2 Dec 2020 Posted in [Speeches]
Mr Davinder Singh SC, Chairman of SIAC
Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court
Ladies and gentlemen
- Good evening.
- Today is an important milestone for the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). It marks the official launch of SIAC’s New York office.
- SIAC has done very well over the years – more than 400 cases annually in the last three years, involving parties from 59 jurisdictions.
- US parties have consistently been one of SIAC’s top ten foreign users in the last five years. In 2018, the largest number of cases came from US parties.
- It has been SIAC’s intention for some time now to open an office in the US. There is significant demand, as seen from the caseload breakdown since 2014. US direct investments in the Asia-Pacific exceed US$800 billion1 and that is expected to grow further.
- In this part of the world, arbitration has become an extremely important means of resolving disputes which may arise from investments. If you look around Asia, I think most people would agree SIAC is considered the top arbitral institution2.
- In that sense, the opening of the US office of SIAC is a long overdue step. It is an important step for SIAC.
SIAC’s Competitive Advantages
- SIAC has been successful in its work because it has been able to help parties resolve their disputes fairly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
- Let me say a little bit about SIAC.
- Its panel comprises over 500 experienced arbitrators from more than 40 jurisdictions – some of the top arbitrators in the world, both common law and civil law experts.
- In Singapore, parties are free to choose any arbitrator or counsel they wish. There is minimal intervention from the courts. There is a framework for it which is clear. Therefore, it is extremely common to see US counsel, and other foreign counsel and parties in Singapore, handling disputes which have nothing to do with Singapore.
- People also want their arbitration to be done in a timely manner, besides having counsel of their choice. There again, SIAC does well.
- A 2018 study by an international institute3 shows that SIAC arbitrations are the most efficient, compared to other arbitral institutions. They studied the statistics from the arbitral institutions themselves. The mean duration (of an SIAC arbitration) was 13.8 months, shorter than many other institutions.
- Parties can also avail themselves of SIAC’s Emergency Arbitrator provisions, SIAC’s expedited procedure, as well as their procedure for early dismissal of claims and defences.
- The same study also concluded that SIAC remains significantly less expensive than many other comparable jurisdictions.
- SIAC is growing from strength to strength. This year, there were another record 1,005 cases as of 30 October 2020, though this does include two packs of cases filed for related contracts, and those two sets have a very large number of filings. Congratulations are due to SIAC on this achievement.
- This is due in no small part to the successive Chairmen and Presidents we have had, who have all made SIAC an extremely important institution in the arbitral world.
- And now, Mr Davinder Singh and the President Mr Gary Born – both are prominent figures in the international arbitration field. Their visionary and strategic leadership has helped SIAC, and they have contributed tremendously despite their busy schedules. They are constantly working with their teams, working on how to bring SIAC to even greater heights. We are very grateful to them.
- SIAC manages many cases from different jurisdictions. It is well supported by a multinational secretariat – lawyers qualified in several key jurisdictions, including the US and Canada. The cases may have nothing to do with Singapore and may not even be using Singapore law. Even so, Singapore is chosen as the seat of arbitration.
- In the world, Singapore is now the third most preferred seat of arbitration, and it ranks among the top four in all regions except Latin America.
- There are good reasons for it. It has got a trusted legal system, a supportive judiciary, and modern, progressive laws which we regularly review to keep updated with international best practices and commercial developments.
- We will continue to strengthen our legal framework for international arbitration and maintain its relevance to businesses.
- Congratulations to SIAC once again on the launch of your fifth overseas office. Today’s launch is just the beginning. Looking forward to many more successes in the years to come. Thank you.
1. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce. ↩
2. Queen Mary University of London International Arbitration Survey – White & Case, 2018. ↩
3. CMS Holborn Asia and the Society of International Law (Singapore). ↩
Last updated on 2 Dec 2020