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Grace Cheng

Grace Cheng

Year of call: 2016 (Hong Kong (2013); England and Wales (2016); AIFC (2020); DIFC (2022); SICC (2022))

“Grace Cheng is a highly sought-after multilingual arbitrator, often sitting as sole arbitrator, with wide-ranging sectorial and jurisdictional experience” – Legal 500, 2024

Based in London, Grace Cheng is an English barrister and qualified solicitor in Hong Kong with a valid practicing certificate. She has rights of audience before the AIFC Court (Kazakhstan) and DIFC Courts (Dubai) and has also been granted full registration as a registered foreign lawyer at the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC). In addition to speaking fluent English, Cantonese and Mandarin, Grace has a working knowledge of French and Spanish.

Grace is a versatile advocate with experience in many different areas of the law (ranging from commercial and construction to family, employment, IP and sports law) with a particular focus on complex commercial matters involving an international element. She has worked for a wide range of clients including governments, local authorities, FTSE 100 companies and other corporate entities, high net worth individuals, as well as legal aid work. Grace is included on the Legal Services Panel for the Government of the Virgin Islands. 

In addition to her practice as counsel, Grace is a sought after neutral and has received over 30 appointments as arbitrator, adjudicator, expert, as well as being a member of various judicial panels, independent tribunals, disciplinary and regulatory commissions. She regularly deals with disputes in a diverse range of areas and involving a range of languages and governing laws, including the laws of England and Wales, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. She has acted as arbitrator in matters administered under the rules of various institutions including the DIAC, HKIAC, SIAC as well as ad hoc arbitrations and those under UNCITRAL rules.

She is a member of the Bar Council’s ADR Panel and has been appointed to the British Horseracing Authority’s Judicial Panel and The Football Association's Anti-Discrimination Panel. Grace has been a member of the Standing Panels for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals and the Davis Cup Finals since 2022 and 2023 respectively. She was appointed as a member of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Disciplinary Commission in the biggest snooker match fixing hearing to-date to determine disciplinary proceedings against 10 professional snooker players.

Grace has taught law at the University of Oxford, King’s College London, the University of Warwick, the National Chengchi University, and the National Taiwan University. She is a member of the AIAC Academy Tutors Panel and the AIFC Academy of Law Academic Pool.

Grace obtained a First Class Honours degree in law from the LSE and the BCL from the University of Oxford. She previously worked at Slaughter and May and was judicial assistant to the Honourable Mr Justice Blair when he was the Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court. She has also assisted Professor Ewan McKendrick with the latest two editions of Goode and McKendrick on Commercial Law.

Areas of expertise

Administrative and Public

Grace has acted for many local authorities and has also been instructed by the Gambling Commission, as well as by the Government Legal Department in a number of cases.

She was involved with acting for the Secretary of State for Transport and assisted as part of a wider team in the case of Eurotunnel v Secretary of State for Transport (Brexit ferry case) which settled on 1 March 2019. This was a procurement claim involving a challenge by Eurotunnel to capacity contracts awarded by the Government to DFDS, Brittany Ferries, and Seaborne Freight to provide additional freight capacity between the UK and continental Europe.

Cases of note:

  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Transport and assisting as part of a wider team in the case of Eurotunnel v Secretary of State for Transport (Brexit ferry case) which settled on 1 March 2019. This was a procurement claim involving a challenge by Eurotunnel to capacity contracts awarded by the Government to DFDS, Brittany Ferries, and Seaborne Freight to provide additional freight capacity between the UK and continental Europe. The contracts were procured under the ‘extreme urgency’ provisions in regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 to deal with the consequences of a ‘no-deal Brexit’.
  • Representing the Secretary of State for the Home Department in a claim for wrongful detention
  • Representing a local authority in a judicial review claim challenging the alleged failure by another local authority to carry out a Merton-compliant age assessment and to provide accommodation and support under the Children Act 1989
  • Appearing in the First tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in various matters involving appeals against the decision of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to deport following refusal of a human rights claim
  • Advising a local authority on issues under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in relation to the keeping of homing pigeons
  • Representing a popular restaurant chain in relation to a prosecution brought by Transport for London (TFL) for breach of the Highways Act
  • Acting as Independent Counsel in relation to an HMRC investigation into suspected VAT fraud and money laundering offences

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Grace is a sought after neutral and has received over 30 appointments as arbitrator, adjudicator, expert, as well as being a member of various judicial panels, independent tribunals, disciplinary and regulatory commissions. She regularly deals with disputes in a diverse range of areas and involving a range of languages and governing laws, including the laws of England and Wales, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. She has acted as arbitrator in matters administered under the rules of various institutions including the DIAC, HKIAC, SIAC as well as ad hoc arbitrations and those under UNCITRAL rules.

She is a member of the Bar Council’s ADR Panel and has been appointed to the British Horseracing Authority’s Judicial Panel and The Football Association's Anti-Discrimination Panel. Grace has been a member of the Standing Panels for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals and the Davis Cup Finals since 2022 and 2023 respectively. She was appointed as a member of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Disciplinary Commission in the biggest snooker match fixing hearing to-date to determine disciplinary proceedings against 10 professional snooker players.

Grace is included on a large number of panels, registries and databases of arbitrators including AIAC (Malaysia); BAC / BIAC (Beijing); CAA (Taipei); Delos (Paris); DIAC (Dubai); FINRA (US/Puerto Rico); HKIAC (Hong Kong); ICC (UK); LCIA (London); LMAA (London); MARC (Mauritius); MIAC (Maldives); SCC (Stockholm); SHAC (Shanghai); SHIAC (Shanghai); SIAC (Singapore); Sport Resolutions (International); and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Cases of note:

  • Appointed as sole arbitrator in an HKIAC arbitration governed by Hong Kong law involving breach of agreement relating to the sale of products on one of the world's largest online retailer and marketplace
  • Appointed as sole arbitrator in four HKIAC arbitrations governed by Hong Kong law and conducted under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and the HKIAC Procedures for the Administration of Arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules involving breach of sale and purchase contracts for terrain/truck crane delivery and entered into between a company from the United States and a company from Mexico
  • Appointed as sole arbitrator in an SIAC arbitration governed by the laws of Singapore relating to the claimant’s claim that one of the respondents has failed to fulfil its obligations under a Shareholder’s Agreement and Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) by failing and/or refusing to purchase Option Shares from the claimant pursuant to the SPA
  • Appointed as sole adjudicator by TECBAR in respect of a dispute involving the supply and installation of lighting at a fleet of stores owned by a British high-street retail chain
  • Appointed as sole adjudicator by TECBAR in respect of a dispute involving the maintenance and repair services of escalators and conveyors installed at a fleet of stores owned by a British high-street retail chain
  • Appointed as sole adjudicator by TECBAR in respect of a dispute involving the design and construction of a new football pitch
  • Appointed as sole adjudicator by TECBAR in a claim concerning unpaid invoices for works carried out as part of a project comprising the construction of an extension and conversion of an office into a hotel pursuant to a JCT contract
  • Appointed as a member of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) Disciplinary Commission in the biggest snooker match fixing hearing to-date to determine proceedings against 10 professional snooker players pursuant to article 7.1 of the WPBSA conduct regulations relating to allegations of betting and match fixing
  • Appointed as Chair of the Independent Tribunal in a matter involving two appeals by a national tennis association concerning misconduct at the Davis Cup which has been said to be the world’s largest annual international team competition in sport
  • Appointed as Chair of the Independent Tribunal to determine an appeal brought by a national association of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) challenging a decision of the ITF Davis Cup Committee that it is possible and practicable for its tennis team to travel to and play in a specified venue for a Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie
  • Appointed as co-arbitrator of the Independent Tribunal in a matter involving disciplinary proceedings brought against a tennis player by the ITF under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme at the ITF World Tennis Tour Tournament as a result of the player’s failure to provide a urine sample on demand due to an alleged medical condition
  • Appointed as Chair of the Independent Tribunal in a matter relating to a complaint brought by The Football Association against a professional football club during The FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup (Conti Cup) in relation to an alleged breach of the Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Competition Rules
  • Appointed as Chair of the Football Association Regulatory Commission in a matter relating to a breach of Rule E3.1 for discriminatory language used by a player during a football match
  • Appointed by The Football Association in 4 separate Rule K arbitrations involving allegations of unpaid intermediary fees following the transfer of professional football players from one professional football club to another
  • Appointed as a Specialist Member of the British Horseracing Authority Judicial Panel in a number of matters, including to reverse placings following interference; allegations against Jockeys of improper riding, failure to take all reasonable measures to ensure their horse achieved the best possible position, breach of the Starting Procedures Code, and failure to provide a urine sample; allegations against trainers involving a failure to distribute pool monies, and the presence of a Category B prohibited substance in a horse following a race

Commercial

Prior to joining the Bar, Grace worked at magic circle law firm Slaughter and May where she assisted with high-profile international commercial transactions and advised clients including the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Prada, Cathay Pacific, MTR, Moody’s and Standard Chartered.

Grace has published articles in leading journals, including pieces co-written with Sir William Blair in the Bank of Italy’s Legal Research Working Papers and in the ICC Dossier. She was part of a joint COMBAR / ChBA working group responding to the Law Commission’s call for evidence on smart contracts.

Cases of note:

  • Advising a German publicly listed company on the recognition and enforcement of a German court judgment in the UK
  • Acting for the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of a company in a High Court claim brought by a Covid-19 testing laboratory for breach of employment contract, breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy
  • Acting for a Chinese company in a High Court claim relating to allegations that Peppa Pig toys had been manufactured and distributed without approval
  • Acting for a popular chain with over 100 restaurants worldwide in a High Court unfair prejudice claim

Assisted with the following matters at Slaughter and May:

  • Advising CITIC Securities Corporate Finance (HK) Limited on the cash offer made on behalf of a controlling shareholder of China XLX Fertiliser Ltd (China XLX) for the shares of China XLX, one of the largest manufacturers of coal-based urea and compound fertilisers in China. The cash offer was made in connection with the proposal to delist the shares of China XLX from the Singapore Exchange, with the shares remaining listed on the Hong Kong Exchange
  • Advising China Power International Development Limited, the flagship company of China Power Investment Corporation, one of the five national power generation groups in China, in relation to its issue of RMB 2 billion 4.5% bonds due 2017
  • Advising MTR Corporation in relation to the construction and commissioning of the Shatin to Central Link, one of the most significant infrastructure projects to be undertaken in Hong Kong
  • Advising an international banking group in respect of the global IBOR investigations, including the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s HIBOR investigation in Hong Kong
  • Advising Cathay Pacific Airways and Swire Pacific Limited on the annual update of their debt issuance programmes

Assisted with the following decision given by The Board of Appeal of the European Supervisory Authorities, as Judicial Assistant to The Honourable Mr Justice Blair: FinancialCraft Analytics Sp. z o.o. (formerly named Global Rating Sp. z o.o.) v The European Securities and Markets Authority (Ref. BoA 2017 01)

Construction

Grace has been involved with advising an oil and gas company on issues arising out of a contract for engineering, procurement, construction and installation of fibre optic infrastructure in Kazakhstan, resulting from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She has also advised one of the largest developers in the UK in relation to the design and construction of a residential and premium quality hotel development involving a JCT contract.

Grace is on various panels of adjudicators, including HKA (Hong Kong); HKIAC (Hong Kong); LMAA (London); TECBAR (UK); and UKA (UK).

Cases of note:

  • Advising an oil and gas company on issues arising out of a contract for engineering, procurement, construction and installation of fibre optic infrastructure in Kazakhstan, including on descoping and acceleration, and exposure and entitlement resulting from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic (with Jeremy Nicholson QC of 4 Pump Court Chambers)
  • Advising one of the largest developers in the UK in relation to the design and construction of a residential and premium quality hotel development involving a JCT contract
  • Appointed as sole adjudicator by TECBAR in respect of a dispute involving the supply and installation of lighting at a fleet of stores owned by a British high-street retail chain (claim value approximately £400,000)
  • Appointed as sole adjudicator by TECBAR in respect of a dispute involving the maintenance and repair services of escalators and conveyors installed at a fleet of stores owned by a British high-street retail chain (claim value approximately £400,000)
  • Appointed as sole adjudicator by TECBAR in respect of a dispute involving the design and construction of a new football pitch (claim value approximately £900,000)
  • Appointed as sole adjudicator  by TECBAR in a claim concerning unpaid invoices for works carried out as part of a project comprising the construction of an extension and conversion of an office into a hotel pursuant to a JCT contract

Employment

Grace has acted in many employment cases, including representing English Heritage in a claim brought by a zero-hours contract employee at Stonehenge for alleged unpaid furlough pay under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. She also represented a former employee of Virgin Atlantic in a claim against the airline for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

In particular, Grace specialises in cases involving the intersection of commercial and employment law. She acted for one of the defendants in a claim brought by a Covid-19 testing laboratory for breach of employment contract, breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy.

Cases of note:

  • Representing English Heritage in a claim brought by a zero-hours contract employee at Stonehenge for alleged unpaid furlough pay under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Representing a former employee of Virgin Atlantic in a claim against the airline for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination
  • Representing a former employee of a care home in a claim for race and age discrimination

Sport

Grace has received numerous appointments as a member of the judicial panels, independent tribunals, disciplinary and regulatory commissions of various sporting bodies. She is included on Sport Resolutions’ Panel of Arbitrators (International). She has been appointed to the British Horseracing Authority’s Judicial Panel and The Football Association’s Anti-Discrimination Panel. She has been a member of the Standing Panels for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals and the Davis Cup Finals since 2022 and 2023 respectively.

She has been appointed as sole arbitrator by The Football Association in 4 separate Rule K arbitrations involving allegations of unpaid intermediary fees and as sole arbitrator of the Independent Tribunal in a matter involving two appeals by a national tennis association concerning misconduct at the Davis Cup which has been said to be the world’s largest annual international team competition in sport. She was appointed as a member of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Disciplinary Commission in the biggest snooker match fixing hearing to-date to determine disciplinary proceedings against 10 professional snooker players.

Cases of note:

  • Appointed as a member of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) Disciplinary Commission in the biggest snooker match fixing hearing to-date to determine proceedings against 10 professional snooker players pursuant to article 7.1 of the WPBSA conduct regulations relating to allegations of betting and match fixing
  • Appointed as Chair of the Independent Tribunal in a matter involving two appeals by a national tennis association concerning misconduct at the Davis Cup which has been said to be the world’s largest annual international team competition in sport
  • Appointed as Chair of the Independent Tribunal to determine an appeal brought by a national association of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) challenging a decision of the ITF Davis Cup Committee that it is possible and practicable for its tennis team to travel to and play in a specified venue for a Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie
  • Appointed as co-arbitrator of the Independent Tribunal in a matter involving disciplinary proceedings brought against a tennis player by the ITF under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme at the ITF World Tennis Tour Tournament as a result of the player’s failure to provide a urine sample on demand due to an alleged medical condition
  • Appointed as Chair of the Independent Tribunal in a matter relating to a complaint brought by The Football Association against a professional football club during The FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup (Conti Cup) in relation to an alleged breach of the Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Competition Rules
  • Appointed as Chair of the Football Association Regulatory Commission in a matter relating to a breach of Rule E3.1 for discriminatory language used by a player during a football match
  • Appointed by The Football Association in 4 separate Rule K arbitrations involving allegations of unpaid intermediary fees following the transfer of professional football players from one professional football club to another
  • Appointed as a Specialist Member of the British Horseracing Authority Judicial Panel in a number of matters, including to reverse placings following interference; allegations against Jockeys of improper riding, failure to take all reasonable measures to ensure their horse achieved the best possible position, breach of the Starting Procedures Code, and failure to provide a urine sample; allegations against trainers involving a failure to distribute pool monies, and the presence of a Category B prohibited substance in a horse following a race