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 08 April 2019

ANNOUNCEMENT

International Dispute Resolution Survey

The Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy (SIDRA) has launched the International Dispute Resolution Survey to help corporations make strategic decisions on dispute resolution options, and to inform policy makers, dispute resolution institutions, and legal service providers on the dispute resolution needs of corporations.

Conducted by SIDRA and commissioned by the Singapore Ministry of Law, the Survey seeks to put together a comprehensive and robust understanding of how corporations resolve their cross-border commercial disputes and the reasons for their choices.

The Survey is focused on users of international dispute resolution mechanisms, primarily corporations that operate internationally in cross-border contexts. For this reason, the profile of users selected is exclusively limited to top C- Suite Executives, and lawyers involved in international dispute resolution. The Survey is the first of its kind in terms of scope and methodology.

SIDRA looks forward to your participation in this survey if you have been involved in international dispute resolution in the last 3 years.

SIDRA has engaged the Forensic Services department of PwC South East Asia Consulting to administer the Survey. If you would like to participate in the Survey, please click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a unique Survey link to be sent to you. Please feel free to share the above links with other suitable respondents who have been involved in international dispute resolution in the last three years as well.


 22 March 2019

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

It has been an eventful start for the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (SIArb) for 2019.

In 2018, SIArb launched the Guidelines on Party-Representative Ethics (“Guidelines”). It was thus timely that the year kicked off with a discussion on the issue of party representative ethics on 24 Jan 2019. Are such guidelines of any real value? What practical steps could be taken to ensure that such guidelines are effective. It was a robust discussion chaired by Chan Leng Sun SC, with valuable insights from Mr Gary Born, Michael Hwang SC, Professor Lucy Reed and VK Rajah SC. The global diversity of standards and the lack of any common regulator emerged as a key obstacle to a clear pathway forward. My own takeaway is that the existence of challenging obstacles must not deter us. Ethics is ultimately fundamental integrity, which is foundational to international arbitration. SIArb is committed to working with our members, arbitral institutions, bar associations and end-users towards always raising the bar on the issue of ethics. It is when we suddenly find ourselves thinking that ethics is not important or beyond control that we would be too far down the slippery slope.

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Dinesh Dhillon
President,
SIArb 2017-2019

The President's Column

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

March 2019

It has been an eventful start for the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (SIArb) for 2019.

In 2018, SIArb launched the Guidelines on Party-Representative Ethics (“Guidelines”). It was thus timely that the year kicked off with a discussion on the issue of party representative ethics on 24 Jan 2019. Are such guidelines of any real value? What practical steps could be taken to ensure that such guidelines are effective. It was a robust discussion chaired by Chan Leng Sun SC, with valuable insights from Mr Gary Born, Michael Hwang SC, Professor Lucy Reed and VK Rajah SC. The global diversity of standards and the lack of any common regulator emerged as a key obstacle to a clear pathway forward. My own takeaway is that the existence of challenging obstacles must not deter us. Ethics is ultimately fundamental integrity, which is foundational to international arbitration. SIArb is committed to working with our members, arbitral institutions, bar associations and end-users towards always raising the bar on the issue of ethics. It is when we suddenly find ourselves thinking that ethics is not important or beyond control that we would be too far down the slippery slope.

Professor Lawrence Boo’s talk on developments in Singapore Arbitration law has become a staple in the SIArb calendar. As always, the talk (Chaired by Mr Francis Goh) was very well received. On 12 Feb 2019, Professor Boo shared the stage with Ms Christine Artero and together they provided insightful views on the arbitration related decisions that had emanated from the Singapore Courts in 2018. 2018 saw 4 applications to set aside arbitral awards, 2 applications to review the arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction and several stay applications.

Just around the corner is SIArb’s Inaugural Lecture on 28 March 2019. We are privileged to have Toby Landau QC speak to us on: Arbitral Groundhog Day: The Problem of Repeat Claims and Issues in Arbitration. As at the time of this message, the venue is 90% full so do register right away to save your seat.

SIArb has also seen increasing regional interest in our training programs. In recent years, we have conducted training seminars for a visiting delegation from Russia and also in Qatar. We will be conducting a 2 day training program on international commercial arbitration with the Japanese Association of Arbitrators (“JAA”). We have also been invited to propose a training program for Oman. We will continue to build meaningful ties within the region.

May I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) on its excellent results announced on 6 March 2019. In 2018, SIAC was ranked the 3rd most preferred arbitral institution in the world by the prestigious Queen Mary University of London and White & Case International Arbitration Survey. The survey findings show that SIAC is the most preferred arbitral institution based in Asia. The “Singapore” brand of arbitration excellence is certainly making its mark and SIArb will continue to play its part to ensuring its continued success.

Dinesh Dhillon
President,
SIArb 2017-2019

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

DECEMBER 2018

2018 has been a significant year for Arbitration in Singapore and for the SIArb. It is an opportune time to take stock and look ahead to 2019.

SIArb celebrated its 37th Anniversary with a fabulous dinner on 14th November at Aura, National Gallery. We thank our Guest of Honour, Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, Mr Edwin Tong SC, for his insights on Singapore’s role in an ever changing global economic landscape. I encourage members who missed the dinner to read his full speech  HERE.

We also just concluded the 10th SIArb Symposium on 15th November which has now become synonymous with the iconic Old Parliament House. It was a lively house filled with much discussion, enthusiasm and passion for cutting edge issues in international arbitration. The Symposium has developed into a key platform for showcasing thought leadership and kudos must go to Vice President Tay Yu-Jin and his committee on the excellent event.

Singapore continues to climb the league ladder in the International Arbitration “Champions League”. The latest Queen Mary University of London Survey released on 9 May 2018 reported that Singapore is the third most preferred seat worldwide, after London and Paris, and ahead of Hong Kong, Geneva, New York and Stockholm. This is a significant achievement but we certainly cannot afford to rest on our laurels. With such a position, expectations will increase and Singapore must step up to play its part in terms of thought leadership in the global international arbitration space. SIArb will continue to play its role through our training programs. We recently worked with the Singapore Academy of Law (“SAL”) on a training program for budding arbitrators in Qatar. We are also particularly excited about the Singapore Arbitration Journal which will be launched in 2019.

SIArb on 28 April 2018 issued the Guidelines on Party Representative Ethics to distil the overarching principle that Party Representatives, in advising, and representing their client, should at all times act with honesty, integrity and professionalism, both with respect to their client and the Tribunal. Credit must go to the Working Group comprising Chan Leng Sun SC, Mohan Pillay, Rian Mathews and Adriana Uson.

Parliament on 9 Jan 2018 passed a bill that paves the way for the Singapore International Commercial Court (‘SICC”) to hear matters under the International Arbitration Act (“IAA”). With effect from 1 Nov 2018, the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 2018, in Section 18D (2) that “The Singapore International Commercial Court (being a division of the High Court) has jurisdiction to hear any proceedings relating to international commercial arbitration that the High Court may hear…” This is a positive step that provides end users access to an international bench of top Judges to hear matters under the IAA. Some may question whether the SICC is competing with International Arbitration stakeholders in terms of the substantive disputes it hears. I am of the view that the SICC complements and in fact further promotes Singapore as a choice venue for international dispute resolution. The success of the London Commercial Court has in no way prevented London from being the leading seat in international arbitration. I believe that the presence of the SICC as a “competing” option only serves to make us ensure that the arbitration offering in Singapore is the very best. Furthermore, the reality is there will always be end users who may prefer a court option as opposed to arbitration. Hence, the SICC is integral to Singapore’s development as a world class dispute resolution hub as end-users know that this avenue is available in Singapore.

Finally, I am happy to introduce you the new Chairs of the various SIArb Committees:

Committee
Chair
Activities
Mr Andrew Pullen
Arbitration Bar
Mr Tay Yu-Jin
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Mr Francis Goh
Education & Training
Mr Chia Chor Leong
Publications & Website
Mr Yeo Boon Tat
Membership
Mr Tay Yu Jin
Panel Arbitrators Review
Mr Chia Ho Choon
Scheme Arbitration
Mr Chia Chor Leong

I encourage all members to participate in the numerous projects and programmes of SIArb, whether as Committee members or on ad hoc basis.

I wish all of you the very best wishes for this holiday season and the very best for 2019.

Dinesh Dhillon
President,
SIArb 2017-2019

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

JUNE 2018

As at the time of my writing this, it is back on again! I am talking about the much anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. Regardless of whether or not the meeting actually takes place, the choice of Singapore as the venue is worth reflecting on. Why is this relevant to international arbitration? I believe the factors that led to Singapore being chosen for this historic meeting is a reflection of the Singapore brand values that have shaped Singapore into being leading seat for global dispute resolution. Singapore was chosen because of its neutrality, safety, reliability, integrity, efficiency, excellence and openness. Singapore’s commitment to being a good host is further reflected by Minister of Defence, Ng Eng Hen’s stating that Singapore will willingly bear some of the costs of the planned summit.

It is such commitment to these Singapore “brand values” that will ensure Singapore keeps making strides in international arbitration. At the recently concluded SIAC Congress, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon mentioned that one of the challenges was to ensure a constant pipeline of trained and future-ready practitioners. SIArb will continue to play its part through its membership and fellowship programs. We will review our curriculum to ensure it is world class. In this regard, we welcome input and feedback from you, our members – let us know what you think can be done better or differently and we will be committed to considering all options.

It is already June and another World Cup is upon us. We have had the good wisdom not to compete with FIFA for your attention so our next event is the Focus on Commodities, Minerals and Energy Arbitration on 26 July which will feature a panel discussion with International Arbitration lawyer, Joseph Lopez and Ben Lawson, the COO of PT Sanaman Coal International. Following this, we will have a session on Maritime Arbitration featuring talks by Andrew Moran QC and Prem Gurbani. Also, don’t miss out on our Annual Dinner on 14 November 2018 at Aura. We have just confirmed incoming Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, Mr Edwin Tong as our guest of honour.

Another date you should mark on your diary is 28 November when Jakarta will be hosting the Regional Arbitral Institutes Forum (“RAIF”). SIArb is a member of RAIF and I strongly encourage members to attend as it is a great opportunity to strengthen relationships with our regional partners and learn more about international arbitration in our region. We will provide information to members as it becomes available.

Here’s to wishing and hoping for a successful outcome to the Trump-Kim summit, an outcome that will promote greater peace and prosperity for Asia and particularly for the North Korean people.

Dinesh Dhillon
President,
SIArb 2017-2019

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

MARCH 2018

It has been an eventful start for the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (SIArb) for 2018.

We continue to be blessed with leading arbitrators sharing their knowledge at our events. I had the privilege of Chairing Professor Lawrence Boo’s talk on the developments in Singapore Arbitration in January 2018. It was an invigorating session with Prof Boo sharing his thoughts on landmark Singapore decisions such as Kingdom of Lesotho v Swissbourgh Diamond Mines (Pty) Limited & 8 othes [2017] SGHC 195 in which the Singapore High Court set aside an investor-state arbitration award. February brought us an insightful session on Oil & Gas Arbitration by Mr Shourav Lahiri, Director, Lahiri LLC. I encourage all of you to also attend the upcoming session on 28 March on The Anatomy of Concurrent Evidence or Witness Conferencing, aka “Hot Tubbing”. Professor Leslie Chew will share with us the objective and mechanics of witness conferencing.

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) released stellar results for 2017 last week. There has been a 32% increase in cases filed and it has truly become a global player in the arbitration space with disputing parties coming from not only Asia, but also the Middle East and Europe and the United States. First and foremost, credit must go to the SIAC leadership and teams past and present for its continued success. However, SIAC's success and its ability to continue succeeding is also driven by the underlying arbitration ecosystem that has been carefully nurtured over the years in Singapore. Our judiciary has played an integral role in shaping the "Singapore brand" through the quality of its decisions relating to international arbitration. The Arbitration Bar has also played an integral role by constantly striving to raise our standards of practice and Singapore Lawyers are more than holding their own against the best of international arbitration Lawyers. Credit must also go to the Government in ensuring timely necessary changes to arbitration legislation and supporting the development of Maxwell Chambers.

As the Asia Pacific is a global leader in terms of infrastructure and economic development, there is every reason to be optimistic about SIAC's future prospects to do even better. The fact that Maxwell Chambers is expanding will support this. Ultimately, the future success of SIAC will depend on all key players in the arbitration ecosystem continuing to innovate and work together. Thought leadership and not losing sight of the fact that the objective of international arbitration is justice (in not only outcomes but process) for the end users - the clients, is key.

In this regard, SIArb must also continue to do its part in this Singapore arbitration ecosystem. We will be looking to see how to improve our course offerings, our CPD events and how we can create more platforms for our members to learn, exchange ideas and provide thought leadership. I look forward to seeing all of you at our upcoming events.

Dinesh Dhillon
President,
SIArb 2017-2019

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

SEPTEMBER 2018

Time has flown by and the end of 2018 will soon be upon us. It is thus opportune to reflect on some of our initiatives this year and the road ahead.

Education and Training is a core function of SIArb and it has as always been an eventful year. The Committee chaired by Naresh Mahtani conducted the International Entry Course (“IEC”) on 27, 28 & 30 April 2018 and 40 participants passed the examination. The next Fellowship Assessment Course (“FAC”) is scheduled for 18, 19, 26, 27, 29 October 2018. Course Director Leslie Chew SC will be introducing some fresh changes to the course syllabus, with an increased emphasis on practice sessions in addition to the award-writing component. The Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (“SCMA”) has also been in talks with us on a potential collobation on holding a course on accreditation for maritime arbitrators in 2019.

SIArb presently administers arbitrations conducted under two such schemes, namely the Committee for Private Education (“CPE”) Mediation-Arbitration Scheme, and the Council for Estate Agencies (“CEA”) Dispute Resolution Scheme. The arbitration rules for the CPE Mediation-Arbitration Scheme were revised and put into effect in April 2018. The Committee also seeks to promote scheme arbitrations in other areas and industries and to expand the number of schemes to be administered by SIArb in partnership with other organizations and bodies. The Committee led by Chia Chor Leong is presently pursuing initiatives to develop scheme arbitrations for disputes in the areas of telecommunications, commerce and sports.

The next Regional Arbitral Institute Forum (“RAIF”) Conference will be hosted by the Indonesian Arbitrators Institute (IArbI) in Jakarta on 28-29 November 2018. Details of this event are on our website and I encourage members to make the trip to Jakarta. There is a lot to be gained not only in terms of networking but also in keeping abreast with the latest developments in Arbitration in the region.

Members will recall being consulted on an initiative to publish a journal on Singapore Arbitration at the 36th AGM on 28 Sep 2017. Mohan Pillay and Yeo Boon Tat have been hard at work on this exciting initiative. We will be launching the Singapore Arbitration Journal in 2019 and there is a call for expressions of interest for Assistant Editors within this newsletter. This will be an excellent platform for members to contribute in terms of thought leadership regarding legal developments in Arbitration.

2018 marks the tenth time that SIArb’s Arbitration Bar Committee has convened the Commercial Arbitration Symposium. It will once again be held at the historic Old Parliament House on 15 November 2018 and we have a stellar lineup of panellists featuring Ms Smitha Menon, Ms Sue Hyun Lim, Ms Ariel Yu, Ms Sapna Jhangiani, Ms Judith Gill and the Honourable Justice Belinda Ang. This will follow on the heels of our Annual Dinner on 14 Novembers 2018.

On 22 November 2018, Professor Khory McCormick will share personal reflections on the market place dynamics which may govern success or failure for arbitration service providers in the region.

He will also provide insights into the potential impact of the Singapore Convention on Mediation in this context.

As you can see, it has been an eventful 2018 and there is more to look forward to in 2019.

Dinesh Dhillon
President,
SIArb 2017-2019

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