Singapore - SIAC Year In Review 2018.

Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - Singapore - Dispute Resolution

9 January, 2019


Happy New Year from all of us at SIAC and best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2019.


As we welcome the new year, we look back fondly at some of the key highlights of 2018


1 SIAC Ranked as 3rd Most Preferred Arbitral Institution in the World, and Singapore Ranked as 3rd Most Preferred Seat Worldwide


In May 2018, the prestigious Queen Mary University of London and White & Case International Arbitration Survey (QMUL Survey) ranked SIAC as the 3rd most preferred arbitral institution in the world, making SIAC the most preferred arbitral institution based in Asia.


Singapore has also been ranked as the 3rd most preferred seat worldwide, after London and Paris, making Singapore the most preferred seat in Asia.


In its eighth edition, this year’s QMUL Survey is reported to be the most “comprehensive empirical study” ever conducted by the university.


The findings in the QMUL Survey confirm SIAC’s standing as a leading, world-class arbitral institution, and Singapore’s position as a popular arbitral seat.


2 New Vice President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration


In June 2018, Prof Lucy Reed was appointed as Vice President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration.


Prof Reed is the Director of the Centre for International Law and Professor on the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore. She previously led the global international arbitration group in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and has represented private and public clients in investment treaty and commercial arbitrations for more than 35 years.


3 SIAC Congress Week 2018


SIAC’s flagship biennial event, the SIAC Congress, was held in May 2018 as part of the SIAC Congress Week (14 – 18 May 2018), and brought together distinguished members of the judiciary, the SIAC Board of Directors, the SIAC Court of Arbitration, and other leading international arbitration experts.


The SIAC Congress 2018 attracted 297 delegates from 16 jurisdictions. Special highlights of the Congress programme included a Keynote Speech by the Honourable Chief Justice of Singapore, Mr Sundaresh Menon, on the special role and responsibility of arbitral institutions in charting the future of international arbitration, and an Opening Address by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister of Finance, Singapore.


Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education, Singapore, delivered the Opening Address for the Gala Dinner. The Gala Dinner was graced by Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy, Justice Kannan Ramesh, Justice Tan Siong Thye, and Justice Valerie Thean of the Supreme Court of Singapore, as well as Mr Shakil ur Rehman Khan, Advocate General for the Province of Punjab, and Mr Naseer Ahmed Bhutta, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan.


The other events held during the SIAC Congress Week included the “Multiplicity-Managing Parallel Proceedings under Multiple Instruments” seminar, the SIAC-CIL Academic-Practitioner Colloquium, the SIAC-CIArb Debate, the SIAC-YSIAC Workshop: IBA Arb40 Toolkit for Award Writing, and the “Twilight Issues in International Arbitration” seminar.


4 SIAC Academy Goes Global


The inaugural SIAC Academy titled “Time and Cost Savers at SIAC: Emergency Arbitration, Expedited Procedure and Early Dismissal”, was held in Singapore in November 2017. Following the success of the Singapore edition, overseas editions of the SIAC Academy were conducted in the course of 2018 in Beijing, Mumbai, Seoul and Tokyo. 


Chaired by Mr Gary Born, SIAC Court President, the teaching faculty of the overseas SIAC Academy included Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Deputy Chairman of SIAC, Prof Lucy Reed, SIAC Court Vice President, and members of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, including Mr Cao Lijun, Prof Lawrence Boo, Dr Eun Young Park, Mr Darius J. Khambata, SA, Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka, Mr Alan J. Thambiayah and Mr Alvin Yeo, SC.


5 Launch of SIAC and Institutional Arbitration Module at NUS Law


In collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS) Law Faculty, SIAC conducted the inaugural SIAC module titled “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” in September 2018. The SIAC module introduced to participants the role and function of arbitral institutions in the practice of international arbitration, and the complex issues that arbitral institutions face in the administration of arbitrations, including, amongst others, appointment of arbitrators, issuance of arbitral rules and practice notes, and guiding and shaping the development of international arbitration.


The course convenor for the SIAC module was Mr Gary Born, SIAC Court President, and the lecturers included Mr Davinder Singh, SC, Chairman of SIAC, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Deputy Chairman of SIAC, members of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, Dr Claudia Annacker, Prof Lawrence Boo and Mr Alvin Yeo, SC, and the SIAC Secretariat. The SIAC module was fully subscribed by NUS Law students and practitioners from Singapore and abroad. Feedback from participants was extremely positive.


6 SIAC Conferences and Partnerships


In 2018, SIAC held its annual overseas conferences in Beijing, Mumbai, Seoul and Tokyo. SIAC partnered with the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) and the Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA) to jointly organise the annual overseas conferences in Beijing and Tokyo respectively. SIAC also held joint seminars with the Korean Arbitrators Association (KAA) in Seoul, and with the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) and the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) in Singapore.


In collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Singapore branch, SIAC held a Three-Part Workshop titled “Arbitration at the SIAC: The Inside Track” in Singapore. Speakers for the workshop series included Mr Gary Born, SIAC Court President, and members of the SIAC Secretariat who provided an insider’s perspective to SIAC arbitration.


In 2018, SIAC signed various Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with CIETAC, Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) and the Xi’an Arbitration Commission (XAAC).


The MOUs underscore SIAC’s commitment to promote international arbitration as the preferred mode of dispute resolution for cross-border commercial and investment disputes, particularly in the context of the Belt and Road initiative.


7 YSIAC Workshops and Events                 


A host of exciting YSIAC workshops and events took place in 2018. Apart from the SIAC-YSIAC Workshop: IBA Arb40 Toolkit for Award Writing held during the SIAC Congress Week, YSIAC workshops on “Disclosure and Document Production in International Arbitration” were organised in Beijing, Mumbai, Seoul and Tokyo. These workshops featured a panel discussion and a mock hearing for a discovery application, providing younger practitioners with the opportunity to test their advocacy skills in a real world arbitration scenario before leading arbitration experts.


Other YSIAC events organised in 2018 included the YSIAC debate on the motion “Tribunals with Women Arbitrators make Better Decisions”, lunchtime talks with Mr Gary Born and Mr Toby Landau QC, as well as the YSIAC Club event titled “The Role of Public Policy in Enforcement of Arbitral Awards”.


The fourth YSIAC Essay Competition held in March 2018 received a record 116 entries from 29 jurisdictions. The winner was Mr Tan Jun Hong of the Supreme Court of Singapore. The 1st Runner Up was Mr Koh Will Sheng Wilson of Drew & Napier LLC and the 2nd Runner up was Mr Parth Jain of George Washington University Law School.


8 Relaunch of Asian International Arbitration Journal


The Asian International Arbitration Journal (AIAJ), which commenced publication in 2005, has been relaunched with Wolters Kluwer as publisher for the online and print editions of the AIAJ. Mr Gary Born, SIAC Court President, joins Professor Lawrence Boo, SIAC Court member, as General Editors of the journal.


The AIAJ seeks to be the thought leader on issues in international arbitration in the Asia-Pacific region by providing a forum for original thinking and incisive analysis. The journal carries articles, notes on awards, legislation updates and book reviews.


The new Editorial Advisory Board of the AIAJ is comprised of the following arbitration experts in the fields of commercial and investment arbitration:


  • Dr Jean Ho 
  • Mr Benjamin Hughes
  • Dr Michael Hwang, SC 
  • Prof Lu Song 
  • Dato’ Seri Dr Visu Sinnadurai 
  • Prof Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah 
  • Mr John Christopher Thomas QC 
  • Mr Mario Valderrama
  • Dr Frans H. Winarta


We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to members of the SIAC Board, Court and the YSIAC Committee as well as all of our partners and friends in the local and international legal and business communities for their valuable contributions and consistent support.