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.