In recent years Singapore has become an important arbitration venue. The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) was established in 1991 and is now regarded as one of the premier international arbitration institutions in the world. The Singapore Government has given strong support to the SIAC, as it wishes to establish Singapore as the arbitration centre of choice in Asia and as a one stop business centre.
The development of Singapore as an arbitration centre has been assisted by the opening, in 2009, of Maxwell Chambers, a colonial building of significant architectural interest made available by the Singapore Government, which is the world’s first fully integrated dispute resolution complex. Maxwell Chambers provides 14 state of the art hearing rooms, 12 preparation rooms, translation facilities and other infrastructure to support the efficient conduct of dispute resolution hearings and meetings in Singapore.
A number of top international arbitration and ADR institutions have located their administrative headquarters in Singapore in Maxwell Chambers including the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, the London Court of International Arbitration, the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, to name but a few.
The case load of the SIAC has increased substantially over recent years and in 2010 198 new cases were filed with the SIAC. The majority of the new matters filed related to the construction, global trade, shipping and general commercial sectors.
Singapore (and the SIAC in particular) has become the arbitration venue of choice for disputes arising under Indian and Vietnamese contracts, as Singapore is seen as providing a neutral, efficient and reliable dispute resolution forum. Nearly 40% of the disputes filed with the SIAC in 2010 which did not involve Singaporean parties emanated from India. Other important jurisdictions for the referral of disputes to Singapore (other than Vietnam, as mentioned) include Indonesia, Mainland China, the Hong Kong SAR and the United Arab Emirates.
The SIAC maintains a strong panel of top internationally recognised arbitrators from many jurisdictions and in 2010 it made 100 individual appointments to a total of 160 Tribunals.