HSF relocates Tokyo partner to head new arbitration hub

From left: James Allsop and Chad Catterwell

Supporting the Asia-Pacific arbitration practice, Herbert Smith Freehills launches an Australian arbitration hub in Melbourne led by partners James Allsop and Chad Catterwell.

“Complex international arbitrations are typically resource heavy, and sometimes with conflicting timelines,” said Allsop, who recently relocated from Tokyo after eight years in the city.

“With the hub, we can deploy skilled resources at speed to support our clients, as procedural timelines evolve and change.”

Allsop was Japan’s registered foreign lawyer (gaikokuho jimu bengoshi) and will continue to work on matters across Asia, leading a global platform of experts working as a connected team to bring litigation strategies to international businesses.

Catterwell spent his time in the Hong Kong office for almost three years before coming back to Melbourne in 2016.

He has expertise in disputes arising from M&A activity and joint ventures in Asia, particularly in China. He assists clients in numerous industries, with a strong interest in the energy and resources, manufacturing, and technology sectors.

The Australian hub was the second dispute hub launched by the firm after the Kuala Lumpur construction and infrastructure disputes hub was launched in 2022. The new hub will support clients along the Asia-Australia corridor and complement the existing international arbitration practice in Australia.

In addition to Allsop’s move, disputes partner Elaine Wong returned to the Tokyo office in January after spending three and a half years in the Singapore office.