This update considers the findings of the 2010 Queen Mary International Arbitration Survey and its impact on Singapore as a destination for international arbitration. We also review some recent statistics published by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and examine the most significant recent arbitration-related decision of the Singapore courts.

2010 International arbitration survey

The 2010 International Arbitration Survey: Choices in International Arbitration has recently been published by the School of International Arbitration, Queen Mary and University of London.

The study examines three main areas: how corporates make decisions about arbitration, who influences those decisions and what considerations corporate counsel take into account when negotiating arbitration clauses.

Amongst the significant findings was the fact that respondents to the survey ranked Singapore equal third most preferred seat of arbitration (alongside Paris and Tokyo), behind only London and Geneva. The results reflect Singapore's growing popularity as venue for arbitration, and its role as a "regional leader" in the Asian market.

Other key findings include:

  • The governing law is regarded as the most important factor in negotiating an arbitration agreement, followed by the seat and then the particular institution/rules.
  • Perceptions of neutrality and impartiality of the legal system are prime factors in choosing the governing law.
  • Choice of seat is mostly influenced by "formal legal infrastructure", the law governing the contract and convenience.
  • The choice of institution is affected by the reputation, neutrality and "internationalism" of the institution. The ICC remains the most popular institution, with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre ("SIAC") in fourth place behind the LCIA and AAA/ICDR.

The full results of the survey can be found here.

SIAC publishes Statistical Report

SIAC has published statistics concerning the cases it has dealt with over the last 10 years.

The figures show a steady increase in the number of cases handled, from 58 in 2000 to 160 in 2009. As at 31 October, the figure for 2010 was 160.

An interesting element to the report is the number of new cases by nationality. The figures reveal that, after Singapore, the top three nationalities of parties in 2010 were Hong Kong, Indonesia and India, with 22, 20 and 19 cases respectively.

It is also notable that of the 64 SIAC-administered cases conducted under the new 2010 SIAC Rules, five have included a request for the expedited procedure under Article 5.1. (Please see our previous Singapore arbitration update e-bulletin here dated 13 July 2010.) SIAC also announced in September that it had received the first request for the appointment of an Emergency Arbitrator under the new Rules, and that an arbitrator was appointed within 24 hours of the request being received (at 10pm on a Thursday night). We understand that a second such request has now been received.

Arbitration-related caselaw

Summaries of the most important recent decisions of the Singapore courts can be found here.