Why SIAC

1 June 2017
SIAC Signs Cooperation Agreement with Arbitrator Intelligence

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Cooperation Agreement with Arbitrator Intelligence (AI) to promote the use of the Arbitrator Intelligence Questionnaire (AIQ).

AI is an entity affiliated with Penn State Law. Its mission is to promote fairness, transparency, accountability, and diversity in arbitrator selection and appointments. Its Founder and Executive Director is Catherine Rogers, a professor of law at Penn State Law and Queen Mary, University of London. The AI Board of Advisors includes the Honourable Sundaresh Menon, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Singapore, and Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration.

Developed by AI, the AIQ is a new feedback mechanism that will collect objective information and professional assessments of arbitrators' case management skills and decision making from users following the conclusion of their arbitrations. The consolidated anonymised data will be made available in individual arbitrator reports, and will be similar to the types of information that are currently available only on an anecdotal basis or through discussions with peers and colleagues.

Under the Cooperation Agreement, SIAC will encourage participation in the AIQ by sending out emails inviting its users to participate in the survey, at the conclusion of the international arbitrations that it administers. Participation in the AIQ is entirely voluntary, and the AIQ is structured to ensure that the confidentiality of the proceedings is strictly maintained.

SIAC will not have access to either the AIQ website or the responses of users. SIAC will only be inviting participation in the feedback mechanism for arbitrators who are appointed after 1 June 2017.

SIAC aims to promote transparency and diversity of arbitrator appointments by nationality and gender. In 2016, SIAC appointed 341 arbitrators from 21 jurisdictions, of which 44 (or 12.9%) were female arbitrators. SIAC hopes that its support of this initiative will result in objective, practical information becoming available to parties about arbitrators being considered for appointment.

For more information please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6221 8833
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg

15 May 2017
SIAC Announces Appointment of New Board and Court members

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of new members to its Board of Directors and Court of Arbitration with effect from 1 April 2017.

Three new Directors have been appointed to SIAC's Board under the chairmanship of Mr Davinder Singh, SC. They are Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, of Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow, Mr Chong Yee Leong of Allen & Gledhill LLP and Mr Tham Sai Choy of KPMG Asia Pacific. Mr Chan will take over as Deputy Chairman from Mr Cavinder Bull, SC, also with effect from 1 April 2017.

SIAC would like to express its deepest appreciation and gratitude to the five outgoing Board members for their dedication, commitment and tireless efforts during their term of office, namely, Mr Cavinder Bull, SC, Mr Gautam Banerjee, Mr John Savage QC, Mr Giles White and Ms Jeanette Wong. During their term of service, SIAC achieved a number of significant milestones, culminating in an all-time record year in 2016, where it received the highest ever number of cases. Mr Bull and Mr Savage will continue to serve as Vice Presidents on the Court.

Four new members have been appointed to SIAC's Court of Arbitration, which continues under the leadership of Mr Gary Born as its President. They are Professor Lawrence Boo and Mr Alan Thambiayah of The Arbitration Chambers, Ms Catherine Amirfar of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Mr Nigel Blackaby of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Mr Davinder Singh, SC, commented, “I would like to thank our outgoing directors for their immeasurable contributions to SIAC. I am delighted that Leng Sun, Sai Choy and Yee Leong have agreed to serve as Board members. SIAC will benefit from their experience and unique perspectives. I look forward to working closely with them.”

Mr Gary Born said of the new Court appointments, “I am delighted to welcome our new Court members who bring with them a wealth of experience and deep specialist knowledge in both commercial as well as investment arbitration. Their impressive reputations and professionalism will enhance the international standing and profile of SIAC.”

The members of SIAC's Board of Directors from 1 April 2017 are as follows:

1. Mr Davinder Singh, SC – Drew & Napier LLC, Singapore (Chairman) (appointed on 16 December 2016)
2. Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC – Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow, Singapore (Deputy Chairman)
3. Mr Chong Yee Leong – Allen & Gledhill LLP, Singapore
4. Mr Nishith Desai – Nishith Desai Associates, India
5. Mr David Liu – Jun He Law Offices, China
6. Mr Rajiv Luthra – Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, India
7. Dr Michael Moser – 20 Essex Street, Hong Kong
8. Mr Chelva Rajah, SC – Tan, Rajah & Cheah, Singapore
9. Mr Tham Sai Choy – KPMG Asia Pacific, Singapore

The members of SIAC's Court of Arbitration from 1 April 2017 are as follows:

1. Mr Gary Born – Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, UK (President)
2. Dr Michael Pryles AO PBM – Melbourne, Australia (Founder President)
3. Mr Cavinder Bull, SC – Drew & Napier LLC, Singapore (Vice President)
4. Mr John Savage QC – King & Spalding LLP, UK (Vice President)
5. Ms Catherine Amirfar – Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, USA
6. Dr Claudia Annacker – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, France
7. Mr Nigel Blackaby - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, USA
8. Prof Lawrence Boo – The Arbitration Chambers, Singapore
9. Mr Cao Lijun – Zhong Lun Law Firm, China
10. Mr Paul Friedland – White & Case LLP, USA
11. Mr Emmanuel Gaillard– Shearman & Sterling LLP, France
12. Prof Bernard Hanotiau – Hanotiau & van den Berg, Belgium
13. Mr Darius Khambata, SC – India
14. Mr Toby Landau QC – Essex Court Chambers, UK
15. Dr Eun Young Park – Kim & Chang, Korea
16. Prof Jan Paulsson – Three Crowns LLP, USA
17. Ms Lucy Reed – Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore, Singapore
18. Mr Harish Salve, SC – Blackstone Chambers, India
19. Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka – Nishimura & Asahi, Japan
20. Mr Alan Thambiayah – The Arbitration Chambers, Singapore
21. Ms Ariel Ye – King & Wood Mallesons, China
22. Mr Alvin Yeo, SC – WongPartnership LLP, Singapore

For more information please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6221 8833
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg

The Seoul SIAC-KICA Seminar on “Doing Business in Southeast Asia: Pointers, Perspectives and Potential Pitfalls”


By Sue Hyun Lim (Partner, Bae, Kim & Lee LLC) and Jinho Park (Legal Counsel, GS Caltex)

The SIAC-KICA Southeast Asia seminar on 13 April 2017 was very well attended and was complimented by many participants as an opportunity to learn and appreciate the complexity and differences of the legal environment in Southeast Asia. The high attendance rate (of over 150 attendees) for the seminar was evidence of the enthusiasm among the in-house counsel community in Korea. With the increasing business investments by Korean companies in places like Vietnam and Indonesia, there is an increased demand for more learning opportunities about the legal and business environment in Southeast Asia. The seminar provided an excellent opportunity to do so.

Dr EY Park opened the first session on contract issues with an interesting remark that Korean companies have adapted to the traditional Western approach which would consider the written contract as the end of a negotiation, and are often surprised at the uncertainty faced despite the existence of a written contract when dealing with some of their Southeast Asian counterparts.

The two high-profile speakers of the session, Mr. Eric Yang and Mr. Zunu Lee, were respectively heads of the Southeast Asia practice groups at Bae, Kim and Lee and Yoon & Yang, and had both resided in Vietnam and Indonesia respectively for many years, during which time they had assisted Korean companies with their legal matters in jurisdictions such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.

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Left to Right: Dr Eun Young Park, Mr Eric Eunyong Yang
and Mr Zunu Lee

Members of the audience

Mr. Yang opened his presentation stressing the importance of an in-depth understanding of the local legal systems. A very interesting and perhaps more important observation by Mr. Yang was that there was a strong culture of protecting the rights of minority shareholders in certain Southeast Asian countries. That, is, even if the local joint venture partner is a minority shareholder and the Korean investor had the majority of shares, there would be cultural expectations that the playing field would be leveled through other legal protections. Mr. Yang emphasized the importance of being cognizant and respectful of local business cultures, yet at the same time being prepared to protect one’s legal rights by knowing these cultural expectations in advance.

Mr. Zunu Lee shared his experience in Indonesia. He shared very valuable tips on local substantive law requirements that affected contract drafting. In particular, the participants were actively taking notes when Mr. Lee explained that liquidated damages clauses were not allowed under Indonesian law and only damages that could be proven could be claimed. Another useful tip shared was on the legal requirement in Indonesia that all contracts had to be in the Indonesian language to be effective, and could not be executed in English only. He also shared a cautionary tale on the issue of "who to talk to" when doing business in certain developing countries in Southeast Asia. In particular, in countries with socialist traditions, it might be particularly difficult to determine the right person with the appropriate authority to approach to obtain government approvals.

The second session titled, “Effective Dispute Resolution with Southeast Asian Parties”, was moderated by Mr. Jun Hee Kim, General Counsel of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. The two speakers, were Mr. David Kim of Lee & Ko and Mr. Hyung Keun Lee of Yulchon LLC.

The first topic of “whether to arbitrate or litigate” highlighted the commercial realities of the contract negotiation process. That is, the decision to arbitrate is often reached as a compromise measure, as neither party would agree to litigate in each other’s national courts.

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Left to Right: Mr Hyung Keun Lee, Mr Jun Hee Kim and David Kim

Prof Hi-Taek Shin

The second topic was on the “seat of arbitration”, an issue that was often overlooked. As it governs the procedural law of the arbitration, both speakers emphasized the importance of avoiding unfamiliar seats. Instead, popular jurisdictions like Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, and London were recommended. It was useful to note that not all jurisdictions were similar to Korea and Singapore in enforcing non-awards like interim orders, and that confidentiality of the arbitration could not be taken for granted to apply in many jurisdictions.

The third and fourth topics, “governing law and local institutions” and “counsels and arbitrators”, were highlights of the session where both speakers shared their invaluable insights. The frequent changes to arbitration laws in some countries were highlighted, and the speakers proceeded to explain the complex process of interpreting ambiguous standards such as “best efforts” and “consequential damages”, the applicability of the parol evidence rule and the vague distinction between procedural and substantive laws. While many Southeast Asia countries have established arbitration centers, the participants were reminded that their rules have not been as rigorously tested as that of SIAC.

The fifth and sixth topics were on “award enforcement” and “investment arbitration”. In light of the difficulties in enforcing the award in certain countries, speakers commented that it might be wise to settle for a lesser sum if parties were able to amicably resolve their disputes.
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SIAC Annual Appreciation Event 2017
10 March 2017


SIAC’s Annual Appreciation Event 2017 (“AAE”) was held on 10 March 2017 in Singapore. With over 200 attendees, this year’s AAE was the largest to date, seemingly in keeping with the evening’s theme of record numbers presented by SIAC.

The event was graced by Attorney General Lucien Wong, SC, who is also the former Chairman of SIAC, Mr Ng How Yue, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Law, and Mr Han Kok Juan, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Law.

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Left to Right: Gary Born, Attorney General Lucien Wong, SC, Lim Seok Hui and Ng How Yue, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Law Singapore

SIAC Annual Report 2016

The evening commenced with Opening Remarks from Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC and SIMC. Ms Lim noted that SIAC’s record numbers in 2016 were due in large part to the invaluable contributions of the SIAC Board of Directors, SIAC Court of Arbitration, as well as the SIAC Secretariat and expressed her thanks to them.

Thereafter, Mr Gary Born, President, SIAC Court of Arbitration, presented the highlight of the evening - the 2016 SIAC case statistics. In 2016, SIAC saw all-time record numbers: SIAC had the highest ever number of cases filed (343), the highest ever number of administered cases (307), the highest ever aggregate sum in dispute USD11.85 billion (SGD17.13 billion), the highest ever aggregate sum in dispute for administered cases USD11.72 billion (SGD16.95 billion) and the highest ever sum in dispute for a single administered case USD3.47 billion (SGD5.02 billion).

Audience IMG_1318-X3
Guests at the event

Announcement of SIAC 2016 Case Statistics by Gary Born

Focusing on the top ten foreign users of SIAC, Mr Born emphasised how the diversity of SIAC’s users shows that it is not a Singaporean, or even a regional arbitral institution. Instead, SIAC is truly a global arbitral institution that is seated in Singapore.

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Left to Right: Attorney General Lucien Wong, SC,
Ng How Yue, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Law
Singapore and Joan Janssen

Guests

Mr Born also highlighted that, in terms of Emergency Arbitrator (EA) applications, SIAC received 6 in 2016, bringing the total number of EA applications since the introduction of the EA provisions, to 53 as of 31 December 2016. Mr Born further noted that as of 10 March 2017, SIAC has since received a further 3 EA applications, bringing the current total to 56.

IMG_1101-X3 IMG_1587-X3
Left to Right: Janice Lee, Gary Born, Lim Seok Hui,
Kevin Nash and Michelle Chiam

Left to Right: Gary Born, Andre Yeap and Christopher Lau, SC

Mr Born also expressed his thanks to the SIAC Board of Directors and Court of Arbitration. He noted that the strong numbers posted by SIAC were thanks to the hard work and utmost dedication of the Board and Court, as well as of the tireless CEO of SIAC, Ms Lim Seok Hui, the SIAC Registrar and the rest of the Secretariat. He likewise acknowledged the vision and the large impact of the work done by Mr Lucien Wong as the former Chairman of SIAC, who was deeply missed. Mr Born said that he looked forward to working closely with the new Chairman of SIAC, Mr Davinder Singh, SC, in further improving SIAC’s dispute resolution services for its users all over the world.

YSIAC Lunchtime Event: The Advocate and The Arbitrator
10 March 2017


Report by Ong Chin Kiat
Associate
Allen & Gledhill LLP

On 10 March 2017, the YSIAC held its lunchtime event, “The Advocate and The Arbitrator” – a no holds barred session generously hosted by Clifford Chance, where the attendees were treated to a dialogue on being an advocate and an arbitrator in international arbitration with Mr Gary Born (Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP; President, SIAC Court of Arbitration) and Mr Alvin Yeo, SC (Chairman and Senior Partner, WongPartnership LLP; Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Member, SIAC Users Council Singapore National Committee). The talk attracted over 150 attendees.

Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC and SIMC), gave her opening remarks. Ms Koh Swee Yen (Partner, WongPartnership LLP; Co-Chair, YSIAC Committee; and Member, SIAC Users Council Singapore), then introduced the two panellists, Mr Born and Mr Yeo – although, as Ms Koh pointed out, these two titans of international arbitration certainly needed no introduction. The dialogue was adeptly moderated by Mr Kabir Singh (Partner, Clifford Chance; Member, YSIAC Committee).

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Left to Right: Gary Born, Koh Swee Yen, Kabir Singh and Alvin Yeo, SC

Members of the audience during Welcome Address by Lim Seok Hui

Mr Born opened the session, with a pithy quotation that the process of “choosing arbitrators is like choosing handbags”. A presiding arbitrator should be experienced in arbitration procedure. But where party-nominated arbitrators are concerned, Mr Born recalled the (in)famous quotation from Martin Hunter1 that one looks for “maximum predisposition toward my client, but with the minimum appearance of bias”.2 However, Mr Born was quick to point out that this was a cynical view which is unlikely to apply to experienced arbitrators.

Mr Yeo agreed with Mr Born’s sentiments. In his view, it is also crucial for the party-nominated arbitrator to be able to connect with the other members of the tribunal during the deliberations. Thus, it would be ideal to appoint someone familiar with international arbitration.

On the question of nominating younger arbitrators, Mr Born pointed out that as the President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, he is strongly in favour of appointing younger arbitrators, particularly for less complex cases. Mr Yeo concurred with that view, stating that older arbitrators would have fuller hearing diaries and may be slightly more cynical. The panel’s consistent advice for young arbitrators to succeed was preparation and hard work.

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Left to Right: Gary Born, Kabir Singh and Alvin Yeo, SC

Members of the audience

Exploring the sensitive issue of challenges to biased arbitrators, Mr Yeo noted that this was an extreme option, given that there are other options available such as setting aside the eventual award. Mr Born concurred. In his experience, this would be counter-productive. Even if the challenge was successful, the other party would likely re-nominate someone with “maximum predisposition but minimum appearance of bias”.

Part of the session also dealt with advocacy in international arbitration. The heterogeneity of the arbitral tribunal’s legal cultures requires that arguments be pitched accordingly, which makes it more challenging.

The panellists also discussed techniques to deal with unprepared arbitrators. If the need arises, advocates should be ready to take the arbitral tribunal through the entire case afresh in oral submissions, instead of relying on written skeletal submissions.

Turning to more light-hearted topics, Mr Born shared some tips to deal with arbitrators who appear to be dozing off – including dropping books “accidentally” and requesting for a break (“It’s getting really warm, maybe it’s time for a break”). Tips to keep in mind the next time one is found to be in such a situation.

If the success of an event must be measured by its attendance record, it is clear that this lunchtime event was successful beyond measure – undoubtedly because of the rockstar status of the panellists. As promised, the session was a no holds barred one, with the panellists taking a frank and open approach to answering the questions posed to them, making it an extremely enlightening and insightful event.

Special thanks to venue and lunch sponsor, Clifford Chance.


_____________________________________
1 Of Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration fame.
2 Martin Hunter, “Ethics of the International arbitrator” (1987) 53 Arbitration 219 at 222-223.

Press Releases

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Public Consultation on Draft SIAC Arbitration Rules

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