The practice of the law is challenging; not just in the mastery of the law and advocacy, the management of clients and law firms, but also in the assimilation of the practice of the law with life. Ultimately, a legal career is not separate from life; it is an integral aspect of the sense of fulfilment and wellbeing of every legal practitioner.
As the size of the professional membership grows, and the demands to be seen and heard in a particular way appear more daunting, it may be time for some essential markers to be personally placed upon introspection and self-inquiry. Finding purpose in what we do gives meaning and satisfaction.
Remaining true to ourselves as professional individuals, and not being limited by the lack of perceived acceptance or validation from others, is very important.
Let’s take an afternoon to re-examine our purpose — and define our success — to truly appreciate where we are and where we want to be.
Sitpah Selvaratnam qualified in 1988 with a First Class Honours degree in law from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and in 1991 with a LLM degree from the University of Cambridge. She was conferred a Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (“CIArb”) in 2008, upon completion of study at Keble College, Oxford.
Practising law in Malaysia since 1991, she focused on corporate insolvency, and commercial and shipping litigation and disputes. She represents diverse Malaysian and foreign corporations and commercial interests in the High Court and the Appellate Courts of Malaysia.
Beyond the sphere of maritime law, Sitpah has also worked with consortiums of bankers and financiers in banking and corporate insolvency litigation.
She is regularly appointed as an arbitrator in international, regional, and domestic references on commercial, international trade, commodities and shipping disputes, including a dispute over the sale of assets of an insurance company, claims for damages for unjust enrichment on a price variation, for demurrage, for non-delivery and non-acceptance of cargo, for breach of a ship repair contract, on disputes over hire of vessel for off-shore support services, and for port pilotage services, and more.
Sitpah has been appointed in more than 30 arbitral references by various parties, such as the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) and Asian International Arbitration Centre (“AIAC”, formerly known as the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration — KLRCA) as sole, presiding, emergency or party-nominated arbitrator. She is on the panel of Arbitrators of Singapore Chambers of Maritime Arbitration (“SCMA”), the American Arbitration Association’s International Centre for Dispute Resolution (“ICDR”), the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (“EMAC”), and on the list of arbitrators of the London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA”). Sitpah is also a supporting member of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (“LMAA”), and a fellow of CIArb and the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators (“MIArb”).
Sitpah is the author of the book The Arrest of the Superyacht Equanimity – How Malaysia reclaimed what was hers (released in April 2021); co-author of the admiralty chapter in Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Malaysian Precedents of Pleadings; contributor to the Malaysian chapter of Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, published by Hart Publishing; and country reporter for Malaysia to the Asia Pacific Arbitration Reporter of Singapore (2014-2017). She has been recognised by Chambers Asia, Asia Pacific Legal 500 and others professional publications.
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