Arbitration in Singapore has grown with more parties in international arbitration choosing to bring their disputes here.

Over the past 8 years, the number of cases handled by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has tripled to 160 in 2009. For 2010, 298 cases have been brought to the SIAC, with 85% of these being international shipping, maritime, corporate, insurance, and construction disputes involving claims and counterclaims worth US$1.54 billion.

Singapore's Law Minister, K Shanmugam attributed SIAC's rise as the leading centre in Asia administering international arbitrations to factors such as judicial restraint from interfering with arbitration proceedings, excellent logistics and the liberalisation in legal services to allow foreign law firms to practice here.

New SIAC Rules

Incorporating international practices and to provide a "lighter touch" service, the SIAC recently published a new 4th Edition of its Arbitration Rules. The SIAC reviewed the application of the previous 2007 Rules and drawing both from the practical experiences of the past 3 years as well as from extensive consultations with practitioners and arbitrators, the SIAC drafted the new 4th Edition Rules with many new features.

The new Rules came into effect 1st July 2010 and apply to any arbitration begun on that date, unless parties choose to abide by the previous Rules. Retaining the basics of the 2007 Rules, the new Rules also aim to:-

  1.  Expedite proceedings

Under the old rules, an SIAC administered case took an average of 18 months to complete. The following new Rules aim to expedite proceedings, with generally shorter or more flexible time limits, as well as lower costs of arbitration.

  1.  Equalise the position between parties and provide interim relief

The changes also equalises the parties' positions and provides them recourse to more interim and emergency relief.

  1.  Give the Tribunal's new powers

The Tribunal has been given new powers to facilitate more effective and efficient arbitration.

The SIAC has not only added substantial new Rules, but where the parts of the old Rules have been retained, these have been modernised and clarified.