Talk by SIAC Court President Gary Born at the Georgetown International Arbitration Society
The Georgetown International Arbitration Society (GIAS) recently hosted an evening talk with Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, on 21 October 2015 at the Gewirz Student Center. The talk was moderated by Ms Anne Marie Whitesell, Director, Program on International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution of Georgetown Law.
The title of the talk was “Recent Developments in International Arbitration in Asia”, and the event was attended by over 100 delegates consisting of students from Georgetown Law and American University, Georgetown Law faculty members and private practitioners from various law firms in Washington D.C.
During the talk, Mr Born took questions from the audience.
When asked to give advice to young lawyers who wanted to pursue a career in the international arbitration field, Mr Born’s answer was simple and straightforward: “Work harder.” Considering the competition existing among the law professionals, he stated that working harder than the rest is the single most significant thing one could do to be more successful.
Gas and LNG Price Reviews at SIAC
The CEO of SIAC and SIMC, Ms Lim Seok Hui, was one of the speakers at the symposium "GAS AND LNG CONTRACTING IN ASIA: THE CHALLENGE AHEAD". Ms Lim discussed the advantages of the SIAC rules for Gas and LNG price review arbitrations. She also pointed to SIAC-SIMC’s recently unveiled Arbitration-Mediation-Arbitration Protocol which could be a solution to save time and costs by giving the parties a chance to reach an agreement faster than through arbitration.
The symposium was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore on 26 October 2015. Over 100 participants attended, mostly representatives of major energy companies active in Asia. The event was organised by the "Best Friends", a group of international law firms BonelliErede, Bredin Prat, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Hengeler Mueller, Slaughter and May, and Uría Menéndez, together with McKinsey & Company, as knowledge partner, and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), as supporting organisation.
The YSIAC Advocacy Roadshow 2015 - On the Road for Delhi, Mumbai and Jakarta
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the YSIAC are pleased to report the successful kick-off of the YSIAC Advocacy Roadshow 2015 in Delhi, India, on 4 September 2015.
The YSIAC Advocacy Roadshow is a series of mock arbitration workshops developed by YSIAC that aims to provide delegates with tools to enhance their advocacy skills under the guidance of renowned arbitration practitioners. It will also feature members of the SIAC Court of Arbitration sharing their insights to guide the participants.
After the Delhi kick-off workshop, the Roadshow took place in the following cities, touring alongside the main SIAC Conferences: 9 September in Mumbai, India; and 16 September in Jakarta, Indonesia. For the rest of 2015, the Roadshow will take place on 4 November in Beijing, China; 10 November in Seoul, South Korea; and 12 November in Tokyo, Japan.
YSIAC Delhi Advocacy Workshop - 4 September 2015
The YSIAC Delhi Advocacy Workshop was attended by over 110 delegates from the legal and business communities. Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC and SIMC, gave the welcome address and Mr Ankit Goyal, Co-Chair of the YSIAC Committee, gave a brief introduction of YSIAC and the concept of the workshop.
The Delhi leg of the workshop involved a mock arbitration scenario, where witnesses were cross-examined by counsel in front of a sole arbitrator, who was played by Mr Gary Born, President, SIAC Court of Arbitration. The mock case scenario, which had been distributed to the delegates prior to the workshop, revolved around a contract between an Indian shipping company and an Indonesian company as charterer. The case scenario was also made interesting for the delegates by the use of names similar to those of big Bollywood personalities. There were two witnesses each for the Claimant and the Respondent who were cross-examined in turn by two counsel acting for each of the parties. Each cross-examination segment was followed by a panel session (with panellists comprising Mr Born, the counsel and their witnesses), which examined the do’s and don’t’s of cross-examination which had earlier been presented to the delegates.
The Claimant’s witnesses, played by Mr Pranav Mago, Head (South Asia) of SIAC, and Mr Bishwajit Dubey, Partner Designate of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, were first cross-examined by Mr Kabir Singh, Partner, Clifford Chance Asia, and Mr Moazzam Khan, Associate, Nishith Desai Associates, respectively. Each witness was cross-examined for fifteen minutes. During the panel session that followed, Mr Born gave some good pointers for cross-examination, and how advocacy is different in international arbitration and in traditional litigation.
For the second half of the programme, the witnesses for the Respondent, played by Mr Prashant Mishra, Managing Associate, Luthra and Luthra, and Ms Neeti Sachdeva, Senior Associate, Trilegal, were cross-examined by Mr Vivekananda N, International Counsel, Allen and Gledhill LLP, and Mr Madhur Baya, Founder, Lex Arbitri. There were many engaging questions put to the panel by the delegates, who also had the opportunity to interact with the participants after the event over coffee and refreshments.
|[Left to Right] Moazzam Khan, Pranav Mago, Madhur Baya, Ankit Goyal, Lim Seok Hui, Gary Born, Kabir Singh, Prashant Mishra, Vivekananda N, Bishwajit Dubey
|Members of the audience||[Left to Right] Bishwajit Dubey, Madhur Baya, Vivekananda N, Gary Born, Moazzam Khan, Pranav Mago
The Mumbai leg of the YSIAC Advocacy Roadshow was held on 9 September 2015 at The Trident Hotel, Nariman Point.Mr Gary Born gave a talk on “Tips for Successful Advocacy in International Arbitration”, followed by a Q&A session moderated by Mr Ankit Goyal.
During his talk, Mr Born spoke fondly of his experience as a young counsel early on in his career and as an arbitrator. He also shared some useful advocacy tips with the audience, emphasising the importance of keeping things simple.
The talk was attended by over 50 delegates, which exceeded the number of registrations received.
|Talk by Gary Born
|Members of the audience
||[Left to Right] Ankit Goyal, Gary Born
Similar to the Delhi workshop, the YSIAC Jakarta Advocacy workshop was a three-hour exercise based on a mock case scenario which had been previously distributed to the attendees. The Jakarta workshop was attended by over 50 delegates and was held in the offices of Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners.
Ms Lim Seok Hui delivered the opening address, whilst Ms Koh Swee Yen, Co-Chair of the YSIAC Committee, provided an introduction to the case scenario and the concept of the workshop. The mock case scenario involved the construction of a nuclear power plant in Java, Indonesia, which had been delayed for seven months.
The mock arbitration tribunal consisted of three renowned practitioners – Prof Hikmahanto Juwana, Consultant, Makes & Partners Law Firm, who chaired the tribunal; Prof Dr Frans Winarta, Founding Partner, Frans Winarta & Partners, and Mr Richard Tan, Consultant, Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC.
Different young practitioners gamely participated in the cross-examination sessions and added a light touch to proceedings by playing, at times, variously unhelpful, uncooperative or even well-coached witnesses, resulting in a fun yet informative session which the audience enjoyed. During the panel sessions following the cross-examination segments, various members of the audience directed questions to the tribunal and the participants on issues such as techniques for cross-examination and how SIAC arbitrations are conducted. The participants were also able to share their different experiences in conducting cross-examinations over the years.
During the first cross-examination session, Respondent’s counsel, played by Ms Gitta Satryani, Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills, cross-examined the Claimant’s witness, played by Mr Paul Sandosham, Partner, Clifford Chance Asia, for fifteen minutes. Thereafter, the second Respondent’s counsel, played by Mr Togi Pangaribuan, Associate, Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners, cross-examined the second Claimant’s witness, Mr Antony Leonardo, Junior Associate, Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo. This was followed by a panel discussion on the first cross-examination session, moderated by Ms Koh Swee Yen.
For the second cross-examination session, Claimant’s counsel, Mr Harun Reksodiputro, Partner, Ginting Reksodiputro, cross-examined the first Respondent’s witness, played by Mr Lee Baker, Associate Director, Hill International. Thereafter, the second Claimant’s counsel, Ms Koh Swee Yen, Partner, WongPartnership LLP, cross-examined the second Respondent’s witness, played by Mr Jeremiah Purba, Junior Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright. The Panel Discussion which followed thereafter was moderated by Mr Andi Kadir, Partner, Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners. A networking lunch followed after the conclusion of the programme.
SIAC and YSIAC invite everyone to attend the rest of the YSIAC Advocacy Workshops slated for the remainder of 2015, for a fun and engaging learning experience.
|[Left to Right] Janice Lee, Jeremiah Purba,
Paul Sandosham, Harun Reksodiputro, Koh Swee Yen,
Prof Dr Frans H Winarta, Lee Baker, Lim Seok Hui,
Richard Tan, Tan Ai Leen, Gitta Satryani, Andi Kadir,
Antony Leonardo, Togi Pangaribuan
|[Left to Right] Prof Dr Frans H Winarta,
Prof Hikmahanto Juwana, Richard Tan
|[Left to Right] Antony Leonardo,
Prof Dr Frans H Winarta, Prof Hikmahanto Juwana, Richard Tan
|Members of the audience.|
8 September 2015
SIAC Announces Establishment of Users Council
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre is pleased to announce the establishment of the SIAC Users Council. Establishment of the Users Council highlights SIAC’s continued commitment to excellence and efficiency in case administration, as well as to further consolidating its leadership role in the development of the practice of international arbitration.
The function of the SIAC Users Council is to provide feedback on the SIAC Rules and international arbitration process from users of international arbitration, both commercial and investment, leading international arbitration practitioners and arbitrators. The Court of Arbitration and Secretariat of SIAC continually review and take steps to improve SIAC’s Arbitration Rules and case administration services, and the views and observations of its users, and others in the field of international arbitration, are essential to this mission.
The Users Council includes members from over 30 jurisdictions around the world, in Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa and elsewhere. The composition and diversity of the Users Council underscores SIAC’s role as a global arbitral institution, handling cases and parties from all regions of the world and all systems of law. Users Council members serve two-year terms and will be provided with updates on developments of interest at SIAC. The global reach and quality of the SIAC Users Council will maximise the efficacy of SIAC’s ongoing efforts to adopt and develop best practices in international arbitration.
SIAC is currently reviewing its Arbitration Rules, with a revised version of the Rules scheduled for release in mid-2016. The SIAC Users Council will play a key role in this process of revision. SIAC plans to conduct regional events to ensure that there will be maximum opportunity and a suitable forum for the exchange of views about SIAC and relevant developments in international arbitration.
Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, welcomed the new members of the SIAC Users Council. “The Users Council is a central element of our continuing efforts to maintain SIAC’s leadership in international arbitration. We are privileged to have a Court of Arbitration, as well as a Users Council, of the world’s leading international arbitration practitioners. We look forward to working with them in the upcoming revisions of the SIAC Rules and otherwise.”
Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, "The Users Council network will further extend SIAC's global outreach and allow us to engage more closely with current and potential users from diverse legal systems and cultures, which is key to our mission of developing and offering world class dispute resolution services to parties from all over the world."
1 September 2015
Singapore International Arbitration Centre Announces The Appointment of New Head (South Asia)
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that Mr. Pranav Mago has been appointed to the position of Head (South Asia) of SIAC with effect from 17 August 2015. Pranav has succeeded Ms. Scheherazade Dubash who left SIAC to pursue other career opportunities.
As Head (South Asia), Pranav will lead SIAC’s first overseas liaison office which was established in Mumbai, India in 2013. SIAC established its India office with a view to engaging with the legal and business communities in India and the South Asia region. “I am very excited about this role at SIAC and look forward to working closely with the team. India is a key market for SIAC, as it has consistently been one of the top contributors to SIAC’s international caseload. The rapid rise in popularity of international commercial arbitration amongst Indian parties as an efficient and cost-effective means of resolving international commercial disputes and the introduction of the proposed reforms to the Indian arbitration legislation will bring about further changes to the current landscape of international arbitration in India. It is important that we continue to promote to existing and potential users in India, the advantages of referring their disputes to administration by a leading arbitral institution such as SIAC." said Pranav.
Pranav graduated from Amity Law School, Delhi in 2010 and worked with the international arbitration and dispute resolution team of a UK magic circle firm in Singapore, prior to joining SIAC.
In 2014, SIAC received 222 new cases and the total sum in dispute amounted to S$5.04 billion. SIAC has overseas liaison offices in Mumbai, India and Seoul, South Korea.
1 September 2015
SIAC Announces the Release of Revised Model Arbitration Clause
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre is pleased to announce the release of its revised Model Clause. This latest development from SIAC underscores its continued commitment to enhance the quality and efficiency of its services to users of arbitration in the global business community.
The revised SIAC Model Clause harmonises the SIAC Model Clause with the SIAC Model Clause for Contracts with PRC Parties, and provides a single, user-friendly Model Clause for the convenience of contracting parties who choose to have their disputes referred to arbitration with SIAC. The revised Model Clause reflects the growing international caseload handled by SIAC's Secretariat by offering parties flexibility in selecting the seat of arbitration, while providing certainty in designating SIAC as the arbitral institution to administer their disputes. The SIAC Expedited Procedure Model Clause has similarly been updated to align with the provisions of the revised SIAC Model Clause.
The text of the revised SIAC Model Clause is set out below:
|SIAC MODEL CLAUSE
In drawing up international contracts, we recommend that parties include the following arbitration clause:
Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract, including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre ("SIAC Rules") for the time being in force, which rules are deemed to be incorporated by reference in this clause.
The seat of the arbitration shall be [Singapore].*
The Tribunal shall consist of _________________** arbitrator(s).
The language of the arbitration shall be ________________.
* Parties should specify the seat of arbitration of their choice. If the parties wish to select an alternative seat to Singapore, please replace “[Singapore]” with the city and country of choice (e.g., “[City, Country]”).
** State an odd number. Either state one, or state three.
For more information please contact:
Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6221 8833
SIAC Announces Commencement of Revisions for SIAC Arbitration Rules
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre is pleased to announce the formal commencement of the process of reviewing the SIAC Arbitration Rules. The Rules revision will take into account recent developments in international arbitration practice and procedure, and is aimed at better serving the needs of the businesses, financial institutions and governments that use SIAC. SIAC plans to release a revised version of the SIAC Arbitration Rules in mid-2016.
The previous revision to the SIAC Rules was made in 2013, primarily to reflect its new governance structures, including the restructuring of the SIAC Board of Directors and the creation of the SIAC Court of Arbitration. The 2013 revision also clarified the Rules on issues such as the commencement of arbitrations, extension of time limits, and powers of the arbitral tribunal to award post-award interest.
The revised SIAC Rules will introduce state-of-the-art revisions to better cater to the needs and profiles of SIAC users. To this end, the SIAC Court, which is composed of leading practitioners from all over the world, has established a Rules Revision Executive Committee and constituted various committees on issues such as consolidation and joinder, emergency arbitrators and expedited procedures, and investment arbitration. The Rules Revision Executive Committee, chaired by the President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, will consult widely with users and international arbitration practitioners around the world.
Gary Born, President of the Court of Arbitration of SIAC, said: “SIAC’s Arbitration Rules are among the most developed and efficient in the world. The Rules Revision process is aimed at ensuring that SIAC stays at the cutting edge of international arbitration practice around the world. We will be consulting widely with SIAC users and arbitration practitioners during the Rules Revision. We also invite comments from all those interested in SIAC’s work.”
For more information please contact:
Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6221 8833
YSIAC Conference 2015
The inaugural YSIAC Conference 2015 was held at Maxwell Chambers in Singapore on 4 June 2015. The Conference was a sell-out event, attracting an impressive turnout of about 200 delegates, of which 44% were from overseas, including the UK, USA, Australia, India, China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. Delegates included practising lawyers, arbitrators, in-house counsel, public sector officials, industry service providers and members of business associations.
The theme of the Conference was ‘The Dynamics & Challenges of International Arbitration – The Road Ahead’.
The Conference opened with a welcome address by Mr Lucien Wong, Chairman of SIAC’s Board of Directors. Opening remarks were also delivered by Guest of Honour Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, and by Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration.
This was followed by a Joint Q&A session with Ms Rajah and Mr Born, which was moderated by the Co-Chairs of the YSIAC Committee, Ms Koh Swee Yen and Mr Ankit Goyal. The session focussed on their views on the practice of international arbitration in Singapore, as well as personal experiences that have shaped their stellar careers.
The YSIAC Conference also featured the first ever YSIAC Conference Essay Competition, which received a total of 66 entries from 20 jurisdictions.
The YSIAC Conference 2015 would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors. SIAC & YSIAC would like to express their sincere thanks and gratitude to the following sponsors:
• Silver sponsors:
- King & Wood Mallesons
- Rajah & Tann
- Zhong Lun Law Firm
• Bronze sponsor - Schellenberg Wittmer
• Premier Corporate sponsor - Wolters Kluwer
• Essay Competition sponsor - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
• Transcription Services sponsor - Planet Depos American Realtime
In addition, we would like to thank the following F&B and product sponsors:
• Clifford Chance - Gala Evening
• DLA Piper - Cocktail Event
• Jones Day - Networking Lunch
• Product sponsors:
- Braddell Brothers
- Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore
- King & Spalding
- Norton Rose Fulbright
We would also like to thank the following supporting organisations for their help in promoting the event:
• Association of Corporate Counsel Singapore (ACC)
• Asia-Pacific Forum for International Arbitration (AFIA)
• China Young Arbitration Group (CYAG)
• Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)
• CIArb Malaysia Young Members Group
• Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA)
• The Korean Council for International Arbitration (KOCIA)
• Ministry of Law Singapore
• National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law)
• Singapore Academy of Law (SAL)
• Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA)
• Seoul International Dispute Resolution Centre (SIDRC)
• Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (SIArb)
• Singapore Management University (SMU)
• The Law Society of Singapore
Finally, we thank our media partners Global Arbitration Review (GAR) and Singapore Press Holdings. The YSIAC Conference will be held biannually. We look forward to seeing you at the next YSIAC event, details of which will be published on the SIAC website.
YSIAC Conference Essay Competition 2015
YSIAC recently held its inaugural Essay Competition for 2015 in conjunction with its first ever YSIAC Conference.
Participants were invited to submit original essays on any of the following topics:
· Party consent in international arbitration is more fig leaf than fundamental principle. Discuss.
· Third party funding in international arbitration: a slippery slope or levelling the playing field?
· If there was one thing you could change about the practice of international arbitration, what would it be?
We received an overwhelming response of 66 entries from 20 different countries, spanning 5 continents. We would like to thank all of the participants for entering the Competition.
We are pleased to announce the following winners as chosen by a distinguished panel of judges:
Airhart & Associates, Louisville, KY, USA
1st Runner Up
Angus Fei Ni
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
2nd Runner Up
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
The following participants also received honourable mentions for their entries:
Lim Hui Li Debby
Shook Lin & Bok LLP
Holman Fenwick Willian LLP
Mak Shin Yi
Anthony Cheah Nicholls
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Michael Hwang Chambers LLC
Special thanks are in order both to the YSIAC Publications Sub-committee and our esteemed judges - Ms Lucy Reed, Global Co-head of International Arbitration and Public International Law groups, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Professor Lawrence Boo, Head of Chambers, The Arbitration Chambers; and Ms Tan Ai Leen, Registrar, SIAC, for their tremendous efforts and time in reviewing and selecting the winning entries and honourable mentions, all within a very tight timeframe.
Finally, we would like to express our sincere thanks to the Essay Competition Prize Sponsor, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, for its invaluable contribution to the success of this event.
1 April 2015
Letter from the President
Friends of SIAC:
I am writing on the commencement of my term as incoming President of the Court of Arbitration of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, both to thank you for your past support for SIAC and to outline some of the salient issues that will arise in the next two years.
First, I want to reiterate, on behalf of myself, the Court of Arbitration, the Secretariat and the Board of SIAC, our great appreciation for the support that our users have provided over the past years. In less than a decade, SIAC has increased its caseload by more than 200%, rising to an average of some 250 cases filed annually over the last several years. At the same time, SIAC has developed a truly international clientele, including Asian, European, North and South American, Middle Eastern and other users. None of this would have been possible without the support and confidence of our users, for which we are all grateful.
Second, we also thank the past members of SIAC's Court of Arbitration, and particularly Dr. Michael Pryles, the Court's Founder President, for their exceptional efforts during their terms. Again, we are grateful for those efforts and the results they have achieved.
Third, I would like to outline several key objectives that we at SIAC aim to pursue to maintain and enhance your confidence:
· Enhancing SIAC’s position as one of the world’s truly global international arbitration institutions: SIAC has a preeminent position in Asian international arbitration, including in arbitrations involving Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Korean, Japanese and other regional parties, but it is not a regional arbitral institution. Rather, SIAC is a global institution, which is appropriate for contracts and disputes between parties in all parts of the globe (European/US; Latin American/Asian; African/European). We aim in the coming years to ensure that users from all parts of the world regard SIAC as their preferred choice for international dispute resolution.
· Maintaining and enhancing SIAC’s reputation for excellence, efficiency and expedition in case administration: SIAC’s Secretariat is second to none in quality, and materially better in terms of efficiency and speed, than virtually all alternatives. We aim to ensure that the Secretariat and Registrar have the resources and support that are essential to maintaining their superlative service. Likewise, we are privileged to have one of the most experienced and diverse Courts of Arbitration in the world; collectively, its 17 members offer nearly 500 years of experience in international dispute resolution in all major jurisdictions around the world. We aim to ensure that the Court’s experience is fully utilized.
· Building SIAC’s Users Council: We are launching a SIAC’s Users Council to serve as a forum for comments about SIAC’s Rules and case administration. The Users Council will play an important role in SIAC’s work. We aim to utilize the collective expertise and experience of the Users Council in future initiatives as we continue progressively to improve and expand SIAC’s services.
· Maintaining and enhancing SIAC’s close ties to the Singaporean legal and business communities: SIAC boasts close and historic relationships with one of the world’s most sophisticated legal and business communities, here in Singapore. We aim to maintain and enhance those relationships, both by working closely with the SIAC Board, chaired by Lucien Wong, and SIAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Seok Hui Lim.
I am confident that the coming years will see SIAC continue its trajectory of excellence and service, and look forward to working with you to ensure that this happens. I welcome suggestions and new ideas for how SIAC can continue and improve its traditions of excellence and efficiency.
With best regards
SIAC Court of Arbitration
For more information please contact:
Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6221 8833
Evening Talk with new SIAC Court Member, Mr Toby Landau QC
On 31 March 2015, SIAC hosted an evening talk with Mr Toby Landau QC at Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow. Mr Landau spoke on the topic “Recent Developments in the Defeat of International Awards”. The oversubscribed event saw about 120 attendees being treated to an intriguing evening with Mr Landau.
Mr Landau explored recent developments in leading jurisdictions where the defeat of international arbitral awards could actually be seen as truly pro-arbitration, contrary to widespread criticism. For starters, he described the common perception of the term “pro-arbitration” as self-evident events of national courts recognising and enforcing arbitral awards, or refusing to set aside awards. He opined that “pro-arbitration” as a nomenclature should not be used to mask the fundamental premise that courts cannot always refuse to set aside arbitral awards and cannot always recognize and enforce arbitral awards.
The architecture of the New York Convention and the Model Law is premised on a limited range of fundamental safeguards. The range is so limited that Articles II and V of the Convention and Articles 35 and 36 of the Model Law must be understood to be the “irreducible minimum”. In particular, one fundamental safeguard in the system is the de novo standard of review of an arbitral award on the issue of jurisdiction.
Mr Landau observed that national courts have elevated the “pro-arbitration” policy to a question of law and in some instances the court’s refusal to set aside arbitral awards or to recognise and enforce arbitral awards is immediately branded as “anti-arbitration”. Clear anti-arbitration cases where courts have presumably gone on the wrong side are typically the product of tactics used by lawyers to evade arbitration. Examples include: (a) party ignores arbitration agreement and litigates but court refuses to stay court proceedings; (b) court finds an incorrect application of the governing law to be in breach of public policy, e.g. ONGC v Saw Pipes; (c) court grants anti-arbitration injunction despite clear arbitration agreement e.g. Hubco v WAPDA; and (d) courts hearing a public interest writ petition filed by a third party on the subject of an arbitration.
Against this backdrop, Mr Landau examined three cases, namely, the English Supreme Court decision in Dallah v Pakistan (cf French court decision), the Singapore Court of Appeal decision in PT First Media v Astro (cf Hong Kong first instance court decision), and the Singapore High Court decision in Laos v Sanum, where he opined that the defeat of arbitral awards were in fact pro-arbitration. In these cases, the courts implemented the essential safeguard in the system of arbitration by conducting a de novo review of the arbitral award on jurisdiction. The result of the review per se is not as important as getting the process of review right. Deference to the arbitral tribunal is also irrelevant and misses the point. Regardless of how esteemed the tribunal may be, it has no mandate without consent. Mr Landau emphasised that it is unprincipled to say that it is wrong to undertake an unwinding of the arbitral process to find consent, and it is mere confusion to say that such cases which defeat arbitral awards are necessarily anti-arbitration.
To conclude, Mr Landau cautioned that the system of arbitration demands checks and balances. If the essential fundamental safeguards are not operating properly, to quote Irving Berlin “there may be trouble ahead”.
Associate, Drew & Napier LLC
SIAC ANNUAL APPRECIATION EVENT 2015
On 2 March 2015, SIAC hosted its Annual Appreciation Event for 2015 at the Parkroyal on Pickering Hotel. Over 170 members of Singapore’s legal elite gathered at the event to commemorate SIAC’s accomplishments in 2014, to pay tribute to a champion of SIAC and its development, and to ring in an exciting new era for arbitration in Singapore.
Born to lead SIAC Court
The first highlight of the event was the announcement that Mr Gary Born, Chair of the International Arbitration Practice Group at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, will succeed Dr Michael Pryles as President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration. Mr Born will commence his new role on 1 April 2015.
Dr Pryles will step down after having served two years as the Founder President of the SIAC Court. He took on the role following the overhaul of SIAC’s governance structure in April 2013. Prior to the restructure, he also served four years as the Chairman of the SIAC Board of Directors from 2009 to 2013. Dr Pryles can boast many impressive accomplishments, including that under his stewardship SIAC’s new caseload more than doubled and the Centre was transformed from a modest regional arbitration centre into one of the leading international arbitral institutions. Dr Pryles will remain a member of the SIAC Court.
It comes as no surprise that someone of Mr Born’s calibre was chosen to succeed Dr Pryles. He is renowned as one of the world’s leading arbitration advocates and is the author of numerous (and voluminous) treatises on arbitration. Most recently, Mr Born released his long awaited draft proposal of a “bilateral arbitration treaty” under which disputes between companies from contracting States would be resolved by default through international arbitration in an effort to reduce costs and simplify the dispute resolution process. In this light, it goes without saying that “Born” is a household name in the arbitration community akin to the likes of “Redfern and Hunter”. Mr Born is also no stranger to the duties and mechanics of the SIAC Court, having served as a member since 2012.
The Singapore arbitration community looks forward to learning of the initiatives Mr Born will spearhead during his presidency of the SIAC Court.
New members for SIAC Court
As Mr Born’s first order of business, he announced the appointment of five new members to the SIAC Court of Arbitration. The new members are Ms Claudia Annacker of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Mr Lijun Cao of Zhong Lun Law Firm, Mr Toby Landau QC of Essex Court Chambers, Dr Eun Young Park of Kim & Chang (who will serve concurrently as a member of SIAC’s Board of Directors) and Ms Lucy Reed of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. These appointments will also take effect from 1 April 2015.
The new members mentioned above replace four outgoing members of the SIAC Court, being Mr Hiroo Advani of Advani & Co., Mr Doak Bishop of King & Spalding LLP, Professor Julian Lew QC of 20 Essex Street and Mr Sean (Sungwoo) Lim of Lee & Ko.
SIAC Caseload Statistics for 2014
Another highlight of the event was the release of SIAC’s Annual Report 2014 which canvasses SIAC’s annual caseload statistics for last year. A few of the key findings from the report are set out below.
|•||SIAC received 222 new cases in 2014. While this is the first time in three years that SIAC has experienced a slight drop in the number of new cases, it was nevertheless a strong performance for the Centre which has consistently maintained caseload levels of over 220 new cases each year since 2012.
|•||SIAC received cases involving parties from 58 jurisdictions in 2014, of which 81% were international in nature (i.e. where at least one or both parties were not Singaporean).
|•||The top five nationalities (excluding Singapore) of parties involved in new cases filed with SIAC were: (1) China with 41 cases; (2) USA with 38 cases; (3) India with 37 cases; (4) Hong Kong with 27 cases; and (5) Malaysia and the United Kingdom, both with 21 cases each. A noteworthy change is the significant increase in popularity for SIAC arbitration among US parties, who rose from being the 5th most common nationality in 2013 to a close 2nd in 2014.
|•||The three governing laws that were most commonly chosen in new cases filed in 2014 were: (1) Singapore law with 49%; (2) English law with 25%; and (3) Indian law with 4%. This represents a 4.5% increase in the number of cases where Singapore law was chosen as the governing law as compared to 2013. In this regard, Dr Pryles commented at the event that Singapore law is increasingly chosen as the governing law in contracts, even where none of the parties involved are Singaporean. This reflects what many practitioners are seeing in practice, in that non-Singaporean parties based elsewhere in Asia are growing more and more comfortable with selecting Singapore law to govern their contracts.
|•||SIAC received and accepted 12 applications to appoint an emergency arbitrator in 2014. This takes the total number of such applications accepted since the inception of the emergency procedure in July 2010 to 42, and puts SIAC at the forefront amongst other institutions in this area.
|•||SIAC was involved with four investor-state cases in 2014. This is a significant milestone as it marks the first time investor-state cases have been referred to SIAC.
The SIAC Annual Report 2014 also provides an overview of several significant initiatives undertaken by SIAC last year. For instance, SIAC collaborated with the newly launched Singapore International Mediation Centre (“SIMC”) to offer Arb-Med-Arb services. Under this process, a dispute referred to arbitration may be held in abeyance while the parties attempt mediation. If the dispute is resolved by mediation, the parties’ mediated settlement may be recorded as a consent award which will be more readily enforceable under the New York Convention. Otherwise, if the dispute is not resolved by mediation then the parties can resume the arbitration proceedings.
Finally, several upcoming events were highlighted during the event.
The YSIAC Conference on “The Dynamics and Challenges of International Arbitration – The Road Ahead” will be held on Thursday, 4 June 2015, at Maxwell Chambers in Singapore. Unlike your average run-of-the-mill seminar, this conference promises to set itself apart with interactive “speed-conferencing” sessions (being the conference equivalent of “speed-dating” but with far fewer phone numbers exchanged). The conference will also feature plenary sessions with members of the SIAC Court and other eminent arbitration experts, to discuss advocacy skills and tips and traps for junior counsel in an arbitration team. Those interested can register for the event online, but be quick – the early bird rate for registration ends on 4 May 2015.
GAR Live is also set to return to Singapore and will be held the day after the YSIAC Conference on 5 June 2015. Stay tuned for more details on this event.
Jones Day, Singapore
|[From left to right] Lim Seok Hui, Lucien Wong||[From left to right] Gary Born, Lucien Wong||[From left to right] Lim Seok Hui, Michael Hwang SC, Lucy Reed, Gary Born|
|Gary Born with members of the legal community||[From left to right] Lucien Wong, Dr Michael Pryles||[From left to right] Lim Seok Hui, Simon Dunbar, Foo Yuet Min, Suzanne Meiklejohn, Darius Chan|