Brunei

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: The Law Society of Brunei Darussalam

Financial regulator: Brunei International Financial Center of the Ministry of Finance

IFLR1000 ranking categories: 

Financial and corporate (published October) – Financial and corporate

Jurisdiction overview

Brunei is an oil-rich country in East Asia and an absolute monarchy, where the Sultan of Brunei is both head of state and head of government. The country has strong ties with the UK as it was a colony until 1984. Its legal system is therefore based on English common law with an independent judiciary, a body of written common law judgments and statutes, and legislation enacted by the Sultan.

The corporate legal practice in the country is dominated by Abrahams Davidsons & Co and CCW Partnership with the former being focused on corporate and commercial work and the latter focused on construction, real estate and technology. 

As a state composed of a majority of Muslims, Islam has been made the official religion of Brunei Darussalam but there is also concern that the country is shifting towards adopting an Islamic legal framework.

In 2014, the monarch Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, also one of the wealthiest men in the world, announced his intention to introduce a full shariah system in the nation. Under the new law, tough Islamic punishments are rolled out and critics on social media websites could face prosecution.

Candy Chan - Journalist - Asia-Pacific

Financial and corporate
CCW Partnership

Active since 1980, CCW Partnership is a well-known name in the Brunei legal market.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is recognised for its high quality financial and corporate work. The firm takes on domestic and international clients, and its experience covers a variety of mandates including acquisitions, joint ventures, and restructurings in sectors including construction and transport. The firm often works alongside leading international law firms.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period, the firm was primarily active in the corporate space, often for international clients. Highlights include advising on both acquisitions and disposals, advising on the formation of a landmark joint venture, and advising on a restructuring.

 

Dr Colin Ong Legal Services

Established in 1998, Dr Colin Ong Legal Services is one of the few Brunei law firms to have an international footprint. The firm is located in Bandar Seri Begawan and is led by managing partner Koh Shiao Hui. Other key figures include senior partner Colin Ong.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has experience in sectors such as aviation, oil and gas, insurance and construction.

 

Key clients

The firm’s clients include international firms, the Brunei government, and top banks such as Standard Chartered, Baiduri and UOB.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period, the firm notably advised large international companies on expanding their presence in Brunei. Another highlight saw the firm advising an international client on a project in the oil and gas sector.