Jurisdiction - Singapore
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Singapore – Local Arbitration: An Overview.

21 April, 2015

Arbitration has proven to be a cost effective and efficient alternative to traditional court litigation. Parties who consent to arbitrate want to resolve their disputes outside the judicial system as it is more flexible, cost effective and efficient in resolution.1 The legal services industry in Singapore grew by 25% between 2008 to 2012 and is presently valued at SGD 1.9BN. This growth has instigated a concomitant growth in arbitration. Not to be left lagging in this race, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has seen its new cases triple in the past decade from 64 in 2003 to 259 as at 31 December 2012.2

 

Singapore is recognized globally as a “safe” or “traditional” venue for dispute resolution, with pro arbitration laws and infrastructure.i It is also the third most preferred seat of arbitration just behind London and Geneva.3 This is largely due to Singapore’s “formal legal infrastructure”. This encompasses the national arbitration law, the impartiality of the legal system and the ability to enforce arbitral awards.ii

 

Specifically, in relation to Indian parties, a 2011 survey by Ernst & Young showed that Indian companies favoured arbitration over the courts and the most preferred venue was the SIAC.4One of the key reasons for this is the lack of reputable Indian institutions that are able to carry out institutional arbitration as opposed to ad-hoc arbitration which is more time consuming.5Furthermore, the use of English as first language, the proximity of India to Singapore vis-à-vis other established arbitration destinations, a well-regarded legal system that shares common law roots with the Indian system and the enforceability of Singaporean arbitral awards in India are all factors that contributed to the fact that the highest source of filings at the SIAC for three years running was India.6

 

In an effort to support Singapore’s growth as a regional arbitration hub, the Courts in Singapore have shown great deference to the process of arbitration, often playing the role of providing ancillary support and placing great importance to the notion of party autonomy. Indeed, the Singapore Court of Appeal has previously noted that “it is ..clearly established that the courts will endeavor to do their level best to facilitate and promote arbitration between commercial parties whenever possible”. iii

 

The SIAC and the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration are among the principal institutional providers of arbitration in Singapore. Each is a member of Maxwell Chambers. Maxwell Chambers is a dedicated Centre for international dispute resolution which provides a venue for international arbitration in Singapore. It is also home to a number of international arbitration institutions as well as the Singapore office of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre.

 

End Notes:

 

1 Peter Megens, Beth Cubitt, ‘Arbitrators’ Perspective: The Evolving Face of International Arbitration – The Past, the Present and the Future’ (2010) 13 International Arbitration Law Review 1, 1

 

2 Available online at www.siac.org.sg/why-siac/facts-figures/statistics

 

3 2012 SIAC Annual Report: 

http://www.siac.org.sg/images/stories/articles/annual_report/siac_annual_report_2012_new.pdf

 

4 John Raja, ‘Why Singapore scores over India on Settlement of Corporate Conflicts’ (The Economic Times, 1 January 2013)http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/
2013-01-01/news/36094176_1_arbitration-law-domestic-arbitration-indian-arbitration-act

 

5 John Raja, ‘Why Singapore scores over India on Settlement of Corporate Conflicts’ (The Economic Times, 1 January 2013)http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/
2013-01-01/news/36094176_1_arbitration-law-domestic-arbitration-indian-arbitration-act

 

6 Available online athttp://singaporeinternationalarbitration.com/2012/04/14/indian-arbitration-users-and-the-singapore-appeal/

 

i Loukas Mistelis, The Arbitral Seat: Important Features and the Relevance of Law (2012) 23 American Review of International Arbitration  407

 

ii White & Case. 2010 International Arbitration Survey: Choices in International Arbitration,17-9.: According to this survey, the “formal legal structure” of the seat is the most important factor corporate counsel take into account.

 

iii Navigator Investment Services Ltd v Accclaim Insurance Brokers Pte Ltd [2010] 1 SLR 25 [61]; Tjong Very Sumito and others v Antig Investments Pte Ltd [2009] 4 SLR (R) 732.

 

Duane Morris Selvam LLP

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Sarbjit Singh, Director, Duane Morris & Selvam 

ssingh@duanemorrisselvam.com

 

Satinder Pal Singh, Duane Morris & Selvam

spsingh@selvam.com.sg

 

Homegrown Dispute Resolution Law Firms in Singapore

 

International (with Local Law Capabilities) Dispute Resolution Law Firms in Singapore

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