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:

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
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
SIArb 2017-2019

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