Geoffrey Lai

Senior Associate

Personal Profile

Geoffrey is a Senior Associate of Karas LLP and is a commercial disputes lawyer experienced in multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary cases.  He has experience in both litigation and international arbitration (HKIAC, CIETAC), and his practice focuses on corporate/commercial litigation, shareholders/joint venture and M&A disputes, probate disputes, contentious insolvency proceedings and financial/banking litigation.

Geoffrey has represented listed companies, financial institutions and high-net-worth individuals in complex commercial disputes, including some landmark cases in Hong Kong.  For instance, he has acted for the chairman of a coffeehouse chain in the PRC (listed in the US) in disputes against a consortium of investment banks in connection with a claim of over USD500 million; he has also represented a major cement production company in the PRC in a high profile and multijurisdictional litigation (together with over 10 ancillary actions) in connection with claims against, inter alia, the company’s former directors for breach of fiduciary duties and misappropriation of assets.

Geoffrey was admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong in 2015 and an Accredited HKIAC Tribunal Secretary (Deputy Counsel Grade) in 2016.  He speaks English, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Key Experience

Macanese tycoon
Advising a Macanese tycoon in litigation proceedings against a major SOE in the PRC in relation to a significant real estate development project in Macau.

A late tycoon's estate
Advising the joint and several administrators in the administration of a late tycoon's estate, including a potential recovery action against one of the children of the late tycoon for misappropriation of assets from a company in the PRC.

Chairman of a coffeehouse chain
Represented the chairman of a coffeehouse chain in the PRC (listed in the US) in disputes against a consortium of investment banks.

Leading asset management company
Represented a leading asset management company in HK in debt recovery actions against multiple entities and individuals in the PRC and HK, in connection with a series of loan arrangements involving a major jewellery group in HK.

Major cement production company
Represented a major cement production company in the PRC in a high profile and multi-jurisdictional litigation (together with over 10 ancillary actions) in connection with, inter alia, a complex trust scheme against its former directors and other major shareholding companies for, inter alia, breach of fiduciary duties and misappropriation of assets.

Liquidators of an investment management company
Advised the joint and several liquidators of an investment management company on potential causes of action against its directors/shadow directors arising from the involvement in procuring the company to dishonestly assist in a fraudulent scheme in the UK.

Child of a late tycoon
Represented one of the children of a late tycoon in proceedings commenced by his siblings as regards the late tycoon's estate, in particular, substantial interest in a piece of land in Nansha, the PRC.

Major construction SOE
Represented a major construction SOE in the PRC in an ad hoc commercial arbitration against its Singaporean contractor, in respect of a contractual dispute arising from a desalination plant project in Oman.

Construction company
Represented a construction company in the PRC in an arbitration against an Indonesian construction company, in respect of a contractual dispute arising from a power plant project in Indonesia.

Leading exhibition company
Represented a leading exhibition company in the UK in a HKIAC arbitration against the former founder of its subsidiary company, in respect of an alleged breach of a non-compete agreement.

Career History

  • Senior Associate, Karas LLP (2022)
  • Senior Associate, Howse Williams (2021)
  • Associate, Howse Williams (2020)
  • Associate, Hill Dickinson Hong Kong (2018)
  • Associate, Wilkinson & Grist (2016)
  • Associate, DaHui Lawyers (Beijing) (2015)
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong, PCLL (2012 – 2013)
  • Juris Doctor (2010 – 2012), Bachelor of Government and Public Administration (2007 – 2010, First Class Honors, Dean List (2009-2010))

Admissions

  • Accredited HKIAC Tribunal Secretary (Deputy Counsel Grade) (Qualified in 2016)
  • Solicitor of the High Court of Hong Kong (Admitted in 2015)