The Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration ("SCMA") is a specialist arbitration institution that aims to promote maritime arbitration in Singapore. Since its formation, it has established a solid presence in the region, with the quantum of claims handled reaching approximately US$120 million in 2019.

Amidst a constantly evolving maritime arbitration landscape, SCMA continues to keep itself current by updating its rules with the launch of the Fourth Edition of the SCMA Rules on 1 December 2021. The Fourth Edition seeks to reflect current shipping arbitration practices, reduce costs, and streamline arbitral proceedings.

Here, we look at the following key changes:

  1. Streamlining arbitral proceedings by:
    1. Permitting two arbitrators to see an arbitration and an award to their conclusion;
    2. Removing the mandatory requirement for oral hearings;
    3. Implementing a default time limit for the close of proceedings;
    4. Requiring tribunal approval for change of counsel;
  2. Adoption of electronic methods, namely:
    1. Electronic service of documents;
    2. Electronic signing of awards;
    3. Virtual case management meetings and hearings;
  3. Other amendments, namely:
    1. Increasing the monetary threshold for the Expedited Procedure; and
    2. Application of the SCMA Standard Terms of Appointment by default.

The Fourth Edition will apply to all arbitrations commencing on and after 1 January 2022.

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