International law firm Sidley Austin Brown & Wood has announced the appointment of a team of litigation lawyers to strengthen its Hong Kong and regional litigation practice. Charles Allen joins Sidley Austin Brown & Wood from Simmons and Simmons' Hong Kong office, bringing with him a team that includes Nick Gall and Melody Chan.

The new hires specialise in high value commercial litigation and arbitration, including major shareholders' disputes. The litigation practice will also focus on banking, insolvency, securities and regulatory work, injunctions, insurance and international trade and maritime matters.

Allen, who is qualified in England and Hong Kong, began his legal career with one of the top London law firms where he initially focused on general commercial litigation before moving on to specialising in shipping and international trade disputes, and conducted litigation and arbitration in various jurisdictions.

He moved to Hong Kong in 1995 and since then has concentrated on complex commercial litigation and arbitration, particularly high profile shareholders' disputes and commodity and trade finance matters. He and his team have represented clients from, among others, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Korea, in dispute resolution throughout the region.

"It is rare to be given the opportunity to develop a litigation practice for a major international law firm," comments Allen. "To do so for a firm like Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, with its unparalleled reputation for litigation, is not only a challenge, but also a privilege. We are looking forward to it and, with the support of the firm's global resources and clientele, we are confident of success."