As previously reported (see our previous blog posts here), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is undertaking a review of its rules. SIAC Court of Arbitration President, Gary Born, has recently provided further details of the review, including some potentially significant developments. Among the substantive amendments being considered for the 2016 rules are the introduction of specific rules concerning multiple contracts, joinder and consolidation, as well as improvements to the existing emergency arbitrator and expedited arbitration procedures. Such developments will be welcomed by practitioners and end-users alike.
Of particular interest is the announcement of a new set of SIAC rules dedicated to investor-state arbitrations: the Investment Arbitration Rules. These are intended to provide States with alternatives to the ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules, reflecting Singapore's desire to solidify its position as a leading hub for international dispute resolution and, in particular, to make further inroads into the Investor-State dispute market. The Investment Arbitration Rules will deal expressly with the topical area of third party funding and also provide a mechanism for the summary dismissal of "meritless" claims, which is likely to prove particularly useful given the frequent occurrence of jurisdictional challenges in Investor-State Arbitration. It will be interesting to see if jurisdictional challenges are dealt with directly in the early dismissal procedure.
Input on draft revisions to the Arbitration Rules will be sought from the newly-established, multi-jurisdictional SIAC Users Council, and public comment on the revised draft and the new Investment Arbitration Rules is expected to be invited later this month, giving significant opportunities for practitioner feedback to be considered. The launch of the revised Arbitration Rules and new Investment Arbitration Rules is expected to take place in May 2016, to coincide with SIAC's silver jubilee anniversary.