Why SIAC

7 November 2017
SIAC-CIL Academic-Practitioner Colloquium


By Daniel Ow, Associate, WongPartnership LLP

The inaugural SIAC-CIL Academic-Practitioner Colloquium on 7 November 2017 was significant as it marked an important development in the Singapore arbitration arena. Essentially, the event provided academics with a platform to showcase their current research work in the field of international arbitration, and to test their ideas on a panel of arbitration practitioners and fellow academics. In turn, the event provided practitioners with an opportunity to interact with academics researching on issues that might have relevance to their areas of practice. The event was well attended, and attracted an audience of 100 attendees, comprising corporate counsel, practising lawyers and academics.

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Left to Right: Professor Lucy Reed, Toby Landau QC
and Lim Seok Hui

Opening Address delivered by Toby Landau QC

Mr Toby Landau QC (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Barrister and Arbitrator, Essex Court Chambers) kicked off the event with opening remarks explaining the format and purpose of the seminar. This was then followed by the paper presentations by the two academics and panel discussions.

The two researchers who presented at the inaugural event provided an insightful discussion on the integration of a two-tier court system into new trade agreements, and also shed light on how a witness’ memory might be distorted and the impact of this on witness testimony in international arbitration. The panel sessions comprising seasoned arbitration practitioners also provided participants with candid, and at times, critical insight into the realities of international arbitration practice.

Paper Presentation 1: The New EU-Led Approach to Investor-State Arbitration: The Investment Tribunal System in the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement

Ms Elsa Sardinha (Research Associate & Practice Fellow to Chris Thomas QC, Investment Law & Policy Group, Centre for International Law (Singapore); National University of Singapore) presented the first paper. The first panel session was moderated by Professor Nicolas Jansen Calamita (Head, Investment Treaty Law & Policy, Principal Research Fellow; Research Associate Professor, Centre for International Law (Singapore); National University of Singapore), and comprised Mr Gary Born (President, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP), Ms Koh Swee Yen (Co-Chair, YSIAC Committee; Partner, WongPartnership LLP) and Professor Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah (C J Koh Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore).

Since 2004, treaties have become more complex and more precisely drafted to provide a richer context for interpretation. Two new treaties that were recently introduced – the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EU-Vietnam FTA) – were reflective of this shift in treaty-drafting practice. Both treaties established a two-tier investment tribunal system (ITS), where a permanent appellate tribunal has the power to review tribunal decisions. The ITS provides for a spectrum of possible challenges to arbitral awards by incorporating the grounds for annulment in Article 52 of the ICSID Arbitration Rules into both treaties, together with the power to review for errors of law and fact. Further, the CETA has a 24-month deadline for the final award to be rendered whereas the EU-Vietnam FTA has an 18-month deadline for the final award to be rendered.

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Elsa Sardinha

Left to Right: Elsa Sardinha, Professor Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah, Professor Nicolas Jansen Calamita, Koh Swee Yen and Gary Born

Elsa analysed the ITS under these two treaties, and argued that the treaties contained some potentially problematic features, such as the removal of the involvement of disputing parties in the selection of the tribunal members and the extremely tight deadlines to render final awards. In particular, considering the number of rounds of pleadings and the time that the tribunal would require to digest submissions in order to reach its decision, she suggested that the short deadline was unrealistic.

While the creation of the ITS aimed to solve the problem of the lack of independence and impartiality of some arbitrators, the panellists questioned whether this problem was in reality so prevalent in practice that it warranted such a drastic change. The panellists also pointed out other problems with the ITS, such as the limited term of tribunal members and the potential effect of the lack of tenure on tribunal members’ decision-making, and the disadvantages which might be faced by States with less bargaining power. Whilst there may be some potential benefits of implementing such a tribunal system, the panellists did acknowledge that such a radical change should be cautiously proceeded with.

Paper Presentation 2: Human Memory and Witness Evidence in International Arbitration

Dr Ula Cartwright-Finch (Managing Associate, Linklaters LLP, London) presented the second paper on “Human Memory and Witness Evidence in International Arbitration”. The second panel session was moderated by Mr Chelva Rajah, SC (Member, SIAC Board of Directors; Managing Partner, Tan Rajah & Cheah), and comprised Mr Toby Landau QC, Professor Lucy Reed (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Director, Centre for International Law (Singapore); Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore) and Mr Alan Thambiayah (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Professional Arbitrator, The Arbitration Chambers).

The accuracy of a witness’ memory is crucial to the various stages of an international arbitration, from the initial investigation, to the focused investigation, the preparation of witness statement and the hearing.

However, the ability of witnesses accurately to recollect events from the past and provide reliable testimony has always been a controversial issue in international arbitration. Drawing on research in psychology and neuroscience, Ula suggested that the human memory undergoes a continuous reconstructive process that is susceptible to distortion.

In her presentation, Ula discussed 3 instances in which a witness’ memory might be distorted and how these effects might arise in the context of witness testimony in international arbitration.

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Ula Cartwright-Finch

Left to Right: Ula Cartwright-Finch, Toby Landau QC, Chelva Rajah, SC, Professor Lucy Reed and Alan Thambiayah

Firstly, the misinformation effect, whereby a witness’ recollection of episodic memories could become less accurate due to post-event information such as the way that a question was posed during the cross-examination. In a 1975 research by Loftus & Zanni, after a video was shown to participants, they were split into two focus groups. The first group was asked whether they had seen a broken headlight, whereas the second group was asked whether they had seen the broken headlight. It was shown that participants in the second group were more likely to report having seen a broken headlight.

Secondly, a witness might be susceptible to false memories, whereby his or her recollection of events might be affected by his or her personal belief or opinion. This was exemplified by the “lost in the mall” scenario, whereby confabulations about events that never took place – such as having been lost in a shopping mall as a child – could be created through suggestions made to participants.

Lastly, a witness’ memory might be conformed and compromised when another person’s recollection of a memory influences his or her recollection of the same experience.

Distortions of witness’ memories may have severe consequences by impacting the witness’ testimonies and consequently the findings of fact in an award. Therefore, in her paper, Ula proposed some practical strategies to mitigate the potential impact of these effects on memory, such as carrying out timely witness interviews and taking special precautions in framing the questions during the interviews.

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Members of the audience

Members of the audience during networking drinks

The panellists noted that the problems with witness recollection would extend to the cross-examination and re-examination stages of the arbitration as well. The panellists also observed that the research conducted on witness recollection have thus far been carried out in relatively controlled scenarios, and hence might not accurately reflect or be directly applicable to international arbitration processes. There was nonetheless consensus in the room that these witness recollection issues highlighted the importance of arbitration tribunals in the assessment of witness testimonies.

13 October 2017
YSIAC Oral Advocacy Workshop 2017


By Vibhor Jain, Associate, Luthra & Luthra Law Offices

On the evening of Friday, 13 October 2017, a room full of arbitration luminaries and enthusiasts engaged in an open dialogue on the “art” of oral advocacy and conducted a mock application for emergency interim relief.

The Emergency Arbitrators for the mock scenario comprised Mr Gary Born (President, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP), Mr Toby Landau QC (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Barrister and Arbitrator, Essex Court Chambers), Mr Ciccu Mukhopadhaya, SC (Supreme Court of India), and Mr Harish Salve, SC (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Blackstone Chambers).

Mr Kevin Nash (Deputy Registrar & Centre Director, SIAC) kicked off the workshop charting how SIAC had become a major player among international arbitral institutions, and one of the preferred arbitral institutions amongst Indian parties. This was followed by a brief introduction to the mock case scenario by Mr Rishab Gupta (Member, YSIAC Committee; Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co). Thereafter, the ball started rolling and the Preliminary Objections Session began.

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Left to Right: Gary Born, Toby Landau QC and Ciccu Mukhopadhaya, SC

Members of the audience

The first three sets of counsel dealt with three jurisdictional objections raised in the mock case scenario: (i) whether, by the reference to “Singapore Chamber of Commerce”, a non-existent entity, the parties had intended to choose SIAC as the administering institution for arbitration; (ii) whether mediation talks between the parties were a pre-condition to arbitration and had been satisfied; and (iii) who were the proper parties to the arbitration.

On the first jurisdictional objection, counsel for the Claimant, Mr Sonal Kumar Singh (Partner, M/s A. K. Singh & Co.), stressed how certain arbitral institutions had become synonymous with geographical areas, and that the reference to “Singapore” must signify SIAC. On this point, Mr Landau QC was quick to point out that by the same token, the words “Chamber of Commerce” could signify the parties’ intent to choose the ICC. Counsel for the Respondent, Mr Moazzam Khan (Member, YSIAC Committee; Co-Head, International Disputes Practice, Nishith Desai Associates), argued that it was not possible to infer from the clause any intention as to “which institution” and “where”, and was only possible to infer that there was an intention to arbitrate.

On the second jurisdictional objection, Mr Prateek Bagaria (Partner, Singularity Legal), argued that the arbitration clause would only “mature” upon the activation of the temporal jurisdiction of the tribunal after the stipulated time period for mediation talks had expired. This led Mr Born to wonder aloud, “Are arbitration clauses teenagers that they would ‘mature’?”, which led to much laughter from the audience, including Mr Bagaria. Next, counsel for the Claimant, Mr Anirban Bhattacharya (Partner, Luthra & Luthra Law Offices) submitted that the agreement to mediate, being an agreement to agree, was not enforceable under the governing law, which in his submission was Indian law. Mr Landau QC inquired whether it was artificial to submit that the “agreement to mediate” was illegal, and separate it from the “agreement to arbitrate”, when both the arbitration and mediation clauses were subordinate clauses of the same clause in the agreement. Mr Bhattacharya responded that while both subordinate clauses were related, only the latter was an arbitration agreement, and hence, different laws would in his opinion apply to both.

On the third jurisdictional objection, submissions were made for the Respondent by Mr Lomesh Kiran Nidumuri (Partner, IndusLaw) and for the Claimant by Ms Sheila Ahuja (Of Counsel, Allen & Overy). The discussion between the counsel and the arbitrators revolved around exceptions to the rule of privity of contract, and how, given that the emergency arbitration mechanism was a provisional measure, the emergency arbitrator (EA) was only required to take a prima facie view on proper parties.

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Left to Right: Moazzam Khan, Prateek Bagaria and Lomesh Kiran Nidumuri Left to Right: Sonal Kumar Singh, Anirban Bhattacharya and Sheila Ahuja

After a short break, the Workshop proceeded to the fourth session, with counsel making submissions on the applicable test for interim relief. Ms Elodie Dulac (Partner, King & Spalding), who acted as counsel for the Claimant, submitted that the essential conditions were fulfilled: there being presence of risk, causation of irreparable harm, and a prima facie case on the merits. She also submitted that the test of urgency was also satisfied, namely “whether harm could happen before an award was passed on the merits”. However, Mr Born was of the view that such tests would make the threshold for the grant of interim relief too low. Acting for the Respondent, Mr Promod Nair (Founding Partner, Arista Chambers) submitted that the three jurisdictional objections submitted previously showed the absence of a prima facie case, and that the EA ought to pass an order that was “necessary”, not “appropriate”, thereby signifying a higher threshold for grant of interim relief.

The fifth session pertained to whether or not emergency interim relief should be granted by the EA. Mr P.V. Kapur, SC, argued for interim relief to be granted since there were risks involved as one of the Respondents did not own any known assets. Acting for the Respondent was Mr Landau QC (who had switched from being an EA to counsel), who submitted that there was no prima facie case on the merits, to which Mr Salve, SC, intervened and asked how the EA could possibly decide at the present stage that there was no prima facie case on the merits from the Claimant’s side. Mr Landau QC responded by saying the burden to prove the same, as well as the burden to prove that the Respondent was ill-intentioned and there was a risk involved if the relief was not granted, lay solely with the Claimant.

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Left to Right: P.V. Kapur, SC and Elodie Dulac Application for Emergency Relief Session

With that, the mock arbitration hearing concluded. In short, these five sessions were thoroughly enlightening. What followed was even more exciting: the feedback by the Tribunal, moderated by Mr Kabir Singh (Member, YSIAC Committee; Partner, Clifford Chance). Mr Born was extremely impressed by the performance of the various counsel under fire from what he admitted was “not an easy tribunal”. Mr Landau QC, with a good sense of humour, chimed in with a remark that given the time allotted and the complexity of the problem, “everyone was brilliant, except counsel for the Respondent in the last session (himself)”!

The panellists then discussed the challenges affecting the growth of arbitration globally. Mr Landau QC and Mr Salve, SC emphasised the need to “unlearn”, noting that there needed to be more attempts to make a departure from “litigation advocacy” towards “arbitral advocacy”.

Talking further about such a transition, especially for young professionals, Mr Mukhopadhaya, SC, and Mr Born said that young professionals should enter into the world of arbitration from the very beginning, but never leave courtroom lawyering behind.

“Litigation and arbitration have as many similarities as dissimilarities”, Mr Born added. Mr Salve, SC spoke about how to “read” a tribunal, by trying to sell it an idea and understand their thought process. Mr Landau QC emphasised that the audience was neither the opponent, nor the client, but the tribunal. Mr P.V. Kapur, SC, spoke about the need for more cross-examination experience for young professionals, with Mr Salve, SC, noting that no case should be too small and every opportunity should be seized by young professionals.

On language barriers in arbitrations, Live Note service providers and transcriptions were recommended as the expensive and cheap options respectively. The panellists were also asked to recount their “best as well as worst experience professionally” to much interest and laughter.

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Left to Right: Gary Born, Harish Salve, SC, Kabir Singh, Toby Landau QC, P.V. Kapur, SC and Ciccu Mukhopadhaya, SC

Toby Landau QC and Rajiv K. Luthra with members of the audience

In the Closing Remarks, Mr Nish Shetty (Partner, Clifford Chance) applauded SIAC for organising the workshop which offered invaluable insights into the practice of arbitration through the mock arbitration. He also mentioned that the growing practice of arbitration in India will lead to the emergence of an “arbitration bar” and that such events were contributing to the same. He expressed hope that arbitration would go from being an “extra-curricular” to a full-time career. He expressed gratitude to the counsel and members of the EA Tribunal for taking time from their busy schedules for what was, indeed, a unique night of learning.

(The YSIAC Oral Advocacy Workshop was well-received by the Indian legal and business community and attracted a total of 145 delegates, comprising practitioners, in-house counsel and academics.)
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SIAC Year in Review 2017

Happy New Year from all of us at SIAC and best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2018.

As we welcome the new year, we look back fondly at some of the highlights of 2017.

1 New SIAC Board and Court Members

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Left to Right: Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Mr Chong Yee Leong, Mr Tham Sai Choy, Ms Catherine Amirfar, Mr Nigel Blackaby, Professor Lawrence Boo, and Mr Alan Thambiayah

In April 2017, SIAC welcomed three new directors to SIAC’s Board of Directors 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, formerly the Chairman of KPMG in Asia Pacific. Mr Chan was appointed Deputy Chairman.

Four new members were also appointed to SIAC’s Court of Arbitration in April 2017, 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.

2 Proposal on Cross-Institution Consolidation Protocol

In December 2017, SIAC announced its proposal on cross-institution cooperation for the consolidation of international arbitral proceedings. The SIAC proposal, which was initiated by Mr Gary Born, the President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, is detailed in letters from Mr Born to other international arbitral institutions together with an attached memorandum. The memorandum proposes the adoption of a protocol by arbitral institutions permitting the cross-institution consolidation of arbitral proceedings subject to different institutional arbitration rules.

Through institutional cooperation, the cross-institution consolidation proposal is designed to facilitate the efficient and enforceable resolution of international commercial disputes, which will lead to significant gains for parties.

3 Opening of SIAC’s Second Representative Office in GIFT City, India

In August 2017, SIAC announced the opening of its second representative office in India (after its Mumbai representative office which was established in 2013), in the International Financial Services Centre in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT IFSC), Gujarat.

The opening of a second SIAC office in India in GIFT IFSC will allow SIAC to participate in GIFT’s economic development through the provision of a world-class dispute resolution mechanism to businesses and investors within GIFT IFSC, and will deepen SIAC’s existing ties with the legal and business communities in India.

4 New Hires in the SIAC Secretariat

In the course of 2017, SIAC strengthened its Secretariat workforce with six new associate counsel hires who are qualified in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Our new colleagues are Ms Allison Goh, Ms Lim Shi Jean, Ms Pauline Low, Mr Piyush Prasad, Mr Kendista Wantah and Ms Angela Yap. With the latest additions to the team, SIAC now has lawyers from these and the following other countries: Canada, China, and USA.

5 SIAC Academy

The inaugural SIAC Academy, titled “Time and Cost Savers at SIAC: Emergency Arbitration, Expedited Procedure and Early Dismissal”, was held in Singapore on 6 and 7 November 2017, to provide practical, “hands-on” training for arbitration practitioners and arbitrators.

Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, chaired the teaching faculty which included Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Deputy Chairman of SIAC, members of the SIAC Court of Arbitration (Mr Toby Landau QC, Professor Lawrence Boo, Mr Alan Thambiayah) and other international arbitration luminaries. Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance, made a special appearance in a frank, highly interesting and lively discussion with Mr Born on developments in international arbitration in Singapore and in the region. SIAC Court members, Professor Lucy Reed and Mr Toby Landau QC also spoke as panellists in an engaging lunchtime fireside chat.

The Academy attracted a good turnout from both Singapore as well as overseas delegates from Bulgaria, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.

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Left to Right: Mr Kent Phillips, Mr Richard Tan, Professor Lawrence Boo, Mr Thio Shen Yi, SC and Mr Andrew Yeo Left to Right: Mr Gary Born, Ms Lim Seok Hui, Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance, and Mr Davinder Singh, SC

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Left to Right: Mr Alastair Henderson, Dr Michael Hwang, SC, Mr Gary Born and Mr Andre Yeap, SC Left to Right: Mr Chou Sean Yu, Mr Elliott Geisinger, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Mr Paul Sandosham and Mr Alan Thambiayah

6 SIAC-CIL Academic-Practitioner Colloquium

SIAC and the Centre for International Law, NUS (CIL), jointly organised the inaugural SIAC-CIL Academic-Practitioner Colloquium in November 2017. The format for the workshop involved two roundtable sessions, during which an academic presented her research paper on a current hot arbitration topic before a panel of eminent international arbitration experts who then engaged in an analytical discussion before an audience. The two academics were Ms Elsa Sardinha and Dr Ula Cartwright-Finch, and the event featured a stellar line-up of panellists, including SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, members of the SIAC Court of Arbitration (Mr Toby Landau QC, Professor Lucy Reed and Mr Alan Thambiayah) and SIAC Board member, Mr Chelva Rajah, SC.

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Left to Right: Ms Elsa Sardinha, Professor Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah, Professor Nicolas Jansen Calamita, Ms Koh Swee Yen and Mr Gary Born Left to Right: Dr Ula Cartwright-Finch, Mr Toby Landau QC, Mr Chelva Rajah, SC, Professor Lucy Reed and Mr Alan Thambiayah

7 SIAC Conferences and Seminars

In 2017, SIAC organised a series of conferences and seminars in New Delhi, St. Petersburg, Seoul, Tokyo, and Xiamen. Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance, Singapore, delivered the opening address at the SIAC Hard Talk in New Delhi, as well as the special address at the SIAC India Conference. The Hon’ble Mr Justice Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India delivered the special address for the SIAC Hard Talk, which was attended by the Hon’ble Mr Justice A K Sikri of the Supreme Court of India, Justice Gita Mittal, Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi and several other judges of the Delhi High Court.

SIAC also partnered with other institutions to hold joint seminars and events in Shanghai with the Shanghai International Arbitration Centre (SHIAC), in Seoul with the Korea In-House Counsel Association (KICA) and Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB), and in Singapore with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Singapore branch.

Panellists included the President and members of the SIAC Board and Court, as well as leading arbitration practitioners and in-house counsel. The events were well-attended by private practitioners, in-house counsel, government officials and members of the academe.

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Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance, delivering the Special Address at the SIAC India Conference in New Delhi Left to Right (foreground): Hon’ble Mr Justice Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Mr Justice A K Sikri and Mr Rajiv K. Luthra at the SIAC Hard Talk in New Delhi

8 New YSIAC Committee

In January 2017, the YSIAC Committee, led by co-chairs Mr Ankit Goyal and Ms Koh Swee Yen, welcomed new committee members, Ms Jeong Hye Ahn, Ms Holly Blackwell, Mr Rishab Gupta, Mr Moazzam Khan, Mr Nicholas Lingard and Ms Julie Raneda.

9 YSIAC Conference 2017 and other YSIAC Events

The biennial YSIAC Conference titled “Evolution and Innovation: Keeping Pace with the Future of Arbitration” was held in Singapore on 9 June 2017. The conference attracted almost 200 delegates from 12 jurisdictions, with delegates from places as far away as Sint Maarten, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In conjunction with the YSIAC Conference, SIAC also organised the third YSIAC Essay competition, which received a record 73 entries from 25 jurisdictions. The winner was Mr Gabriel Li of Drew & Napier LLC. The 1st Runner Up was Ms Amy Seow of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP and the 2nd Runner up was Mr Parul Kumar of Luthra & Luthra Law Offices.

Other YSIAC events held in 2017 included the YPG KLRCA-YSIAC Advocacy Workshop in Kuala Lumpur, YSIAC Lunchtime Events in Singapore, YSIAC Oral Advocacy Workshop in New Delhi, and the YSIAC-KOCIA YAPF Fireside Chat in Seoul.

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Left to Right: Mr Davinder Singh, SC, Ms Koh Swee Yen, Ms Lim Seok Hui, Mr Gary Born and Mr Duncan Matthews QC at the YSIAC Conference Left to Right: Mr Emmanuel Gaillard, Mr Toby Landau QC, Ms Foo Yuet Min, Ms Lim Seok Hui, Mr Darius J. Khambata, SC and Mr Jern-Fei Ng at the YSIAC Conference

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Delegates during the Cocktail Evening after the YSIAC Conference Left to Right: Mr Bhaskar Chandran, Mr Cameron Ford, Mr Chelva Rajah, SC, Ms Geraldine Lim and Ms Valerie Tan at the YSIAC Conference

10 Cooperation Agreement with Arbitrator Intelligence

In June 2017, SIAC entered into a Cooperation Agreement with Arbitrator Intelligence (AI), an entity affiliated with Penn State Law, to promote the use of the Arbitrator Intelligence Questionnaire (AIQ). 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 data will be anonymised and be published only with the arbitrator’s consent. They will appear in reports which will be made available to subscribers.



We would like to express our heartfelt 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 many contributions and consistent support.


With best regards,
The SIAC Team

12 October 2017
SIAC India Conference 2017: Crystal Ball Gazing into the Future of International Arbitration in India


By Aditya Vikram and Karan Dev Chopra, Senior Associates, Luthra & Luthra Law Offices

The SIAC India Conference 2017 was well received by the Indian legal and business community with 190 delegates in attendance. The audience comprised eminent lawyers and other professionals from reputable organisations, who were enthusiastic to learn more about managing arbitrations in light of the changes to the arbitration regime in India.

The conference commenced with a welcome address by Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC), where the theme of the conference and the efficacies of the SIAC arbitration procedures were discussed against the backdrop of India’s move towards global standards of institutional arbitration, and the recent pro-arbitration judgments being delivered by India’s Courts.

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Special Address delivered by Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance

Members of the audience

Ms Indranee Rajah, SC (Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance) delivered the special address and stressed that with the growth of cross-border transactions and cross-border disputes, there needed to be effective arbitral institutions to meet the demand for dispute resolution services. According to Ms Rajah, with the recent legislative amendments, the future of arbitration in India was bright, like a crisp summer day that the month of April promises.

The keynote address delivered by Mr Gary Born (President, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP) was one of the highlights of the day. Mr Born shared his thoughts on the future of arbitration in India by first discussing the “enemies” of arbitration. Borrowing an analogy from the Game of Thrones, Mr Born stated that the enemy was just beyond the wall and cautioned that “winter is coming”. Mr Born stated that the enemies of arbitration were its harsh critics who constantly endeavored to critique the failings of the arbitral system, such as the bias of some arbitrators, and the lack of appellate review. Defending the arbitral system, Mr Born described the right to arbitrate as akin to a fundamental right. The only way forward was to “defeat” the enemy and turn the tables on them in order to protect the arbitral system, which has been the business community’s preferred way to resolve disputes. Referring to the increased powers of arbitral tribunals and the ever-growing caseloads at arbitral institutions, Mr Born was of the opinion that the future of arbitration is and had to be bright.

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Keynote Address delivered by Gary Born

Left to Right: Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance
and Gary Born

The first panel discussion on “Successfully Managing SIAC Arbitrations Under the New Indian Regime” comprised Mr Gary Born, Ms Elodie Dulac (Partner, King & Spalding), Mr Manish Lamba (General Counsel, Bharti Realty Limited), Mr Ng Kim Beng (Partner, Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP), Mr S. Ravi Shankar (Senior Partner, Law Senate) and Mr Kabir Singh (Member, YSIAC Committee; Partner, Clifford Chance). The discussion was moderated by Mr Steven Lim (Partner, CMS) and some of the topics discussed were the strategies involved in effectively managing arbitrations, the importance of choosing the right arbitrator or arbitral tribunal under the new Indian legislative regime, the freshly minted SIAC Rules 2016 and the improved Emergency Arbitrator and Expedited Procedure provisions under those rules.

In the course of the discussions, Mr Lamba shed light on the important role of in-house counsel in the arbitral process before the commencement of arbitration, such as in drafting an arbitration clause, choosing the substantive law, and taking into account the nuances of different procedural laws. Mr Lamba also stressed that once a dispute has arisen, a cost-benefit analysis should be undertaken to mitigate risks before commencing arbitration proceedings. Mr Born stressed the need to fully comprehend the factual record of the case at hand and rule out any other alternate dispute resolution mechanisms before moving towards arbitration. Mr Singh discussed about what he coined as “a Human Tribunal” and stated that the right tribunal could make or break a case. Highlighting the inclusion of disclosure requirements for arbitrators in section 12(5) of the 2015 Indian Arbitration Amendment Act, Mr Singh explained that this was a positive development for arbitration in India.

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Panellists of Panel Session I

Left to Right: Gary Born, Elodie Dulac, Manish Lamba, Steven Lim, Ng Kim Beng, Kabir Singh and
S. Ravi Shankar

The discussions turned to focus on the SIAC Rules 2016 and it was pointed out by Mr Ng that party autonomy was given increased importance, and rightly so under the new rules. The usefulness and necessity of emergency arbitrator provisions, and the enforceability of emergency arbitrator awards under the New York Convention, were discussed. It was also highlighted that 70% of emergency arbitrator awards were complied with voluntarily by parties without the need for enforcement proceedings. The discussion also shed light on various positive legislative amendments that India had introduced to align itself with global standards of arbitration, but this begged the question as to whether the existing legislative amendments were sufficient or if further amendments were necessary to meet international best practices in arbitration.

The topic for the second panel discussion, “The Changed Face of Arbitration in India: Story so Far”, was a widely debated topic, especially amongst the legal fraternity in Southeast Asia. The eminent panel comprised Mr Bhaskar Chandran (Group President, Legal, GMR Group), Mr Tejas Karia (Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co), Mr Toby Landau QC (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Barrister and Arbitrator, Essex Court Chambers), Mr Lomesh Kiran Nidumuri (Partner, IndusLaw), Mr Prakash Pillai (Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore) and Mr Naresh Thacker (Partner, Economic Laws Practice), with the discussion being moderated by Mr Moazzam Khan (Member, YSIAC Committee; Co-Head, International Disputes Practice, Nishith Desai Associates). The panellists also discussed various aspects of the Indian Arbitration Amendment Act, especially the requirements of Section 29A, which requires that all Indian arbitrations must be completed within 1 year (or 18 months with parties’ agreement) of the constitution of the arbitral tribunal.

While appreciating and recognising the legislative intention behind Section 29A, the panellists unanimously shared the concern that the timeline to conclude an arbitration should not be rigidly imposed as a one-size-fits-all approach may not be a pragmatic approach, especially in respect of complex arbitrations. The panellists noted that the concept of “delay” had percolated into the dispute resolution culture in India, and were hopeful and confident for change over the next few years. The panellists were also of the view that courts in India should not infringe on party autonomy. The discussion also centered around the growth of arbitration infrastructure in India, and issues relating to transparency, lack of bias, rationality, streamlining of the commercial judicial courts and enforcement.

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Panellists of Session II

Left to Right: Bhaskar Chandran, Tejas Karia, Toby Landau QC, Moazzam Khan, Lomesh Kiran Nidumuri, Prakash Pillai and Naresh Thacker

The discussions came to a close with both the panellists and audience recognising that the 2015 Indian Arbitration Amendment Act reflected a positive change of mindset regarding arbitration in India, and was a step in the right direction for a better, brighter and prosperous era of arbitration in India.

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Left to Right: Gary Born, Toby Landau QC, Lalit Bhasin, Rajiv K. Luthra, Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance,
Lim Seok Hui, Singapore’s High Commissioner to India Mr Lim Thuan Kuan, Kevin Nash, Pranav Mago and Naresh Thacker

Rajiv K. Luthra and members of the audience


Please click here to view the SIAC India Conference 2017.

9 November 2017
SIAC-KCAB Seminar on Multiple Proceedings in Multiple Fora - Strategies and Synergies


By Richard Jung Yeun Won, Foreign Attorney, Shin & Kim

The SIAC-KCAB joint seminar, “Multiple Proceedings in Multiple Fora – Strategies and Synergies”, covered everything one would expect and more from a seminar addressing a pertinent and timely topic in the ever-evolving world of international arbitration.

SIAC and KCAB jointly hosted the seminar at Seoul Global Center on 9 November 2017, as part of the week-long Seoul ADR Festival. Over 75 practitioners and in-house counsel attended the event, thanks to the all-star lineup of speakers and panellists who addressed joinder and consolidation provisions as a means to improve efficiency when dealing with multiple parties, contracts, and claims.

Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC and SIMC) welcomed the attendees by stressing the importance of time and cost considerations when developing strategies for cross-border projects and transactions. She also articulated a vision in which Singapore and Seoul would work in synchrony as arbitration hubs in the APAC region, as what the arbitration hubs of Paris and Geneva had done for Europe.

Professor Lucy Reed (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Director, Centre for International Law (Singapore); Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore) delivered the Keynote Address by describing how national laws and arbitration rules were in conflict, and how each jurisdiction had the responsibility to respect the rules of other jurisdictions while fulfilling its own responsibilities and duties to the parties. While she stressed the importance of joinder and consolidation provisions as tools to overcome consent requirements when adding additional parties, she also wondered if, in practice, joinder and consolidation provisions actually improved efficiency of the arbitral proceedings and led to cost savings for the parties.

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Members of the audience

Left to Right: Paul Sandosham, Professor Lucy Reed, Kap-You (Kevin) Kim, Dr Eun Young Park and Beomsu Kim

The first panel session included leading arbitrators and practitioners from across Asia, with each panellist wearing the hat of a different arbitral institution to discuss the different joinder and consolidation rules. Mr Kap-You (Kevin) Kim (Chair, International Arbitration Committee, KCAB; Head, International Arbitration & Litigation Practice Group, Bae, Kim & Lee LLC) was the moderator for the first panel session, which included panellists Mr Beomsu Kim (Managing Partner, KL Partners), Dr Eun Young Park (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Partner, Kim & Chang), Professor Lucy Reed, and Mr Paul Sandosham (Partner, Clifford Chance).

Some notable points included:

• Professor Lucy Reed, representing the ICC in this role-play, noted that with respect to making final decisions regarding consolidation and joinder, the ICC court was the main actor when there was a dispute, and not the tribunal;

• Mr Paul Sandosham, representing SIAC, noted that applications for joinder and consolidation could be made to the SIAC court or the tribunal, essentially providing applicants two separate opportunities to join a party or consolidate claims, thereby making SIAC’s rules an attractive choice;

• Dr Eun Young Park, representing the LCIA, noted that the power to join or consolidate lay with the tribunal, but that the power to approve lay with the LCIA court; and

• Mr Beomsu Kim, representing the KCAB, noted how the simpler and more straightforward KCAB rules, which implemented a joinder provision in 2016, only allowed for parties to the current arbitration to apply for joinder and not third parties such as in other jurisdictions.

The afternoon’s second panel session included younger attorneys from a broad spectrum of international arbitration practices in Asia. Ms Sae Youn Kim (Partner, Yulchon LLC), in moderating the panel, likened the experienced panellists of the first session to “generals” and the panellists of the second session to “soldiers” who executed the generals’ commands. The afternoon’s “soldiers” included Ms Dana Kim (Of Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP), Mr Sam Kim (Foreign Attorney, Yoon & Yang LLC), Ms Hyunyang Koo (Associate, Lee & Ko), Ms Seungmin Lee (Partner, Shin & Kim), and Mr Matthew Secomb (Partner, White & Case LLP).

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Left to Right: Matthew Secomb, Seungmin Lee,
Hyunyang Koo, Sae Youn Kim, Sam Kim and Dana Kim

Closing Remarks delivered by Kap-You (Kevin) Kim

The panellists of the second session shared their experiences in working with complicated arbitration cases, and the lessons that they had learned along the way. Mr Matthew Secomb described how some parties had used joinder and consolidation as tools for tactical advantages, and labelled parties who wanted to keep things simple as “angels”, and parties who sought to complicate matters as “devils”.

Mr Kap-You (Kevin) Kim brought the afternoon to a close, noting that with the number of multiparty international disputes growing in Korea, the timing of the seminar could not have been more opportune.

Press Releases

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