Dr Michael Hwang S.C. was educated at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Oxford University, to which he gained entry by winning a College Scholarship by open competitive examination. He was called to the Singapore Bar in 1968, when he joined Allen & Gledhill, now Singapore's largest law practice. He became a partner in 1972 and retired from the firm at the end of 2002 after serving as Head of its Litigation and Arbitration Department for 10 years.
He is admitted to practise in Singapore, England & Wales, West Malaysia and Victoria with links to Chambers in London and Sydney.
He served as a Judicial Commissioner (fixed term High Court Judge) of the Supreme Court from 1991 – 1992, and was appointed one of the first twelve Senior Counsel of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 1997.
On his retirement from Allen & Gledhill Dr Hwang established a boutique practice, mainly as an International Arbitrator with a selective advisory practice as Senior Counsel.
He has lectured and written extensively on international arbitration and mediation. He is active in domestic and international disputes including investment treaty disputes (under ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA, ICSID, AAA/ICDR, CAS, BANI, DIAC, CIETAC, HKIAC, SCC, Swiss and SIAC Rules). His arbitrations and mediations have involved disputes in more than 41 countries and hearings in 26 cities.
Dr Hwang's former appointments include: Vice Chairman of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Vice President of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), Court Member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and Trustee of the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC). He has also served as a United Nations Compensation Commissioner (adjudicating claims against Iraq arising from the First Gulf War) and a Vice-Chair of the International Bar Association's (IBA) Arbitration Committee as well as a Council Member of International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS). He currently serves on the Council of the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA)
His other appointments include having been:-
- Singapore's Non-Resident Ambassador to Switzerland (and he is currently Singapore's Non-Resident Ambassador to Argentina);
- a visiting Professor (and later an Adjunct Professor) at the National University of Singapore; and
- President of the Law Society of Singapore.
In 2010 Dr Hwang was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts, having served as Deputy Chief Justice since 2005. In 2014, he was appointed Head of the Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) of the DIFC, having oversight of the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre as well as the Academy of Law.
In 2014 he was conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (Hon LLD) by the University of Sydney.