Nigel Kat SC

Call 1983 (Hong Kong), 1984 (New York), 1977 (England & Wales)
Silk 2015 (Hong Kong)




T: +852 2840 1130

Secretary: Ms. Emy Sum


A punchy advocate who is better than most Hong Kong barristers at being a team player‘ – Legal 500 2023 (Commercial Disputes).

Nigel is ranked as a Leading Silk for Administrative and Public Law by Chambers and Partners Global 2023 and Greater China Region 2023. He is a recommended Silk in Commercial Disputes, Labour and Employment in the Legal 500 2023.  Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide previously reported that he combines being a “good strategist and advocate” with a “direct and no-nonsense approach”. He appears regularly in the Court of Final Appeal.

Called to the English Bar in 1977, he has practised in Hong Kong since 1983, firstly with the Hong Kong Government and in private practice since 1988 when he was consistently ranked by Chambers and Partners as a “Leading Junior” in Hong Kong. He is also admitted to the Bar in New York (1984) and has advised on, appeared in and arbitrated disputes on the law of all 3 jurisdictions.

Nigel has a broad practice across a range of High Court civil and commercial litigation, including insurance, banking, international trade and domestic contracts. He recently succeeded in establishing Quistclose liability against Citibank and on limitation: PT Tugu v Citibank : [2022] HKCA 510; [2018] 5 HKLRD 277. He advises and appears in letters of credit disputes, and successfully defended the UCP 600 in Swiss Singapore v China Citic Bank  [2016] 2 HKLRD 1125 and on final appeal in FAMV 50/2014. He established economic (commercial) duress by a major international investment bank against a small counterparty in connection with the placement of listed shares in a falling market: Liming Capital v CLSA Limited  [2018] HKCFI 6. He has also dealt with contested liquidations and directors’ liability, including in Akai Holdings v. Everwin Dynasty et al., HCCL 42 of 2005 (2016).

He regularly advises the Solicitors’ Indemnity Fund and its insurers on professional negligence.

In his outstanding administrative law and judicial review practice, Nigel advises and appears for applicants from developers and ride-hailing operators to NGOs, including Designing Hong Kong and the Friends of Hoi Ha, activists and the indigent at all levels up to and including the Court of Final Appeal.

He successfully conducted the landmark same-sex marriage employment rights case, Leung Chun Kwong Angus v. Secretary for the Civil Service  (2019) 22 HKCFAR 282. He succeeded in both environmental protection challenges for the Country Parks: in  Chan Ka Lam v The Country and Marine Parks Authority where he first successfully cross-examined the Government’s principal witness and succeeded on the law, including in the Court of Final Appeal (2020) 23 HKCFAR 414; [2019] 2 HKLRD 498; [2017] HKEC 841; and reasserting the Town Planning Board’s Tameside duties in Chan Ka Lam v. The Chief Executive in Council (2017) HCAL 28 of 2015. In Designing Hong Kong Limited v The Town Planning Board (2018) 21 HKCFAR 237, he led the establishment of Protective Costs Orders in Hong Kong. He conducted the Hong Kong Airport Third Runway challenge in Ho Loy v Director of Environmental Protection HCAL 21 of 2015.

Back in 2004 and 2009, in ST v Betty Kwan [2004] 4 HKLRD 277 and FB v Director of Immigration [2009] 2 HKLRD 346, Nigel established the rights to a fair hearing and to legal representation in torture claim screening.

His labour and employment practice has more recently focussed on advice re blue-chip company terminations and re-employment amid the upheavals engendered by COVID 19.

In the specialist field of rating, valuation and compensation, he has advised the major developers and utilities including CLP, and appeared in the Lands Tribunal, Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal. His expertise in business valuation, including by a variety of equity and DCF methods, was developed in those cases and is now principally deployed in shareholder disputes.

He has recently taken a white-collar crime case in the Court of Final Appeal: Tam Kit I v HKSAR FACV 12 of 2022 .

Nigel has been an arbitrator for many years. He has conducted references and appeared as counsel in international commercial arbitration held under a variety of rules, including ad hoc, UNCITRAL, ICC and HKIAC. He became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) in 1992, a Chartered Arbitrator in 2007 and an adjudicator in 2008. He is on the panel of arbitrators of the HKIAC, CI Arb, ICC HK, HKInstArb and APRAG. Recent party-appointed arbitrator appointments include a complex US$540 million claim by a PRC investor against a U.S. second-tier financier (2022), and he has dealt with other multimillion US$ claims by venture capital investors and a manufacturer against PRC companies and individuals. As counsel, his recent appointments include the representation of an Israeli distributor in the arbitration of its claims against a very large PRC air-conditioning manufacturer.

Nigel was accredited as a mediator by CEDR in 2009 and is an experienced mediator. He specialises in the mediation of commercial disputes between commercial investors and their investee partners.

The Hong Kong Bar Association has appointed him to chair its Disciplinary Tribunal. He was a founding member of the Advocacy Training Council of Hong Kong. He regularly teaches and examines advocacy at all levels for the Bar and the ATC in Hong Kong and overseas. He has taught at Keble. He has also served as a member of the Inland Revenue Board of Review.

Practice Areas

Administrative and Public Law
Banking and Commercial Law
Planning and Environmental Law
Labour and Employment
General Civil Litigation
Rating, Valuation and Compensation
Property Law
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) (1992)
  • Chartered Arbitrator (2007)
  •  HKIAC, CI Arb, ICC HK, HKInstArb and APRAG panel of arbitrators
  • Adjudicator (2008)

Banking Commercial / Securities

  • PT Tugu v Citibank [2018] 5 HKLRD 277 and on limitation: [2022] HKCA 510.
  • Liming Capital v CLSA Limited, HCA 2055 of 2008.
  • Swiss Singapore v China Citic Bank, [2010] 2 HKLD 1125; FAMV 50/2014.
  • Passport Special Opportunities Master Fund LP v ESun Holdings Ltd , HCA 2722 of 2008.


Constitutional and Administrative Law

  • Leung Chun Kwong Angus v. Secretary for the Civil Service [2017] 2 HKLRD 1132 (CACV 126 of 2017).
  • Chan Ka Lam v The Country and Marine Parks Authority (2020) 23 HKCFAR 414, [2019] 2 HKLRD 1198 and  [2017] HKEC 841.
  • Ho Loy v Director of Environmental Protection [2016] HKEC 2751 (HCAL 21 of 2015).
  • FB and others v Director of Immigration [2009] 2 HKLRD 346; HCAL 51 of 2007 (procedural fairness and fair hearings).
  • ST v Betty Kwan [2004] 4 HKLRD 277(CA) (procedural fairness and fair hearings).
  • Lee Miu Ling v. Attorney-General of Hong Kong [1995] HKLY 558 (HC); CACV 145 of 1995 (CA).
  •  Lau San Ching v. Apollonia Liu, Returning Officer HCMP 3215 of 1994.


Planning and Environmental Law

  • Chan Ka Lam v The Country and Marine Parks Authority [2017] HKEC 841 (HCAL 54 of 2014).
  • Chan Ka Lam v. The Chief Executive in Council and The Town Planning Board [2017] HKEC 2527 (HCAL 28 of 2015).
  • Ho Loy v Director of Environmental Protection  [2016] HKEC 2751 (HCAL 21 of 2015).


Civil Procedure

  • Designing Hong Kong Limited v The Town Planning Board CACV 184 of 2015 (Protective Costs Orders).
  • The ‘Hui Rong’ [2008] 5 HKLRD 418; [2009] 1 HKLRD 144 (CA) (with Clifford Smith, SC) [2008] 5 HKLRD 41.


Business Valuation; Rating and Valuation, Compulsory Acquisition

  • An international commercial arbitration: value of loss of a chance to claimant (2022)
  • An international commercial arbitration: valuation of share options as damages (2016).
  • Best Origin v Commissioner for Rating and Valuation [2008] HKEC 323; LDGA 14 of 1998 (LT) (with Guy Roots QC); CACV 67 of 2008 (CA, CFA leave), (2012) 15 HKCFAR 816 (with John Howell QC).
  • China Light and Power v Commissioner for Rating and Valuation CACV 101 of 1994 (with Michael FitzGerald, QC).
  • Shun Fung Ironworks v Director of Building and Lands [1995] 2 HKLR 311 (LT); [1994] HKLY 193; CA 152, 153 of 1992 (CA) (both with Robert Carnwath, QC).