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
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
Abrahams Davidson & Co is one of the foremost firms in Brunei.
In M&A, the firm acted for Baiduri Bank in the acquisition of assets from HSBC.
An interesting deal saw the firm advising ThyssenKrupp on establishing a plant fertilizer production facility.
Notable clients include Bank of China, Baiduri Bank, Bank Julius Baer Singapore, and ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions.
CCW Partnership is one of the market leaders in Brunei and has a well-known financial and corporate practice.
During the research period the firm has been involved in a number of cross border deals including loan agreements, joint ventures and foreign direct investment.
The firm saw a number of staffing changes, with Adzim Amir Hamzah joining the firm’s corporate and finance practice from Skrine Kuala Lumpur, and Dunstan Sim Liang Kiat leaving the same practice.
One of the few Brunei law firms to have an international footprint, Dr Colin Ong Legal Services is active across financial and corporate and has experienced in sectors such as oil and gas, insurance and construction. The firm’s clients include international firms, the Brunei government, and top banks such as Standard Chartered, Baiduri, and UOB.