On 8 May 2017, Clyde & Co's Dubai office hosted a breakfast Q&A with Gary Born in collaboration with Hogan Lovells LLP and Middlesex University Dubai, moderated by Anne K. Hoffmann of Clyde & Co. and Andrew Mackenzie of Hogan Lovells.

Gary Born, President of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), was introduced by Anne K. Hoffmann who also spoke about the 2017 SIAC Investment Arbitration Rules. Andrew Mackenzie summarised recent changes to SIAC's Commercial Arbitration Rules of 2016.

Considering certain procedural issues

In an attempt to make the SIAC Arbitration Rules 2016 more efficient, the changes "nudge arbitrators" to consider certain procedural issues that may be appropriate to the arbitration proceedings. To this effect, the Arbitration Rules include provisions on disputes involving multiple contracts, multiple parties, and consolidation of different arbitration proceedings. In addition, there are amendments to the expedited procedure and the addition of a summary procedure allowing tribunals to render an award where a claim or defence is manifestly without legal merit or outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Key aspect of the rules

The SIAC Investment Arbitration Rules 2017 are the first arbitration rules enacted specifically for investment arbitration; recognising the need for rules tailored to disputes involving investors and government entities. A key aspect of these rules is a great emphasis on transparency. As such, they provide for non-disputing parties to make written or oral submissions to the tribunal and for the disclosure of third-party funding arrangements.

"Winter is coming"

The ensuing discussion was centred on the concern that "winter is coming" to the sphere of international arbitration, expressed by Mr. Born on a number of occasions, and what can be done to avoid that. Mr. Born expressed the view that we must venture onto relatively untrodden land and add a twist of innovation along the way. The provisions allowing for early dismissal of claims, contained in both the commercial and the investment arbitration rules, are an expression of this spirit of innovation.

Diversity in appointed arbitrators

In addition, Mr Born also expressed an interest, as President of SIAC, in ensuring that young practitioners are appointed as first-time arbitratiors while ensuring diversity, in particular by appointing women. 25% of SIAC's appointed arbitrators currently are women.

Ultimately, Mr Born believes the arbitration community needs to accept and adopt change to re-invent itself and "up our game" in order to ensure it stays warm and unaffected by winter.