The Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2022 is a guide to the region’s leading dispute resolution firms and lawyers. The lists of rankings are based on extensive interviews with litigators, arbitrators, dispute resolution specialists and their clients, as well as examinations of recent casework handled by law firms and lawyers.

The review of AmerBON is reproduced below.

AmerBON, Advocates


Analysis

Review


Dispute resolution

AmerBON, Advocates is renowned for its civil and human rights, and criminal litigation practices. Particularly, its specialist business and human rights (BHR) team has been advocating with the Malaysian government to formulate national action plans on BHR. The firm is also experienced in handling advocacy on a wide range of other legal issues, from international law, and constitutional and administrative law, to commercial and corporate disputes, and construction and land claims. Last year, the team was engaged in various contentious matters involving corporate fraud, white-collar crimes and anti-money laundering prosecutions. Its criminal law set has been busy defending clients in high-profile, high-stakes criminal prosecutions. For example, the team counselled Sabah’s former Chief Minister and won him an acquittal last June of nearly 50 corruption and money-laundering charges. The firm spends nearly 40% of its time and income on pro bono work in public interest cases.

Co-founders and partners Amer Hamzah and Edmund Bon are leading and respected figures in the market, particularly for criminal law and human rights law, respectively.

In the white-collar crime space, the firm has been representing Datuk Seri Panglima Abdul Azeez bin Abdul Rahim (Azeez) at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court in defending several charges, including three offences under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act (MACCA), nine offences under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA). The total sum involved is RM144.5 million.

In commercial and transactions, the firm is representing the majority shareholder of GS Realty, one of the biggest estate agencies in Malaysia, in defending a suit on minority oppression filed by a minority shareholder of the firm. This matter is significant because it raises the question of whether the effect of the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981 would apply to a case of minority oppression under a select section of the Companies Act 2016.

In a notable triumph, the firm successfully represented a number of ex-employees of Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) in defending claims alleged by MBI over breaches of trust and fiduciary duties, and conspiracy to injure. This landmark ruling of a seven-year litigation was a groundbreaking judgment that established the legal position on a ‘corporation sole’.

Recent publishable clients of the firm include FGV Holdings, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, NWP Holdings and SWM Greentech.

Client feedback

“It is prompt in identifying the issue and dispute, quick to advise us on the next course of action, honest in its deliverables and manages its associates well in preparing the document needed.” – Government and regulatory

“The firm and its founders’ focus are not only on being great legal practitioners but on matters integral to society especially human rights. This is proven by their pro bono work which is encouraged throughout the firm which gives young upcoming lawyers a chance to expand their contribution outside the courts. They work well with civil society, governments, and multiple stakeholders encouraged and led by Edmund Bon and Amer Hamzah.” – Government and regulatory

“Responsive to queries. Timely action taken.” – Real estate

Edmund Bon

“Passionate and well-versed on human rights and labour matters.”

“Quick to understand the dispute and identify solutions.”

“Edmund Bon being a practising lawyer, is an activist and a director of The Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) which he co-founded in 2011. His talents in diplomacy clearly showed during the National Consultations dialogue attended by Government Officials and Civil Society. Looking at the team he has built, also shows a capable leader and mentor, someone who is not afraid to push boundaries and it is reflected in the team.”

“Accessible, knowledgeable, decisive.”

Amer Hamzah

“Practical and solution-oriented.”


Rankings

Benchmark Litigation also ranked AmerBON as Highly Recommended under White Collar Crime, and Notable under Commercial and Transactions.


The full list of Malaysian firms reviewed and ranked can be accessed here and here.