of the Arbitration Association Brunei Darussalam; Chairman of the International Advisory Board of Thailand Arbitration Centre; Advisory Council of the Indonesian National Board of Arbitration; Appointing Council of the Chinese-European Arbitration Centre in Germany; Council member of Hong Kong Centre of International Commercial Arbitration; Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the Japan Institute for International Arbitration Research; and Co-Chair of the International Bar Association Asia-Pacific Arbitration Group.

    In December 2020, he was appointed by the Chief Justice of China to sit on the International Commercial Expert Committee of China’s Supreme People’s Court.   

    He has been involved as an arbitrator and lead counsel in over 350 major arbitrations across a dozen countries.

    His London Chambers website has listed his many accolades including his ranking as a Thought Leader and a leading 30 global elite practitioner in Expert Guides: Best of the Best (2017-2021).

    He has been described by other English Silks in the Legal 500 English Bar (2021) Construction, Energy and Infrastructure as “a very charismatic advocate who is exceptionally creative and a genius-level strategist”.

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