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Highlights


11 January 2021
SIAC Expands the SIAC Academy Curriculum and Launches the SIAC Academy Audit Panel


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre is pleased to announce the expansion of the SIAC Academy curriculum to enhance the range and quality of training programmes offered by SIAC.

The new courses to be launched this year include a Review of Key Arbitration-Related Decisions in 2020: Singapore and United Kingdom, foundational courses on Understanding the International Arbitration Legal Framework and a Practicum on Discovery and Document Production in International Arbitration, a ten-part series on Enforcement of Arbitral Awards in Asia: Theory & Practice, a Tribunal Secretary Training Course, as well as a Masterclass on Advocacy Training.

The SIAC Academy programme was officially launched in Singapore in 2017 by SIAC Chairman, Mr Davinder Singh, SC, to build on SIAC’s thought leadership standing through providing practical, skills-based arbitration training programmes.

A five-member SIAC Academy Audit Panel chaired by Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, will oversee the course planning for the SIAC Academy curriculum. The members of the SIAC Academy Audit Panel are:

1. Mr Gary Born – President, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
2. Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC – Deputy Chairman, SIAC Board of Directors; Senior Counsel and Arbitrator, Essex Court Chambers Duxton
3. Ms Lucy Reed – Vice President, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Independent Arbitrator, Arbitration Chambers
4. Dr Claudia Annacker – Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Partner, Dechert LLP
5. Prof Lawrence Boo – Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Independent Arbitrator, The Arbitration Chambers

Ms Michelle Chiam, SIAC’s Deputy Centre Director, is responsible for the design, development and conduct of the SIAC Academy programmes. Prior to joining SIAC in 2017, Ms Chiam practised as an international arbitration lawyer at two of Singapore’s “Big Four” law firms. Ms Chiam holds a LLM (Distinction) in International Legal Studies (Dean’s List) from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C., and a LLB (Second Upper Class Honours) from the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law.

Mr Davinder Singh, SC, Chairman of the SIAC Board of Directors, said, “SIAC will continue to train and nurture aspiring practitioners of international arbitration and help them acquire essential skills to further develop their careers as counsel and as arbitrators.”

Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, said, “SIAC’s track record in case administration over the last 30 years, including more than 1,000 cases in 2020, positions the institution ideally to provide premium quality arbitration training programmes. In 2021, SIAC will bring together the expertise of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, the SIAC Board of Directors and SIAC Users’ Councils to offer an exciting range of seminars and courses for the international arbitration community.”

For more information on the SIAC Academy 2021 curriculum, please click here


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg


SIAC Year in Review 2020

Happy New Year from all of us at SIAC and best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2021.

As we welcome the new year, we look back fondly at some of the key highlights of 2020.

1 Launch of SIAC Americas Office in New York, USA and Announcement of New Record Caseload

In early December 2020, SIAC announced the opening of the SIAC Americas representative office in New York, USA.

This is SIAC’s first representative office outside of Asia, and SIAC’s fifth overseas representative office.

The official launch of the SIAC Americas office was commemorated by a virtual launch ceremony which featured a keynote speech by Minister K Shanmugam, SC, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law of Singapore.

K Shanmugam
Minister K Shanmugam, SC
In his keynote speech at the launch ceremony, Minister Shanmugam announced that SIAC had set a new record in 2020, with 1005 new cases as of 30 October 2020, which included two sets of related cases. SIAC’s full caseload for 2020 will be announced sometime in the first half of 2021.

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Left to Right: Mr Davinder Singh, SC, and Mr Gary Born at the SIAC Americas virtual launch ceremony
As part of the official launch of the SIAC Americas office, three online panel sessions moderated by SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, were broadcasted, focusing on perspectives from the East Coast and West Coast of the USA, as well as Latin America.

The online panels featured arbitration luminaries, including SIAC Court Vice Presidents, Mr Cavinder Bull, SC, and Ms Lucy Reed, SIAC Court members, Ms Catherine Amirfar, Ms Julie Bédard, Mr Nigel Blackaby QC, and Ms Abby Cohen Smutny, as well as SIAC Deputy Chairman, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, and SIAC Board member, Mr Chong Yee Leong.

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Left to Right: Mr Cavinder Bull, SC, Ms Lucy Reed, Ms Catherine Amirfar, Ms Julie Bédard, Mr Nigel Blackaby QC, and Ms Abby Cohen Smutny at the SIAC Americas virtual launch
2 New SIAC Overseas Representatives for for Americas and China

In 2020, SIAC welcomed new overseas representatives for its New York and Shanghai offices.

Mr Zhang Cunyuan was appointed Chief Representative for China and Deputy Head (China). He oversees SIAC’s activities in China with the assistance of Ms Sophia Liu Jianying, Deputy Head (China).

Ms Adriana Uson was appointed Head (Americas) for the newly launched SIAC Americas office.

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Left to Right: Mr Zhang Cunyuan and Ms Adriana Uson
3 Promotions and New Hires in the SIAC Secretariat and Business Development Team

In 2020, SIAC strengthened its Secretariat workforce with two new Associate Counsel hires bringing the total number of lawyers in the Secretariat to fourteen. Our new colleagues are Ms Lynnette Lee and Mr Jayden Zhao, who are both qualified in Singapore.

SIAC Secretariat, Ms Lim Shi Jean, Ms Pauline Low, Mr Piyush Prasad, Mr Kendista Wantah, and Ms Angela Yap, were promoted to Counsel in the SIAC Secretariat in 2020, bringing the total number of Counsel in the Secretariat to seven.

Ms Mah Sue Ann and Ms Perry Wong, who are disputes lawyers qualified in Malaysia and Singapore respectively, joined the business development team at SIAC as Business Development Managers (Legal).

4 SIAC Virtual Congress 2020

In light of the pandemic, SIAC’s flagship event, the SIAC Congress, was held virtually in September 2020 and brought together distinguished members of the judiciary, the SIAC Board of Directors, the SIAC Court of Arbitration, and other leading international arbitration experts.

The SIAC Virtual Congress attracted over 1000 participants from 6 continents.

Special highlights of the Congress programme included a keynote speech by the Honourable the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Singapore, Mr Sundaresh Menon, on international arbitration and the rule of law, as well as a plenary session titled “International Arbitration: The Challenges and Changing Landscape”.

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The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon
The panellists for the plenary session were Chief Justice Menon, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Singapore, Mr Edwin Tong SC, the Honourable Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court, Justice Anselmo Reyes, SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, SIAC Court member, Prof Lawrence Boo, and Deputy Senior State Counsel, Attorney-General’s Chambers of Singapore, Ms Natalie Y. Morris-Sharma. SIAC Court member, Mr Toby Landau QC, moderated the session.

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Minister Edwin Tong SC
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The Honourable Justice Anselmo Reyes
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Left to Right: Prof Lawrence Boo, Mr Toby Landau QC, and Ms Natalie Y. Morris-Sharma at the SIAC Virtual Congress 2020
The plenary session was followed by a Lunchtime Chat, a Debate on whether virtual hearings are just as effective as in-person hearings, and a Virtual Hearing Demonstration.

5 SIAC Academy Goes Virtual

Both editions of the SIAC Academy were held virtually this year.

The first edition of the SIAC Academy, titled “Time and Cost Savers at SIAC: Emergency Arbitration, Expedited Procedure and Early Dismissal” was conducted for the SIAC Indochina Academy on 15-16 October 2020.

The teaching faculty was chaired by SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, and featured SIAC Court member, Ms K. Shanti Mogan, as well as leading arbitration practitioners and arbitrators from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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Ms K. Shanti Mogan, Mr Edmund J. Kronenburg, Mr Pisut Attakamol, Dr Hop Dang, Mr Minn Naing Oo, Mr K. Luan Tran, Ms Delphine Ho, and Mr Kevin Nash at the SIAC Indochina Academy
The second edition of the SIAC Academy, titled “The Making of an Advocate and an Arbitrator”, was conducted for the SIAC China Academy on 20-21 August 2020, the SIAC North East Asia Academy on 10-11 September 2020 and the SIAC South Asia Academy on 6-7 November 2020.

The teaching faculties were chaired by SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, and featured SIAC Board and Court members, YSIAC Committee members, as well as leading arbitration practitioners and arbitrators from those regions.

The SIAC Board and Court members who participated in the SIAC China Academy were Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Prof Lawrence Boo, Mr Cao Lijun, and Ms Jessica Fei.

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Left to Right: Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Mr Cao Lijun, Ms Jessica Fei, Dr Helena Chen, Dr Michael Hwang, SC, and Mr Thio Shen Yi, SC, at the SIAC China Academy
The SIAC Board and Court members who participated in the SIAC North East Asia Academy were Mr Chong Yee Leong, Mr John P. Bang, Dr Eun Young Park, Mr Toby Landau QC, Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka, and Mr Alan Thambiayah.

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Left to Right: Mr John P. Bang, Dr Eun Young Park, Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka, Mr Alan Thambiayah, Mr Chong Yee Leong, and Ms Yoshimi Ohara at the SIAC North East Asia Academy
The SIAC Court members who participated in the SIAC South Asia Academy were Prof Bernard Hanotiau, Mr Tejas Karia, Mr Darius J. Khambata, SC, and Ms Shaneen Parikh.

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Left to Right: The Honourable Justice A.K. Sikri (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India; International Judge, Singapore International Commercial Court), Prof Bernard Hanotiau, Mr Darius J. Khambata, SC, Mr Tejas Karia, Ms Shaneen Parikh and Mr Ajmalul Hossain QC at the SIAC South Asia Academy
6 “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” Module Goes Global

For the third year running, the “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” module was conducted at the National University of Singapore (NUS) law faculty in September.

For the first time, a joint edition of the SIAC module was conducted in China in collaboration with Fudan University Law School (Fudan)and East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL)in October.

The SIAC module was also conducted in India at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University of Law, Hyderabad in November.

Online editions of the modules were held in light of the pandemic and involved SIAC Board and Court members based in multiple time zones. The SIAC module introduced participants to the role and function of arbitral institutions in guiding and shaping the practice and development of international arbitration, and to the complex issues that arbitral institutions face in the administration of arbitrations, including, among others, the appointment of arbitrators and the issuance of arbitral rules and practice notes.

SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, was the course convenor for all three SIAC modules.

The lecturers for the module at NUS were SIAC Chairman, Mr Davinder Singh, SC, SIAC Deputy Chairman, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, SIAC Board member, Mr Chong Yee Leong, SIAC Court Vice President, Ms Lucy Reed, SIAC Court members, Dr Claudia Annacker and Prof Lawrence Boo, as well as the SIAC Secretariat.

The lecturers for the SIAC module at Fudan and ECUPL included SIAC Deputy Chairman, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, SIAC Board member, Mr David Liu Dali, SIAC Court members, Dr Claudia Annacker, Ms Julie Bédard, Prof Lawrence Boo and Mr Cao Lijun.

The lecturers for the SIAC module at NALSAR included SIAC Board member, Mr Chong Yee Leong, SIAC Court members, Dr Claudia Annacker, Prof Lawrence Boo, Mr Tejas Karia, Mr Darius J. Khambata, SC, and Ms Shaneen Parikh.

In addition to the SIAC module, guest lectures were also conducted remotely at ECUPL, Fudan, Gujarat National Law University, Keio University, Kyushu University, NALSAR, National Law School, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Thammasat University (TU), and Yonsei University.

7 SIAC International Arbitration Webinar Series and Partnerships

In April 2020, at the start of the circuit breaker in Singapore, SIAC launched the SIAC International Arbitration Webinar Series. 60 webinars have since been held in 2020.

These webinars include webinars on virtual hearings and related issues, webinars with the SIAC Secretariat on SIAC case administration during COVID-19, as well as topical legal issues.

In addition to the above webinar series, a number of joint webinars were held with the Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC), Beijing Arbitration Commission/Beijing International Arbitration Centre (BAC/BIAC), China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA),KCAB International, New York University School of Law, and New York International Arbitration Centre (NYIAC).

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Left to Right: Justice Francesco Cortesi (Judge, Italian Supreme Court), Mr Alvin Yeo, SC, Prof Gary F. Bell, Prof Franco Ferrari, Dr Friedrich Rosenfeld, and Prof Marco Torsello at the joint SIAC-NYU School of Law webinar titled, “CISG in International Arbitration”

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Left to Right: Mr Thomas R. Snider, Mr Reza Mohtashami QC, Prof Dr Nayla Comair-Obeid, Mr Adrian Tan, and Mr Ian de Vaz at the SIAC Middle East Webinar, “Post-COVID: The Future of International Arbitration”
SIAC also held a hybrid event with the Japan International Dispute Resolution Center (JIDRC) in December 2020 that offered participants the option to participate virtually or to attend physically at JIDRC’s premises in Tokyo.

Prior to the pandemic, in February 2020, SIAC held the SIAC-ADGM Arbitration Conference in Abu Dhabi.

These events and webinars featured members of the SIAC Board and Court, SIAC Secretariat, as well as other eminent international arbitration experts.

In 2020, SIAC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each of the Hainan International Arbitration Court (HIAC) and the Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC). MOUs were also signed with Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Law, Fudan, Keio University Law School and TU Faculty of Law.

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Left to Right: Mr Lin Ningbo, Mr Li Yongli, Mr Wang Xuelin, Mr Alex Fan, Dr Ellis See, and Ms Lim Seok Hui at the SIAC-HIAC Signing Ceremony
8 YSIAC Writing Competition, Workshops and Events

Instead of the annual essay competition, the inaugural YSIAC Writing Competition 2020 was held. This new format required participants to prepare written submissions for a mock arbitration. 84 entries from 25 jurisdictions were received.

The prize winners for Best Claimant, Mr Alvin Tan, and Best Respondent, Mr Choo Hao Ren, Lyndon, were given the opportunity to role play as mock counsel, and presented their winning submissions at a YSIAC webinar before a mock Tribunal, comprising SIAC Deputy Chairman, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, SIAC Court member, Ms Julie Bédard, and Mr Joaquin P. Terceño, Counsel, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Tokyo).

YSIAC also held various webinars under the banner of the SIAC International Arbitration Webinar Series. These webinars included a mock arbitration, a debate on whether artificial intelligence will eventually replace arbitral tribunals, and panel discussions. Panel session topics included “Professional Development and Building Your Brand in Uncertain Times”, and “On Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings”.

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Left to Right: The Honourable Justice Kumar Kamal (Acting Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Fiji), Ms Gloria Lim, Ms Christina Pak, Mr Jonathan Lim and Mr Paul Tan at the YSIAC Webinar titled “Capacity Building in International Arbitration: The South Pacific Experience”
Joint webinars were held with the Equal Representation in Arbitration (ERA) group, Japan In-House Lawyers Association (JILA), Young ICSID, and the Young Quantity Surveyor (YQS) of the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) Quantity Surveyor Division.

In February 2020, the YSIAC-ADGM Advocacy Workshop was held in-person in Abu Dhabi, and featured a mock cross-examination of witnesses.
We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to members of the SIAC Board, SIAC 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 invaluable contributions and continued support.

With best regards,
The SIAC Team

3 December 2020
SIAC Opens Office in New York and Announces New Record Caseload


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre is pleased to announce the opening of a representative office in New York, USA.

The launch of the New York office, SIAC’s first representative office outside of Asia, is an important milestone in the institution’s global growth. US parties are consistently among the top foreign users of SIAC, and in 2018, they topped the foreign user rankings. In 2020 alone, over 500 US parties have arbitrated under SIAC’s Rules.

The opening of SIAC’s New York office underpins the steady rise in popularity of SIAC among users from the United States. It will serve as a springboard to further promote SIAC’s world-class dispute resolution services and foster deeper ties with users in the Americas, who will benefit from real-time access to SIAC.

In his keynote speech at the launch ceremony, Minister K Shanmugam, SC, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, Singapore, congratulated SIAC on the launch of its New York office, and announced that SIAC had set a new record this year, with 1005 new cases as of 30 October 2020, which included two sets of related cases.

This is the first time SIAC’s caseload has crossed the 1000-case threshold.

The New York office will be led by Ms Adriana Uson as its Head (Americas). Ms Uson brings a unique perspective to this role, having worked for several years as Counsel in the SIAC Secretariat, practised as an international arbitration lawyer at a top global firm, and served as sole arbitrator in administered cases.

Mr Davinder Singh, SC, Chairman of the SIAC Board of Directors, welcomed this exciting new development, “For a long time now, SIAC has been very conscious of the importance and weight of the Americas in international arbitration. That New York will be our first representative office outside of Asia is an acknowledgement that the Americas will be shaping much of the future of international arbitration. The opening of our New York office is our way of showing our many friends and supporters in the Americas that they matter to us.”

Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, said, “SIAC has recorded consistently strong growth in recent years, and already received over 1000 requests for arbitration this year. This is a record for SIAC and puts its international administered caseload among the highest in the world. The opening of SIAC’s representative office in New York is the beginning of a long-term collaboration and cooperation with our US users, to provide an expert, experienced and efficient means of resolving international disputes for US businesses. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the US and Latin America.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “This is a special moment in SIAC’s history. The opening of our New York office, coupled with the crossing of the symbolic 1000-case threshold and a record number of US parties at SIAC, will firmly motivate us to do better. We thank our users from all over the world for the trust they have placed, and continue to place, in us.”

This will be the fifth overseas office for SIAC, which also has overseas offices in India, South Korea and China.

SIAC will commemorate the official launch of its New York office with a virtual launch ceremony and a series of online programmes to be held from 2 to 4 December 2020. More information is available here

For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg


Official Launch of SIAC Americas

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Register here
For more information: Click here.

30 November 2020
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Hainan International Arbitration Court


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Hainan International Arbitration Court (HIAC) to promote international arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution for resolving international disputes.

The MOU was signed in a virtual signing ceremony on 30 November 2020, by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Mr Wang Xuelin, Chairman of HIAC. The signing was witnessed by Dr Ellis See, Second Director, Legal Industry Division, Ministry of Law, Singapore, and Mr Li Yongli, Secretary of CPC Committee, Justice Department of Hainan Province, China.

Under the MOU, SIAC and HIAC will work together to jointly promote international arbitration to serve the needs of businesses. SIAC and HIAC will co-organise conferences, seminars and workshops on international arbitration in China and Singapore, and will invite key members of their local arbitration community to attend and participate in major events organised by SIAC in Hainan or by HIAC in Singapore.

Both institutions will, upon request and where appropriate, provide recommendations of arbitrators to each other, and will, upon request, conduct training programmes for each other’s staff.

Mr Wang Xuelin, Chairman of HIAC, said, “Singapore and Hainan are both free trade ports. We are confident that this MOU will provide a springboard for both institutions to jointly develop ‘best-in-class’ dispute resolution services in response to the evolving needs of users in China and other Belt & Road economies.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, commented, “We are delighted to be entering into this MOU with HIAC, and look forward to working closely together to jointly promote international arbitration as the preferred dispute resolution mechanism for cross-border commercial and investment disputes.”

Please click here for Chinese translation.


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg



15-16 October 2020
SIAC Indochina Academy


SIAC held the SIAC Indochina Academy (Virtual Edition) titled "Time and Cost Savers at SIAC: Emergency Arbitration, Expedited Procedure and Early Dismissal" on 15-16 October 2020.

The Academy provided practical, "hands-on" training for arbitration practitioners and arbitrators in a virtual setting. The teaching faculty was chaired by Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration and included other leading international arbitration practitioners and arbitrators, as well as members of the SIAC Secretariat.

The Academy attracted a good turnout from Singapore as well as overseas delegates from Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Switzerland, Thailand and Vietnam.

The various reports on the SIAC Indochina Academy can be accessed here.
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28 September 2020
COVID-19 MEASURES AT SIAC (COMMENCING 5 OCTOBER 2020)

The Singapore government has recently released guidelines stating that while telecommuting remains the default mode of working, COVID-19 measures have been eased to facilitate business operations, which will enable more employees to return to the workplace.

In compliance with these guidelines, and to better serve the needs of its users, SIAC is pleased to announce that with effect from Monday, 5 October 2020 and until further notice, SIAC’s physical offices will be open three times a week, from 10am to 4pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, to facilitate the delivery, where necessary, of physical copies of documents or facsimiles. Should it be necessary for physical copies to be sent to us, please make arrangements for delivery to be made during SIAC’s office hours as stated above.

In the event of any urgent deliveries on a day that SIAC’s physical offices are not open, please call us at +65 6713 9777 and we will arrange for an SIAC staff to be available to take delivery at an appointed time.

Until SIAC’s physical offices fully reopen and while the majority of SIAC staff continue to telecommute, we respectfully request that all communications with SIAC continue to be conducted on email or other means, where possible, in the following manner:

Please direct all queries relating to case administration to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Any queries relating to an existing case should be directed to the relevant SIAC Case Counsel. Please refer to the list of Frequently Asked Questions concerning SIAC case administration during COVID-19, which is available on our website at this link.

All other queries should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In the event that you have a time-sensitive query which requires an urgent response, please call +65 6713 9777, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or use the Live Help Desk feature on the SIAC website.

It remains our top priority to ensure that your case management needs are promptly and efficiently attended to at all times.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The SIAC Team

Please click here for the Chinese translation.


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg

10-11 September 2020
North East Asia Academy


SIAC held the SIAC North East Asia Academy (Virtual Edition) titled "The Making of an Advocate and an Arbitrator" on 10-11 September 2020.

The Academy provided practical, "hands-on" training on advocacy and arbitrator training for the budding arbitration counsel and the aspiring arbitrator in a virtual setting. The training faculty was chaired by Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration and featured members of the SIAC Board and Court of Arbitration, and other leading international arbitration experts.

The Academy attracted a good turnout from Singapore as well as overseas delegates from Barbados, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, South Korea and United States.

The various reports on the SIAC North East Asia Academy can be accessed here.

9 September 2020
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Thailand Arbitration Center


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC) to promote international arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution for resolving international disputes.

Under the MOU, SIAC and THAC will co-organise conferences, seminars and workshops on international arbitration in Thailand and Singapore. Pursuant to the MOU, THAC will also extend the use of its hearing facilities at preferential rates for SIAC arbitrations that are held in Thailand.

The MOU was signed by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Mr Pasit Asawawattanaporn, Managing Director of Thailand Arbitration Center.

Mr Pasit Asawawattanaporn, Managing Director of Thailand Arbitration Center, said, “We are proud and honored to sign the MOU with SIAC. The synergy between our arbitration centers will bring about the development of international arbitration in both countries to a higher level.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, commented that “We are delighted to be entering into this collaboration with THAC. This MOU represents a significant step in furtherance of our mutual objective to jointly promote the development of international arbitration to the Thai legal and business communities.”


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg

2 September 2020
SIAC Virtual Congress 2020


This year's Virtual Congress opened with a keynote speech by the Honourable the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Singapore Sundaresh Menon, followed by a plenary session titled "International Arbitration: The Challenges and Changing Landscape". The panellists were Chief Justice Menon, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law, Mr Edwin Tong SC, the Honourable Justice Anselmo Reyes, Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC), the President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, Mr Gary Born, SIAC Court member, Professor Lawrence Boo, and Deputy Senior State Counsel, Attorney-General's Chambers, Singapore, Ms Natalie Y. Morris-Sharma. The moderator of the plenary session was Mr Toby Landau QC.

The other sessions comprised a Lunchtime Chat, a Debate, and a Virtual Hearing Demonstration featuring SIAC Board and Court members, as well as other eminent international arbitration experts. The day closed with Virtual Networking Drinks.

SIAC would like to thank all speakers, sponsors, supporting organisations and media partners for your generous support and contributions. We would also like to thank delegates and friends from the local and international arbitration communities for making the time and effort to participate in the Virtual Congress.

The full text of Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon's keynote speech may be found here.

The various reports on the SIAC Virtual Congress 2020 can be accessed here.

31 August 2020
Release of the SIAC Guides - Taking Your Arbitration Remote


Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the release of SIAC Guides, a series of user-friendly tools created by the SIAC Secretariat to assist SIAC’s users, arbitrators, colleagues and stakeholders to conduct their arbitration cases.

The first of the SIAC Guides series seeks to help users effectively navigate the use of audio conference, videoconference, and other non-physical means of communications in their arbitration cases. While the use of virtual hearing technologies and remote hearing platforms has always been a feature of international arbitration, the Covid-19 pandemic has exponentially increased the scale at which they are used. It is timelier than ever, therefore, to consider the transition from traditional physical hearings to remote hearings, which is not always straightforward. Presented in the form of checklists, Taking Your Arbitration Remote not only provides guidance for arbitration users who are unfamiliar with remote hearings, but also serves as a handy reminder for those who already have prior experience with such hearings.

We recognise that the manner of conducting remote hearings may vary depending on the type of dispute and the preferences of the participants. Taking Your Arbitration Remote is designed to help parties identify the main considerations that could impact the adoption of remote hearing technologies, and encourage discussions between parties and tribunals on the most suitable procedure for their specific case.

Remote hearing technologies, if utilised appropriately, can facilitate the resolution of parties’ disputes in a fair, expeditious and economical manner.

Thank you for your continued trust in us as we strive to innovate in the field of international arbitration, and to better serve the arbitration community as a whole.


Yours sincerely,

Gary Born
President of the Court of Arbitration
Singapore International Arbitration Centre

20-21 August 2020
SIAC China Academy


SIAC held the SIAC China Academy (Virtual Edition) titled "The Making of an Advocate and an Arbitrator" on 20-21 August 2020.

The Academy provided practical, "hands-on" training on advocacy and arbitrator training for the budding arbitration counsel and the aspiring arbitrator in a virtual setting. The training faculty was chaired by Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration and featured members of the SIAC Board and Court of Arbitration, and other leading international arbitration experts.

The Academy attracted a good turnout from Singapore as well as overseas delegates from China, Greece, India, Italy, Philippines and Vietnam.

The various reports on the SIAC China Academy can be accessed here.

8 July 2020
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Thammasat University Faculty of Law


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Thammasat University Faculty of Law (TU Law).

Under the MOU, SIAC and TU Law will work together to place law students from TU Law in internships at SIAC. In addition, SIAC and TU Law will collaborate to incorporate a module on “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” into the TU law programme. Upon request by SIAC or TU Law, both parties will also conduct joint training programmes, seminars, workshops or other events in Thailand to promote the development and practice of international arbitration.

The MOU was signed on 8 July 2020 by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Associate Professor Dr. Munin Pongsapan, Dean of TU Law.

Associate Professor Dr. Munin Pongsapan, Dean of TU Law, said, “We are delighted to be entering into this MOU with SIAC, one of the world’s top arbitral institutions. We firmly believe that this collaboration will serve to cultivate and enhance the growing popularity of international arbitration as an effective dispute resolution mechanism among future generations of Thai lawyers.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “Thai parties are valued top foreign users of SIAC. We look forward to working closely with TU Law, a premier Thai academic institution, to jointly promote the benefits of institutional arbitration to the Thai arbitration community.”


For more information, please contact:

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7 July 2020
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 businesses, financial institutions and governments that use SIAC. SIAC plans to release the seventh edition of the SIAC Arbitration Rules in the third quarter of 2021.

The SIAC Rules were last revised in 2016. Key highlights of the 2016 revisions included the introduction of additional time and cost-saving mechanisms such as consolidation, multiple contracts, and joinder of additional parties, as well as an innovative procedure for the early dismissal of claims and defences. The 2016 revisions also saw the delocalisation of the seat of arbitration and practical enhancements to the popular Expedited Procedure and Emergency Arbitration provisions. During the 2016 public consultation process, SIAC received nearly 1,000 comments from arbitration stakeholders located around the world.

The upcoming seventh edition of the SIAC Rules will introduce state-of-the-art revisions to better cater to the evolving needs and profiles of SIAC users. To this end, the SIAC Court of Arbitration has established a Rules Revision Executive Committee and Subcommittees on (i) Multiple Contracts, Consolidation, and Joinder; (ii) Expedited Procedure and Emergency Arbitration; (iii) Appointment and Challenges; (iv) Arbitral Procedure and Powers of the Tribunal (including Early Dismissal); (v) New Technology and New Procedures; and (vi) Drafting. The new edition of the SIAC Rules will be jointly produced by the SIAC Court of Arbitration and the SIAC Secretariat.

Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, said, “SIAC’s Arbitration Rules are the most progressive and user-friendly in the world. The Rules revision process will ensure that SIAC remains at the forefront of developments in the law and practice of international arbitration. We will be consulting widely with SIAC users, arbitration practitioners and arbitrators during the Rules revision. We also invite comments from all those interested in SIAC’s work.”

For ease of marking up comments, a word copy of the SIAC Rules 2016 may be downloaded from this link. Comments on the SIAC Rules or case administration processes can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
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1 July 2020
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Fudan University Law School


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Fudan University Law School (FLS).

Under the MOU, SIAC and FLS will work together to place law students from FLS in internships at SIAC. In addition, SIAC and FLS will collaborate to incorporate a module on “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” into the FLS law programme. Upon request by SIAC or FLS, both parties will also conduct joint training programmes, seminars, workshops or other events in China to promote the development and practice of international arbitration.

The MOU was entered into on 1 July 2020, and was signed by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Professor Wang Zhiqiang, Dean of FLS.

Professor Wang Zhiqiang, Dean of FLS, said, “It is our great honour and pleasure to partner with SIAC, one of the leading arbitral institutions in the world, to bring top international arbitration practitioners and arbitrators to FLS. Our students will benefit tremendously from the innovative module on ‘SIAC and Institutional Arbitration’. We are keen to expand internship opportunities for our students at prestigious arbitral institutions like SIAC. We look forward to our collaboration, and will do our best to implement this MOU.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “We are honoured and delighted to be entering into this collaboration with FLS, one of China’s most prestigious academic institutions. It will provide a first-rate platform for students at FLS to gain a unique perspective of institutional arbitration from eminent international arbitration experts.”

Please click here for the Chinese translation.


For more information, please contact:

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12 May 2020
SIAC Announces the Appointment of New Chief Representative (China)


img-CunyuanZhang

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that Mr Zhang Cunyuan has been appointed to the position of Chief Representative for China and Deputy Head (China). Cunyuan succeeds Mr Liu Rundong who has left to pursue other career opportunities.

As Chief Representative for China and Deputy Head (China), Cunyuan will be based in Shanghai, China, and will oversee SIAC’s activities in China with the assistance of Ms Sophia Liu Jianying, Deputy Head (China).

Prior to joining SIAC, Cunyuan worked in the dispute resolution department of a leading law firm in China, with a focus on arbitration. Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “We are delighted to welcome Cunyuan to the SIAC team. His arbitration experience and understanding of the Chinese market put him in a very unique position as he works closely with key partners and stakeholders in the Chinese legal and business communities to jointly promote the development of international arbitration in China.”

Please click here for the Chinese translation.


For more information, please contact:

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8 April 2020
SIAC Sets a New Record in 2019


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce the official release of its 2019 Annual Report.

2019 saw SIAC set a new record with 479 new case filings. Of the 479 cases, 454 (95%) were cases administered by SIAC, which is also an all-time record. The remaining 25 (5%) cases were ad hoc appointments. This is the third consecutive year that SIAC’s caseload has exceeded 400.

SIAC’s total sum in dispute for 2019 was USD 8.09 billion (SGD 10.91 billion) which was a 14.6% increase from 2018.

Parties from 59 jurisdictions chose to arbitrate at SIAC in 2019. While India, China and USA retained their top foreign user rankings, other significant contributors to SIAC’s caseload included new entrants from Brunei, the Philippines and Thailand, as well as parties from Switzerland, UAE and UK, which is testament to SIAC’s global appeal to users from diverse legal systems and cultures.

Mr Gary Born, President of the Court of Arbitration of SIAC, commented: “2019 was another banner year for SIAC. The number of SIAC arbitrations increased, with strong growth from all regions of the world, and parties, counsel and arbitrators reporting deep satisfaction in the quality of SIAC’s services. We look forward, despite the challenges, to another record year in 2020.”

Mr Davinder Singh, SC, Chairman of SIAC, said: “We are delighted that so many from around the world have placed their trust in us. We remain committed to ensure that SIAC will provide the best service ever in this field.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said: “We are deeply grateful to our users from all over the world for entrusting SIAC with the resolution of their disputes. This will firmly motivate us to do better.”


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
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W: www.siac.org.sg

5 February 2020
SIAC-ADGM Arbitration Conference 2020
By Ivy Rook, Associate, International Arbitration, Shearman & Sterling LLP, Abu Dhabi


SIAC’s first event in the UAE, titled “Effective Management of International Arbitration Proceedings in the UAE and Singapore: Techniques, Tips and Strategies to Save Time and Costs’’ was held on 5 February 2020 at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Auditorium.

Ms Linda Fitz-Alan (Registrar and Chief Executive, ADGM Court) opened the event with a Welcome Address observing the commonalities between the UAE and Singapore, as well as ADGM and SIAC. Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC) delivered the Opening Address highlighting that the UAE has consistently been in SIAC’s top 10 foreign user rankings in the last few years. She set the stage for the discussions to come by describing SIAC’s leadership in procedural tools such as emergency arbitration and fast-track arbitration.

Mr Gary Born (President, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP) delivered the Keynote Address titled “International Arbitration: Past, Present and Future” detailing the history of international arbitration. He traced the unexpected origins of arbitration, describing an example of an ancient commercial arbitration in what is now Iraq, and a state-to-state arbitration concerning a disputed border. Ancient Greek states, too, resolved territorial disputes, such as those over ownership of islands and temples, through an early form of arbitration. Medieval Europe also employed a form of commercial arbitration to resolve disputes between merchants, with some English trade guilds even including arbitration in their by-laws. Even the United States embraced arbitration from its birth, with the first version of the Constitution including an arbitration mechanism to resolve disputes between the states. By the late 19th century, Mr Born explained, the recognition of arbitration was increasing, with law professor Elihu Root winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his championship of International Arbitration, and the 1872 ‘Alabama Arbitration’ between the UK and the US. Turning briefly to the present state of international arbitration, Mr Born cautioned that practitioners need to think about the growing hostility to international arbitration, particularly amongst states.

_MG_4018 _MG_3870
Left to Right: Lim Seok Hui and Linda Fitz-Alan

Left to Right: Dr Kabir Duggal, Wendy Lin, Alec Emmerson, Sapna Jhangiani QC and Alex Bevan during Panel Session 1


Panel Session 1: Tactical Considerations for Commencing an Arbitration

The first panel included a lively discussion and, at times, a debate about the procedural steps and strategic considerations in commencing an arbitration. Ms Sapna Jhangiani QC (Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore) explained that the purpose of the notice directed the form of your notice of arbitration. If you simply wished to trigger arbitration, it could be a basic document without much details. However, if you wanted to settle, a detailed notice could help provoke this. Following this line of thought, Mr Alex Bevan (Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP) also described the decision-making process employed in determining whether a request for arbitration should be treated as merely an administrative exercise or a piece of written advocacy. Ms Wendy Lin (Co-Chair, YSIAC Committee; Partner, WongPartnership LLP) stressed that consideration should be given to how much detail needed to go into a notice or request. Ms Lin and Dr Kabir Duggal (Senior Associate, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer) then discussed preparations for arbitration. They noted the importance of verifying the facts and requesting all correspondence, including WhatsApp from your client.

The moderator, Mr Alec Emmerson (Arbitrator, ADR Management Consultancies, Dubai) prompted a lively discussion about the selection and appointment of arbitrators, with Dr Duggal noting the clash between the institutional requirement that arbitrators must be independent and impartial and the client perspective. Mr Bevan noted that there was limited hard data available for practitioners to research potential arbitrators before proposing candidates to their client. Mr Bevan went on to describe the SIAC-SIMC Arb-Med-Arb Protocol (Protocol), which he considered an interesting innovation. He noted that the Protocol proposed the use of mediation at an interesting time, which was once the initial pleadings had been served and the tribunal had been constituted. This was likely to be more useful in practice than what was often seen in multi-tiered arbitration agreements which provide mediation as a mandatory pre-arbitral step, and sometimes functioned as a mere formality. Dr Duggal and Mr Bevan closed the first panel by describing the efficiency of prima facie jurisdictional objections prior to the constitution of an arbitral tribunal.

_MG_3943 _MG_3973
Left to Right: Kelvin Kek, Khurram Khan, Thomas R. Snider, Anne K. Hoffmann and Yu-Jin Tay during Panel Session 2

Left to Right: Michael Black QC, Scott Vesel, Gary Born, Mahesh Rai and Aloke Ray QC during Panel Session 3


Panel Session 2: Saving Time and Costs under the SIAC Rules (Expedited Procedure, Emergency Arbitrator, Early Dismissal)

In the spirit of the session, the speakers kept their remarks efficient. Mr Kelvin Kek (Partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP) began the session by describing the role of emergency arbitrators under the International Arbitration Act. Mr Khurram Khan (Legal Director, Addleshaw Goddard (Middle East) LLP) then gave an overview of Expedited Procedure, noting that most arbitrations now have some form of this fast-track path. Ms Anne K. Hoffman (Independent Arbitrator, Hoffman Arbitration LLC, UAE) introduced the topic of Early Dismissal of claims, noting that SIAC introduced it in its SIAC Rules 2016. She highlighted what she called ‘due process paranoia’, and the idea that if Early Dismissal procedure did not work, it might instead simply function as an additional procedural step that lengthened the arbitral proceedings.

Mr Yu-Jin Tay (Partner & Head, International Arbitration (Asia), Mayer Brown LLP) focused on Expedited Procedure, noting that while the urgency threshold for fast-tracking an arbitration was generally lower than that for getting an emergency arbitrator, the threshold was nevertheless ‘exceptional urgency’. He focused on the meaning of ‘exceptional urgency’, urging lawyers to not oversell the likelihood to clients of meeting this high bar. Mr Thomas R. Snider (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Partner, Head of Arbitration, Al Tamimi & Company) noted in particular a problem in the region in which Respondents refused to pay their share of the costs.

Panel Session 3: Comparative Perspectives on International Arbitration in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore

Mr Gary Born moderated the session and embracing the spirit of an event titled ‘Effective Management’, kept the session efficient. Mr Michael Black QC (XXIV Old Buildings Barristers’ Chambers) began the session by discussing the arbitration landscape in the UAE, which he summarised in the ‘list of three: enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.” He noted the legal particularities of the UAE being one single country with three legal systems: the offshore DIFC and ADGM common law systems, as well as the onshore federal civil law system, not to mention the individual legal systems of each individual emirate. He highlighted that a new law had shifted the UAE into a much more pro-arbitration stance.

Mr Scott Vesel (Partner, Three Crowns LLP) presented on ‘Arbitration in Singapore in the UAE: who arbitrates, who uses, and why’. He broke down the national origin in arbitrator appointments and claimants in SIAC as compared to UAE’s arbitral institutions, emphasising how striking it was how prominent a single geographic region’s representation was (Singapore and the UK in Singapore, and the Middle East in the UAE) in each institution. Mr Mahesh Rai (Director (Dispute Resolution), Drew & Napier LLC) spoke about three key priorities in arbitration: “Cheap, Fast, and Good.” He briefly spoke about the expedited procedure and emergency arbitrators, and highlighted that SIAC was one of the first institutions to put its cost calculator online. Mr Aloke Ray QC (Partner, White & Case LLP, London) emphasised that ultimately enforcement is a critical issue, and that Singapore is one of the leading global arbitration seats.

Mr Snider gave the Closing Remarks, re-emphasising the relationship between the UAE and SIAC, and echoing the excitement of many in the room about the first significant SIAC conference in the Middle East.

5 February 2020
YSIAC-ADGM Advocacy Workshop 2020
By Catalina Bizic, Arbitration Intern, Al Tamimi & Company


The YSIAC-ADGM Advocacy Workshop took place on 5 February 2020 in Abu Dhabi at the ADGM Arbitration Centre to put into practical perspective both the art of oral advocacy and essential skills for a successful cross-examination. Over 70 people attended the workshop which was followed by the SIAC-ADGM Arbitration Conference.

The host for the workshop was Ms Khushboo Shahdadpuri (Member, YSIAC Committee; Senior Associate, Al Tamimi & Company), who introduced the speakers, starting with Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC). Ms Lim highlighted that UAE parties had ranked 5th in the top 10 foreign users of SIAC in 2019, and pointed out the benefits of joining the YSIAC network of talented practitioners from around the world.

The Keynote Address was delivered by Mr Gary Born (President, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP) who switched the initial topic requested by YSIAC on “The Art of Oral Advocacy” to “The Myth of Pathological Clauses: Perfecting Imperfect Arbitration Agreements” because without consent or a valid arbitration agreement, there would be no arbitration and therefore no oral advocacy. The main takeaway suggested by Mr Born was that imperfect arbitration agreements deserve to be cured and perfected and not abandoned in a “dark museum” of pathological clauses.

DSC06366
Left to Right: Fatima Balfaqeeh, Anne K. Hoffmann, Lim Seok Hui, Gary Born, Thomas R. Snider, Iryna Akulenka, Wendy Lin, Thanos Karvelis, David Hume, Richard Clarke, Yu-Jin Tay and Khushboo Shahdadpuri


Ms Shahdadpuri thereafter introduced the case scenario and the structure of the workshop, which featured Ms Anne K. Hoffmann (Independent Arbitrator, Hoffmann Arbitration LLC, UAE), Mr Thomas R. Snider (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Partner, Head of Arbitration, Al Tamimi & Company) and Mr Yu-Jin Tay (Partner & Head, International Arbitration (Asia), Mayer Brown LLP) as the arbitral tribunal.

The fictional case involved a dispute arising out of a contract for the construction of a nuclear power plant between a UK and an Iraqi party. The dispute resolution clause provided for arbitration in Abu Dhabi under the SIAC Rules. An alleged delay of the completion of the works prompted the Iraqi company to seek damages for the delay and rescission of the contract and the UK company to bring forth a counterclaim for the non-payment of certain sums.

For the first cross-examination session, the Claimant’s witnesses were Ms Iryna Akulenka (Managing Consultant, HKA Global Limited) and Mr Richard Clarke (Senior Associate, Dentons & Co.). They were cross-examined by the Respondent’s counsel, Ms Wendy Lin (Co-Chair, YSIAC Committee; Partner, WongPartnership LLP) and Mr David Hume (Senior Associate, Shearman & Sterling LLP). The session showcased one incisive style of cross-examination as opposed to a more gentle style, both nonetheless effective in making the witness appear less credible and reliable.

The second cross-examination session had the Claimant’s counsel cross-examining the Respondent’s factual witnesses. Mr Daniel Xu (Partner, King & Wood Mallesons) and Mr Thanos Karvelis (Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys) posed questions to Mr Marcus Starke (Senior Associate, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP) and Ms Fatima Balfaqeeh (Managing Director, RKAH Consultancy). Both styles of cross-examination had different effects on the witnesses, which either found them standing on shaky ground or growing more confident with each question.

Lastly, Ms Sarah Malik (CEO & Founder, SOL International) moderated the panel discussion with Ms Hoffmann, Mr Snider and Mr Tay on dos and don’ts during a cross examination based on the mock sessions. One of the key points emphasised was how crucial preparation is to ensure knowledge of the case and of the witness but still leave room for flexibility. The panel also tackled the different expectations when cross-examining lay witnesses compared to expert witnesses, as well as the civil law and common law divide. On the latter point, it was highlighted that arbitration is unique in that there is a melting pot of styles, where the civil versus common law divide is attenuated and that practitioners should adopt whatever method comes to them naturally so that they become more authentic advocates.

Following this well-received inaugural YSIAC event, we look forward to other practical workshops organised by YSIAC here in the UAE.

17 January 2020
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Law


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Law (Chula Law).

Under the MOU, SIAC and Chula Law will work together to place law students from Chula in internships at SIAC. In addition, SIAC and Chula Law will collaborate to incorporate a module on “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” into the Chula law programme. Upon request by SIAC or Chula Law, both parties will also conduct joint training programmes, seminars, workshops or other events in Thailand to promote the development and practice of international arbitration.

The MOU was signed on 16 January 2020 in Bangkok by Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, and Assistant Professor Dr. Pareena Srivanit, Dean of Chula Law.

Assistant Professor Dr. Pareena Srivanit, Dean of Chula Law, said, “With the wealth of knowledge that SIAC has built up in case administration of international arbitration cases, we believe this MOU for internships at SIAC and the conduct of the “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” module at Chula Law, will provide a unique opportunity for our students to learn from one of the world’s top arbitral institutions and internationally renowned arbitration experts.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “SIAC is honoured and delighted to be entering into this MOU with Chula Law, a premier Thai academic institution. We look forward to working closely to promote the benefits of institutional arbitration to existing and potential users in the Thai arbitration community.”


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
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6 January 2020
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Keio University Law School


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Keio University Law School (KEIO LAW).

Under the MOU, SIAC and KEIO LAW will work together to place law students from KEIO LAW in internships at SIAC. In addition, SIAC and KEIO LAW will collaborate to incorporate a module on "SIAC and Institutional Arbitration" into the KEIO LAW teaching programme. Upon request by SIAC or KEIO LAW, both parties will also conduct joint training programmes, seminars, workshops or other events in Japan to promote the development and practice of international arbitration.

The MOU was signed on 6 January 2020, by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Mr Isao Kitai, Dean of KEIO LAW.

Mr Isao Kitai, Dean of KEIO LAW, said, "KEIO LAW looks forward to launching the inaugural edition of the SIAC Module in April this year as a first step in our MOU collaboration with SIAC, one of the world's top arbitral institutions. We are confident that the SIAC Module, coupled with the internship programme, will provide an excellent platform for students at KEIO LAW to gain a unique firsthand perspective of institutional arbitration from eminent international arbitration experts."

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, "We are honoured and delighted to be entering into this MOU with KEIO LAW, a premier Japanese academic institution. We firmly believe that this partnership will enable SIAC to contribute further towards the development of international arbitration in Japan and enhance our relationships with our valued Japanese users."


For more information, please contact:

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SIAC Year in Review 2019


Happy New Year from all of us at SIAC and best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2020.

As we usher in the new year, we look back fondly at some of the key highlights of 2019.

1 New SIAC Court Members

1.img-John_Bang2.img-Yas_Banifatemi3.img-Julie_Bedard4.img-Minh_Dang5.img-Jessica_Fei6.img-Eri_Hertiawan7.img-Tejas_Karia
Left to right: Mr John P. Bang, Ms Yas Banifatemi, Ms Julie Bedard, Mr K. Minh Dang, Ms Jessica Fei, Mr Eri Hertiawan and Mr Tejas Karia

8.img-Fernando9.img-Shanti_Mogan10.img-Shaneen_Parikh11.img-Philippe_Pinsolle12.img-Michael_Schneider13.img-Abby_Cohen14.img-Thomas_Snider
Left to right: Mr Fernando Mantilla-Serrano, Ms K. Shanti Mogan, Ms Shaneen Parikh, Mr Philippe Pinsolle, Mr Michael E. Schneider, Ms Abby Cohen Smutny and Mr Thomas Snider

In June 2019, SIAC was pleased to announce the appointment of fourteen new Court members to the SIAC Court of Arbitration, which continues under the leadership of Mr Gary Born as its President, and Ms Lucy Reed and Mr Cavinder Bull, SC, as Vice Presidents.

The new Court members are as follows:

Name Law Firm / Chambers
1 Mr John P. Bang Bae, Kim & Lee LLC, South Korea
2 Ms Yas Banifatemi Shearman & Sterling, France
3 Ms Julie Bedard Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates, USA
4 Mr K. Minh Dang YKVN, Vietnam
5 Ms Jessica Fei King & Wood Mallesons, China
6 Mr Eri Hertiawan Assegaf Hamzah & Partners, Indonesia
7 Mr Tejas Karia Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co., India
8 Mr Fernando Mantilla-Serrano Latham & Watkins LLP, France
9 Ms K. Shanti Mogan Shearn Delamore & Co., Malaysia
10 Ms Shaneen Parikh Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, India
11 Mr Philippe Pinsolle Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Switzerland
12 Mr Michael E. Schneider Lalive, Switzerland
13 Ms Abby Cohen Smutny White & Case LLP, USA
14 Mr Thomas Snider Al Tamimi & Co., UAE

The 33-member SIAC Court is comprised of eminent international arbitration experts from Australia, Belgium, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America and Vietnam.

2 New SIAC Overseas Representatives for South Asia, North East Asia and China

In 2019, SIAC welcomed new overseas representatives to its Mumbai, Seoul and Shanghai offices.

15.Shwetha16.Michele17.WeChat
Ms Shwetha Bidhuri, Ms Michele Park Sonen, Ms Sophia Liu Jianying

The new overseas representatives are Ms Shwetha Bidhuri, Head (South Asia), Ms Michele Park Sonen, Head (North East Asia), and Ms Sophia Liu Jianying, Co-Deputy Head (China).

3 The SIAC Academy

Following the success of the first edition of the SIAC Academy titled “Time and Cost Savers at SIAC: Emergency Arbitration, Expedited Procedure and Early Dismissal”, the second edition of the SIAC Academy titled “The Making of an Advocate and an Arbitrator” was held in Singapore on 18 and 19 November 2019.

18.Academy 19.Academy
Left to Right: Mr Gary Born, Prof Bernard Hanotiau,
Mr Daryl Chew and Mr Alastair Henderson at the
SIAC Academy in Singapore

Left to Right: Ms Loh Jen Wei, Mr Jonathan Lim,
Prof Lucy Reed and Mr Alan Thambiayah at the SIAC Academy in Singapore

Mr Gary Born, SIAC Court President, chaired the teaching faculty which included Prof Lucy Reed, SIAC Court Vice President, members of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, Prof Bernard Hanotiau and Mr Alan Thambiayah, Mr Chong Yee Leong, SIAC Board member as well as other leading international arbitration practitioners and arbitrators.

The first edition of the SIAC Academy was held overseas in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila in 2019, with Mr Cavinder Bull, SC, SIAC Court Vice President, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Deputy Chairman of SIAC, and Mr Alan Thambiayah, SIAC Court member as faculty chairs.

20. Academy 21. Academy Jakarta
Mr Davinder Singh, SC at the SIAC Academy in Singapore

Left to Right: Mr Cavinder Bull, SC and Mr Kevin Nash at the SIAC Academy in Jakarta

22.Academy Manila 23.Academy Manila
Left to Right: Ms Angela Yap and Mr Francis Xavier,
SC, PBM at the SIAC Academy in Kuala Lumpur
Left to Right: Mr Enrique V. Dela Cruz, Jr., Mr Herman Jeremiah, Mr Ricardo Ma. P.G. Ongkiko, Mr Siraj Omar, SC and Prof Mario E Valderrama at the SIAC Academy in Manila

4 SIAC Conferences and Partnerships

In 2019, SIAC held its annual overseas conferences in Bangalore, Bangkok, Chennai, Delhi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo. SIAC partnered with the Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA), Korean Commercial Arbitration Board International (KCAB International), the Shanghai International Arbitration Center (SHIAC), the Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC), the Society of Construction Law (SCL) Malaysia and the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators (MIArb) for its events in Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

24.India-DSC_8624 25.India-DSC_8237
Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications, Law & Justice and Electronics & Information
Technology, India at the SIAC India Summit

Mr K Shanmugam, SC, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, Singapore at the SIAC India Summit

26.India-DSC_8643 27.India-DSC_8316
Hon’ble Mr Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, Judge,
Supreme Court of India at the SIAC India Summit

Hon'ble Justice B.N. Srikrishna, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India at the SIAC India Summit

28.India-Summit 29.KCAB
Left to Right: Ms Sheila Ahuja, Dr Michael Hwang, SC, Mr Toby Landau QC and Mr Andre Maniam, SC at the SIAC India Summit

Left to Right: Mr Chris Bailey, Mr Braden Billiet, Mr Chan Hock Keng, Ms Sue Hyun Lim, Mr Michael Lee, Mr Rob Palmer and Mr Eugene Tan at the SIAC-KCAB Seoul Conference

30.SIAC-THAC-Bangkok-Conference 31.SIAC-THAC-Bangkok-Conference
Left to Right: Mr Steven Burkill, Mr Prakash Pillai
and Mr John Rainbird at the SIAC-THAC Bangkok
Conference

Left to Right: Ms Delphine Ho, YA Dato’ Mary Lim,
Ms Janice Tay and Ms Sharon Chong at the
SCL-SIAC-MIArb Seminar
SIAC held joint seminars with the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), the German Arbitration Institute (DIS), the New York University School of Law (NYU) and the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) in Singapore.

32.SIAC-DIS 33.6AE7C310-E100-4770-A596-E6738F8FACC1
Left to Right: Mr Peter Heckel, Ms Lijun Chui,
Mr Peter Wolrich, Mr Christopher Boog, Mr
Christopher Lau, SC, Ms Francesca Mazza
and Ms Gerui Lim at the SIAC-DIS Seminar

Left to Right: Prof Lawrence Boo, Mr Zhang Yulin (Jerry), Ms Qian Wu, Dr Wang Junfeng and Ms Lu Fei at the
SIAC-CIETAC Seminar

In 2019, SIAC signed various Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Beijing International Arbitration Center (BIAC), JAA, Japan International Dispute Resolution Center (JIDRC), New York International Arbitration Center (NYIAC) and SHIAC. MOUs were also signed with the East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL) and the University of Malaya (UM).
 
34. JAA 35. SHIAC
Left to Right: Mr Chong Yee Leong, Ms Lim Seok Hui, Mr Yoshimitsu Aoyama, Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka,
Mr Yoshimasa Furuta and Ms Chieko Tsuchiya
at the MOU signing at the SIAC-JAA Conference

Left to Right: Mr Li Zhigang, Ms Chen Jingying and
Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC at the MOU signing at the
SIAC-SHIAC Conference

5 New YSIAC Committee

In February 2019, SIAC welcomed the members of the new YSIAC Committee, led by co-chairs, Ms Wendy Lin and Mr Ramesh Selvaraj.

The 31-member Committee comprises young arbitration practitioners from Brazil, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

6 YSIAC Conference 2019

The biennial YSIAC Conference titled “Arbitration 2.0 – Navigating New Frontiers in International Dispute Resolution” was held in Singapore on 20 November 2019. The conference attracted over 150 delegates from 17 jurisdictions, with delegates coming from as far afield as France, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

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Left to Right: Mr Lau Wai Ming, Mr Jern-Fei Ng QC, Mr James Nicholson and Ms Pauline Low at the YSIAC Conference

Left to Right: Professor Dr. Maxi Scherer, Mr Adrian Tan, Prof Nadja Alexander, Mr Todd Wetmore and Mr Rimsky Yuen, SC at the YSIAC Conference

In conjunction with the YSIAC Conference, SIAC organised the fifth YSIAC Essay Competition, which received a record number of 122 entries from 26 jurisdictions. The winner was Ms Dina Prokic of Canada. The 1st runner-up was Ms Iris Ng Li Shan of the Supreme Court of Singapore, and the 2nd runner-up was Mr Kevin Elbert of TSMP Law Corporation, Singapore.

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Left to Right: Fadi Hajjar, Emmanuel Foy,
Kartikey Mahajan, Nora Fredstie, Angelica André,
Manu Thadikkaran, Lucas de Ferrari at the YSIAC Paris Forum

Left to Right: Lord Nicholas Phillips of Worth Matravers
and Lord Peter Goldsmith QC, PC at the YSIAC London Fireside Chat

Other YSIAC events organised in 2019 included skills training workshops, lunchtime talks, debates and seminars all over the world in cities such as Bangalore, Bangkok, Beijing, Chennai, Delhi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, Mumbai, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.

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

With best regards,
The SIAC Team

9 December 2019
SIAC holds joint seminar with SCIA in Shenzhen, China


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) co-organised a seminar with the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) titled “Singapore & Shenzhen International Business Environment and International Commercial Dispute Resolution” in Shenzhen, China, on 8 December 2019.

SIAC was honoured to have Mr. K. Shanmugam, SC, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, Singapore, and Mr Wang Lixin, Vice Mayor of Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government, China, grace the seminar. Minister Shanmugam and Vice Mayor Wang delivered Special Addresses during the seminar.

Dr Liu Xiaochun, President of SCIA, delivered the Welcome Address, and Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, delivered the Opening Address at the seminar.

The seminar was specially designed for Chinese and Singapore companies involved in Belt and Road investments and featured SIAC Court members, Mr Cao Lijun, and Ms Ariel Ye, as well as other leading dispute resolution practitioners and arbitrators from China and Singapore.


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg

25 November 2019
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the New York International Arbitration Center


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the New York International Arbitration Center (NYIAC) to promote international arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution for resolving international disputes.

The MOU was signed at the 14th Annual Conference on International Arbitration and Mediation held at Fordham Law School in New York on 22 November 2019, by Mr Kevin Nash, Deputy Registrar & Centre Director of SIAC, and Ms Edna Sussman, Board Chair of NYIAC.

Under the MOU, SIAC and NYIAC will co-organise conferences, seminars and workshops on international arbitration in New York and Singapore, and will invite key members of the local arbitration community to attend and participate in major events organised by SIAC in New York or by NYIAC in Singapore.

Pursuant to the MOU, NYIAC will, where appropriate and on a best efforts basis, provide hearing space and conference space in New York to SIAC at preferential rates, and refer parties to SIAC for requests relating to services for arbitrations seated in Singapore. SIAC will, where appropriate and on a best efforts basis, refer requests for hearing space and conference space in New York to NYIAC, and assist to arrange hearing space and conference space in Maxwell Chambers in Singapore for NYIAC at preferential rates.

Ms Edna Sussman, Board Chair of New York International Arbitration Center, said, “At NYIAC we have long admired the efforts made in Singapore to promote effective dispute resolution mechanisms and we are delighted to establish a relationship with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. Our common interest in offering cutting-edge educational programming and providing top flight hearing services will be furthered by this collaboration.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, commented that “SIAC is delighted to be entering into this collaboration with NYIAC, and looks forward to working closely with NYIAC to deepen our ties with key stakeholders in the US arbitration community.”


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg

19 November 2019
SIAC-CIArb Debate 2019
By Eva Teh Jing Hui, Associate, K&L Gates Straits Law LLC


Each SIAC-CIArb Debate has featured thought-provoking topics and this year was no exception. The debate motion for this year was “This House Believes that the Days of the ‘Arbitration Heavyweights’ are Numbered”, with Professor Bernard Hanotiau (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Partner, Hanotiau & van den Berg) and Ms Koh Swee Yen (Partner, WongPartnership LLP) as the proposition speakers, and Mr Jaikanth Shankar (Chief Executive Officer, Davinder Singh Chambers LLC) and Professor Lucy Reed (Vice-President, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Director, Centre for International Law (Singapore); Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore) as the opposition speakers. The debate attracted over 120 attendees.

Mr Paul Sandosham (Chairman, CIArb (Singapore branch); Partner, Clifford Chance), the moderator, started the night by pointing out that “heavyweight” was not intended to refer to any physical attributes. While this was met with some chuckles, it quickly became clear that the definition of “heavyweight” would be the deciding factor in the debate.

Professor Hanotiau kicked off the debate by painting a picture of what (or who) an “arbitration heavyweight” was by using the oft-repeated phrase “pale, male and stale”. His first point was that the majority of parties in arbitrations today are from developing countries and that arbitration panels should reflect the diversity of participants. His second point was that while arbitrators in the past were chosen through the “old boys” network, change has started with the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge. He also cited the African Promise, and noted that such initiatives have resulted in the appointment of more diverse arbitrators by raising the profiles of African arbitrators, while arbitration institutions were doing their part in diversifying institutional appointments.

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Members of the audience Left to Right: Jaikanth Shankar, Dr Jean Ho, Prof Bernard Hanotiau, Koh Swee Yen, Amanda Lees, Paul Sandosham, Andrew Pullen and Prof Lucy Reed


In opening for the opposition, Mr Shankar was quick to point out that he had been puzzled by the synopsis of the debate, which had referred to diversity as the key issue to be discussed. He shared that he had googled the word “heavyweight”, which apart from a category in boxing, was defined as “a person or thing that is important or serious and that other people notice”. To him then, the question at hand was “whether the days of the extraordinarily intelligent arbitrators were at an end”, and the answer to that was that it was clearly not. Mr Shankar quickly followed this deconstruction of the motion with a tongue-in-cheek application for early dismissal of the proposition’s arguments on the basis that there were no merits. Nevertheless, in addressing the proposition’s arguments and their definition of “heavyweight arbitrators” as the “pale, male, and stale” arbitrators, Mr Shankar made the observation that the proposition’s argument at its highest was that there was greater awareness and a push towards diversity of arbitrators. Unfortunately, he noted, the majority of appointments are made by parties and not institutions, and parties would not choose a less experienced arbitrator for the sake of diversity as diversity for the sake of diversity is meaningless.

Ms Koh, the second speaker in support of the motion, countered Mr Shankar’s position by emphasising the context of the motion, the “arbitration world”. She noted that within this community, the “heavyweights” were very much “pale, male, and stale”, and listed a host of impressive statistics on the age, gender and nationality of arbitrators today. Appealing to the younger and the young-at-heart in the audience, Ms Koh brought up Jay-Z (a rapper and entrepreneur), who had brought the issue of lack of diversity among arbitrators into the spotlight when he successfully argued before a court in New York that arbitration would be unfair because there were only two African-American arbitrators who were not conflicted in a list of more than 200 arbitrators proposed by the American Arbitration Association. Ms Koh noted as well that she had seen procedural orders that had not changed over a decade and remarked, “what does this say about arbitration which is supposed to be flexible?”.

The final speaker, Professor Reed, echoed Mr Shankar’s point on the definition of “heavyweight”. She expanded on his argument that diversity for the sake of diversity is meaningless. After all, arbitration is very much like a boxing match in terms of what is at stake, with the prize being a binding and final award that can only be set aside or appealed on few and narrow grounds. Playing on the comparison between arbitration and boxing, she made the point that arbitration, like boxing, has different weight divisions and in a high-stake arbitration match, no counsel would suggest a flyweight or even a middleweight arbitrator to their client. Conversely, she astutely observed that not all arbitrations required heavyweight arbitrators and there were other arbitrations for more junior arbitrators to cut their teeth on.

The judges, Dr Jean Ho (Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore), Ms Amanda Lees (Partner, Simmons & Simmons LLP), and Mr Andrew Pullen (Barrister, Fountain Court Chambers), unanimously decided that the motion had been defeated, with the opposition’s definition of “Arbitration Heavyweight” ultimately swinging the debate in their favour. Mr Pullen observed that with the younger generation pushing to be the arbitration heavyweights of the future, there will always be heavyweights. On that positive note for the aspiring arbitrators in the audience, another edition of the SIAC-CIArb Debate was successfully concluded.


18 November 2019
SIAC Singapore Academy – Day 1
By: Tim O’Shannassy, Associate, Squire Patton Boggs (Perth)


The second edition of the SIAC Academy titled “The Making of an Advocate and an Arbitrator” was held on 18 and 19 November 2019. Day 1 focused on advocacy training and featured interactive sessions on topics such as the key elements of persuasive advocacy and effective cross-examination in international arbitration. Day 2 focused on arbitrator training and explored how to handle potentially tricky scenarios as an arbitrator, offering a behind-the-scenes look at tribunal deliberations, and even tips on how to draft an enforceable award.

Welcome Address by Mr Davinder Singh, SC
Mr Davinder Singh, SC (Chairman, SIAC; Executive Chairman, Davinder Singh Chambers LLC) made a gracious welcome address in which he noted the efforts SIAC was making to facilitate the sharing of knowledge. With that in mind, and through vehicles such as the SIAC Academy, Mr Singh encouraged participants to extract as much as they could from the assembled doyens of the industry, and to see how the experts viewed particular matters, and where they saw international arbitration headed in the future.

As part of his concluding remarks, Mr Singh encouraged Academy participants to work hard at refining their skill sets and pledged that SIAC would do what it could to support those who wished to pursue a career in international arbitration.

Opening Address – The Art of Advocacy in International Arbitration
Mr Gary Born (President, SIAC Court of Arbitration Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP) then gave his opening address. In doing so, Mr Born explained that the theme of this Academy, “The Making of an Advocate and an Arbitrator” was essentially an example of ‘double-hatting’, referring to how advocacy and arbitrator skills are commonly thought of as being distinct from one another, yet shared a symbiotic relationship in terms of training.

It was through this prism that Mr Born emphasised the importance of listening when appearing as an advocate. He remarked that a common mistake made by counsel was to refer to a ‘script’, rather than focussing on engaging the arbitrators. For that reason, in order to be a persuasive advocate, Mr Born highlighted the importance of being able to think on your feet, being able to deal with questions and comments whilst communicating a compelling case theory. To develop those skills, Mr Born offered one piece of advice for aspiring advocates that could not (and ought not) be discounted: hard work.

[Panel Discussion] Elements of Persuasive Advocacy and Effective Cross-Examination for International Arbitration
For the morning’s panel discussion, Mr Born was joined by fellow arbitration practitioners, Mr Jern-Fei Ng QC (Barrister, Essex Court Chambers), Mr Francis Xavier, SC (Regional Head, Dispute Resolution, Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP), Mr Chan Hock Keng (Partner, WongPartnership LLP) and Mr Chong Yee Leong (Member, SIAC Board of Directors; Partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP). The panel was moderated by Ms Lijun Chui (Member, YSIAC Committee; Counsel, Clifford Chance) with the session providing helpful tips for improving written and oral advocacy.

As part of this discussion, Mr Ng QC, noted that having had the experience of appearing both as an advocate and as an arbitrator, it was crucial to read the situation in real-time when making oral submissions. He echoed Mr Born’s sentiments that counsel should avoid operating via a ‘script’ and instead direct its attention to engaging with the tribunal, something which was a key pillar to being a persuasive advocate. To that end, he advised that the best counsel would listen to see where the Tribunal is interested, in terms of issues or topics, and would adapt their submissions accordingly.

That concept of ‘adaptability’ was picked up on by Mr Born who noted that it was also important to have a robust and clear case theory that was capable of being developed and adapted in order to best convey that message to the tribunal. In fact, Mr Born stressed that a case theory ought to be developed and progressed at each stage of the hearing, whether through oral opening, cross-examination or expert witnesses. Such progression is an important test when contemplating whether or not to cross-examine or brief expert witnesses.

When the panel was asked about how best to deal with weaknesses in your own case, Mr Xavier, SC, advised that an advocate must have a robust case theory but ought to ultimately be candid and open with the tribunal. He went on to note that arbitration was not a game of chess or a war of attrition, but rather a process of dispute resolution, which entailed helping the decision maker reach a conclusion.

To establish that kind of robust case theory, one capable of withstanding critique, Mr Ng QC, added that he would in preparing for cross-examination questions, start with the points he intended to close his case on. He then worked backwards to work out the questions he wanted to ask in cross-examination, and the topics he wanted to traverse in order to arrive at that conclusion.

Mr Born suggested that the aforementioned skills required an advocate to execute skills in ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ thinking. These were concepts explored in Daniel Kahneman’s novel ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ where fast thinking referred to the intuitive and ‘snap’ decisions one makes, the slow thinking referring to our logical, reasoned processes. As was explained, tribunals and advocates do both of these things in tandem. As Mr Chan pointed out, one of the best illustrations of this two-level thinking at a hearing was during cross-examination, where you would be looking to keep witnesses’ evidence confined to the questions they were asked. This required very deliberate thinking but also the ability to immediately change course if required.

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Welcome Address by Mr Davinder Singh, SC Left to Right: Gary Born, Chan Hock Keng, Chong Yee Leong, Lijun Chui,
Jern-Fei Ng QC and Francis Xavier, SC


From the topic of cross-examination, the discussion then turned to the ethical considerations surrounding the preparation of a witness for arbitration hearings. As the panel pointed out, this tended to be a controversial topic. However, the panel unanimously agreed that best practice was to use the witnesses’ own written statements as the starting point as a means of ensuring familiarity with the subject matter. On this point, the panel noted that although witnesses would often feel like they knew everything about the case because they had ‘lived’ the dispute, in reality, when it was time for them to give oral evidence, they were often unable to recall the precise details or the specific documents. The panel also suggested that it was the less ‘polished’ factual witness statements that generally proved to be the most helpful. This was because when it was time for the witness to prepare for his cross-examination, if the content was already drafted in a style that the witness was already familiar with, they would have less trouble understanding it. On that basis, whilst counsel may wish to assist with the overall structure or format of the witness statement, it was advised that the drafting be the product of several meetings or discussions between counsel and witness. Once the witness was familiar with their written statement, counsel would generally move on to discuss the themes or issues likely to be traversed under cross-examination. However, at no stage during the preparation should the witness be coached or told how to answer a question.

For similar reasons of accuracy and familiarity, Mr Xavier, SC, also pointed out that meeting with groups of witnesses together as a ‘cluster’ ought to be avoided, given the risk of a single witness’ own recollections being influenced by others in the group. While the same risks are reduced when engaging expert witnesses, the panel suggested that the actual selection of an expert was probably the most important thing, with the issue of credibility being a primary consideration. They went on to opine, though, that when engaging experts, parties also needed to remember that a clean expert was one who is independent. Everything communicated with an expert could be used as evidence, and would not be subject to privilege. For example, if an expert provided a report which was not favourable to your case, that may be open to being used in the arbitration.

To conclude the panel discussion, Mr Ng QC, addressed the topic of dealing with clients who insisted on deploying a specific case theory. He suggested that in those circumstances, it was important to remember that, as an advocate, you had two constituents: one was your client, and one was your decision maker. In order to fulfil your obligations, Mr Ng QC, advised that advocates must have courage in their convictions, to listen to the client’s point of view, but to ultimately advise and persuade them to accept your recommendations by explaining why a specific case theory would or would not succeed.

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Factual and Expert Witnesses during Mock Evidentiary Hearing

Singapore Academy 2020 participants


Mock Evidentiary Hearings
Following the morning’s captivating panel discussion, the Academy participants had the opportunity to put their own advocacy skills to the test in a series of mock evidentiary hearings. During these breakout sessions, participants delivered opening submissions, cross-examination of factual and expert witnesses and closing submissions. As the allocated time for oral submissions was kept deliberately short, advocates were encouraged to be clear and direct in their delivery. In sum, these sessions provided the perfect setting for honing advanced advocacy skills, with the added benefit of invaluable, real-time feedback from some of the industry’s best arbitrators.

Mock Hearing Demonstration by Teaching Faculty and Q&A
After having prepared for and delivered their submissions in the mock evidentiary hearing, the Academy participants were fortunate enough to then observe the ‘pros’ in action.

Using the same set of facts, Ms Charis Tan (Director, DWF LLP) and Mr Ng QC, appeared as counsel for the Claimant, with Mr Ankit Goyal (Partner (Foreign Law), Allen & Gledhill LLP) and Mr Darius Chan (Counsel, Norton Rose Fulbright) appearing as counsel for the Respondent. They were before a mock tribunal consisting of Mr Chan, Mr Chong and Mr Xavier, SC, and with Mr Born roleplaying as tribunal secretary. Ms Chui had the unenviable task of appearing as both side’s factual and expert witness.

What was apparent when observing such an experienced group of advocates was that each had a precise case theory, and a meticulously prepared conceptual roadmap, through which they were able to engage the tribunal and effectively convey their party’s position. The mock hearing was light-hearted, but the competitive streak in each counsel was certainly evident.

Networking Drinks
At the conclusion of the first day of the Academy, participants gathered for networking drinks. This was a fantastic way to close out the busy day of activities and provided another opportunity to interact with the other attendees who had come from all over the world, with a shared interest in international arbitration.

6 November 2019
YSIAC Manila Workshop
By Marco Carlo S. Sana, Professor, Far Eastern University – Institute of Law


The YSIAC Manila Workshop was titled “Demystifying the Commencement of an Arbitration”, and was primarily targeted at younger lawyers who are interested to develop their practice in international commercial arbitration.

Mr Kevin Nash (Deputy Registrar & Centre Director, SIAC) kicked off the workshop by sharing relatable stories about some of the panelists who had previously worked at SIAC.

Ms Adriana Uson (Member, YSIAC Committee; Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright (Asia) LLP) moderated the workshop and started the session by asking the panelists comprising Mr Dinesh Dhillon (Partner and Co-Head, International Arbitration, Allen & Gledhill LLP), Mr Nash, Mr Louie Ogsimer (Partner, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & de los Angeles), Mr Siraj Omar, SC (Director, Drew & Napier LLC), Ms Maricef Valderrama (Associate, Allen & Overy LLP), and Ms Jane Yu (Senior State Solicitor, Office of the Solicitor General of the Philippines) about their first experience with arbitration.

In line with the lively and collaborative mood of the workshop, each of the panelists shared their first personal experience with arbitration. The stories shared ranged from nightmares about stacks of endless binders to living the dream as counsel for a hockey team. Surprisingly, one of the panelists could have been a qualified arbitrator by age 14 because her father, a distinguished arbitration lawyer, took her to a seminar where she ended up passing a sample arbitrator exam.

The panel first discussed the key features of an arbitration agreement. The panelists unanimously agreed that the provision for arbitration must be clear because the powers of the tribunal relies on it. Mr Nash emphasized that a short and clearly worded agreement is preferred, with the provision clearly distinguishing between ad hoc or institutional, and identifying the venue and seat of arbitration.

Ms Uson then asked the Filipino panelists for their advice on commercial arbitration under Philippine law. Mr Ogsimer pointed out that practitioners must be conscious of the different laws that govern domestic arbitration and international arbitration under the Philippines Republic Act 9285. Whilst domestic arbitration is governed by the Philippines Republic Act 876, international arbitration is governed by the 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law. Ms Yu emphasized that the notice for arbitration must be the addressed to the proper government agency, which requires some knowledge of Philippine administrative law.

Photo-edited
Left to right: Adriana Uson, Dinesh Dhillon, Louie T. Ogsimer, Kevin Nash, Siraj Omar, SC, Jane E. Yu and Maricef Valderrama


The panel then discussed the requisite preparations for filing a notice of arbitration. Mr Omar highlighted the need to comply with preconditions stated in the arbitration provision before filing the notice. Mr Dhillon added that the provisions under Rule 3 of the SIAC Rules 2016 must be complied with for a notice of arbitration filed with SIAC. He also explained that strategy plays a part in crafting the notice, such as deciding between filing a substantive notice of arbitration to present a strong case as opposed to providing a bare-bones version for immediate relief.

As a last topic for discussion, Ms Uson asked the panelists for key pointers to take note of in the constitution of the tribunal. Ms Yu emphasized that the impartiality and the independence of the tribunal is of utmost importance. That is why doing one’s homework and asking for feedback on potential candidates is crucial. Mr Omar added that institutional arbitration offered some benefits in this regard. For instance, you can rely on SIAC’s repository of knowledge about potential arbitrators, including the Secretariat’s experience in working with the arbitrators. The payment of the requisite filing fees was given particular importance by all the panelists.

Finally, the participants of the workshop engaged in a class exercise, which involved identifying defects in a sample Notice of Arbitration, and determining the appropriate arbitrators to avoid a jurisdictional challenge.

31 October 2019
YSIAC Club Event on The “Spirit” of Arbitration
By Chloé Vialard and Artis Straupenieks, Shearman & Sterling LLP


On Halloween, the Singapore international arbitration community had its own encounter with “spirits”, albeit not of a supernatural kind. More than 60 arbitration enthusiasts gathered at a YSIAC Club event to hear a panel of experts from the alcohol beverage industry discuss the legal and dispute resolution trends in the beer, wine and whisky business.

The event was moderated by Daryl Chew (Member, YSIAC Committee; Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP). The panellists included Amy Seow, (Co-founder, Raison Wines (Former International Disputes Lawyer)), Geraldine Lim (Regional Legal Director, Heineken Asia Pacific, Singapore), James Nicholson (Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting), Matthew Tan (Associate Legal Director, South East Asia, Pernod Ricard Singapore Pte Ltd) and Angela Yap (Associate Counsel, SIAC).

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Members of the audience Left to right: Angela Yap, Matthew Tan, James Nicholson, Geraldine Lim, Amy Seow, Daryl Chew, Anant Tyagi and Chaitanya Arora


Many insights emerged from the panel discussion. For example, it was reiterated that legal teams are effectively business partners of the business units they support. As one panellist put it, “We don’t always say ‘us and them—commercial’. It’s all us.” Thus, in contrast to “riskaverse” disputes lawyers for whom risk avoidance is “a job hazard”, business owners and inhouse counsel must regularly take, share and bear risks.

The panellists acknowledged that a key challenge faced by the beverage industry in Southeast Asia is legal instability. “Sometimes there are laws, sometimes there are new laws, sometimes the laws change,” said one speaker, concluding that “that’s kind of, in a nutshell, our life in Southeast Asia.” The speaker said that beyond that, there was another layer of difficulties, namely, that laws were sometimes not enforced, while, at other times, they were not enforced in a balanced manner. The speakers also mentioned advertising as a recurring issue, especially in the context of religious rules or the broad discretion accorded to the regulatory authorities.

When the discussion moved to disputes, everyone agreed that the objective was to avoid them, particularly as “the industry is so small and relationships matter so much”. Most disputes that do arise were naturally resolved by negotiation and cooperation.

One might assume that mediation is widely used by the industry, although that did not seem to be the case. The panellists recognised that “mediation is always a good idea”, since disputes are kept “low-key” and resolved informally at management level. However, formal mediations with professional mediators appeared to be uncommon. One speaker underscored the importance of the mediator being familiar with the industry.

The handful of disputes resolved by arbitration typically concerned matters relating to production, distribution or transportation of beverages. These disputes tended to arise from material and high-stakes contracts, as smaller-scale contracts did not typically include arbitration provisions.

Another panellist observed that certain incidences of fraud would necessitate forensic investigation. Recalling one such instance, the panellist recounted his experience about falsification of brewing costs by a smaller entity brewing for a large multinational company under a cost-plus contract.

The panellists then considered ways to keep costs low if a dispute did materialise. The panellists discussed consolidation and the benefit of emergency arbitrator proceedings, for example, in disputes involving perishable beverages.

The discussion was followed by concluding remarks delivered by Chaitanya Arora, Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting. He shared personal insights and recounted a matter involving allegations of fraud in the context of an international brand’s joint venture with a bottling company in an emerging market. He also noted the critical role of trademarks in the beverage industry, and the prospect for IP related disputes. Finally, he shared a story about the origin of the term “bootleg” (which apparently was coined as a result of smugglers concealing illegal bottles of alcohol in their boots).

Finally, Anant Tyagi, the owner and managing director of French restaurant JAG, delivered a presentation on mixology trends. He focused on sustainability themes and explained that sustainability took many forms, including the shift to non-alcoholic drinks, replacement of plastic straws with corn or metal ones, the increasing popularity of natural wines and, more generally, reducing the carbon footprint of production.

The presentation on mixology trends was followed by the highlight of the evening: a longawaited interactive tasting session. No one needed reminding that the best safeguard against disputes is a strong relationship and connection among stakeholders, and that there was no better opportunity to develop those bonds than over a beverage of choice.

25 October 2019
YSIAC Paris Forum 2019
By Katya Hartl and Juliette Musso, White & Case LLP


The YSIAC Paris Forum 2019 was titled “Emergency Arbitration: Perspectives from Asia and Europe” and attracted approximately 68 practitioners, in-house counsel and students.

Lucas de Ferrari (White & Case, Paris) gave the opening address focusing on the representation of Asian clients abroad. He explained that while there is a clear trend towards standardization in international arbitration, the parties’ nationality and place of arbitration still have an impact on the particularities of the proceedings. He cautioned against oversimplifications and stereotypes but highlighted the importance to acknowledge certain cultural specificities and use them to the client’s benefit.

Emmanuel Foy (Derains & Gharavi International, Paris) moderated the panel and noted that emergency arbitration is a hot topic that raises a number of issues such as due process, party representation and enforcement.

Topic I: Emergency Arbitration under SIAC Rules

Kartikey Mahajan (YSIAC Committee Member; King & Spalding, London) began by explaining the purpose and importance of emergency arbitration proceedings. He then addressed its implementation and development across different arbitral institutions, particularly in Singapore. He explained how the cultural proclivity of South Asian parties such as India for interim measures/relief coupled with the efficient administration of these applications by SIAC, have contributed to the increase in emergency arbitration applications under SIAC Rules.

Topic II: Best Practices for Emergency Arbitration

Nora Fredstie (Latham & Watkins, Paris) first observed that there was no universal approach to emergency arbitration. She then suggested some best practices in handling emergency arbitration applications, in light of the short timing that these proceedings entailed, and provided practical advice on preparing the submissions to the emergency arbitrator. Finally, she tackled the issue of resorting to emergency arbitration proceedings when faced with a multi-tiered dispute resolution clause.

Topic III: Enforceability of Emergency Arbitration Awards

Angélica André (White & Case, Paris) started the discussion acknowledging that, according to many surveys, most of the emergency arbitrators’ decisions are voluntarily complied with. However, the concern regarding their enforcement was not unjustified because several issues can arise, such as whether emergency arbitrators can be termed as arbitrators or whether their decisions are considered awards, according to the New York Convention. She discussed these issues from a comparative law perspective and finally drew potential solutions to them.

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Left to Right: Fadi Hajjar, Emmanuel Foy,
Kartikey Mahajan, Nora Fredstie, Angelica André,
Manu Thadikkaran, Lucas de Ferrari

Networking Reception held at the White & Case offices in Paris.

A lively Q&A session ensued, with active participation from the audience. Emmanuel Foy then closed the panel discussion, followed by closing remarks by Kartikey Mahajan (YSIAC Committee Member).

18 October 2019
SIAC-THAC Bangkok Conference 2019
by Dr Stephanie Garner, Senior Associate, Watson Farley & Williams


The inaugural SIAC-THAC Bangkok Conference titled “Effective Management of International Arbitration Proceedings in Thailand and Singapore: Techniques, Tips and Strategies to Save Time and Costs” was attended by over 80 delegates and panellists, many of whom had flown from Singapore.

Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC) and Ms Machimdhorn Khampiranont (Arbitration and Mediation Director, THAC) delivered the opening addresses. In her opening address, Ms Lim noted that arbitration is the preferred dispute resolution mechanism for cross-border disputes in the region and attributed this to the five Es: even-handedness, efficiency, expedition, expertise and enforceability of awards. In her opening address, Ms Khampiranont stressed the importance of effective management of proceedings and emphasised the role played by arbitration centres in managing costs and ensuring expeditious resolution of disputes by tribunals.

Panel Session 1: Tactical Considerations for Commencing an Arbitration

The first panel discussion was moderated by Mr K Minh Dang (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Senior Partner, YKVN). Mr Prakash Pillai (Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore) began the session with his thoughts on drafting the notice of arbitration. He stressed the significance of this stage for the claimant: it fixes the date of the commencement of arbitration and provides notice to the Respondent. Mr Pillai and the other panellists also discussed their views on how long the notice of arbitration document should be, with the majority erring on the side of brevity.

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Left to Right: Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert, K. Minh Dang, Prakash Pillai, Nathee Silacharoen, Steven Burkill and John Rainbird

Members of the audience

Mr Nathee Silacharoen (Counsel, Chandler MHM Limited) addressed preparation for the arbitration. The key points were to review the arbitration agreement and consider reaching further agreement on arbitral procedure (such as the use of the expedited procedure) that would be appropriate to the dispute. He also highlighted the good practice of producing written summaries and a chronology of key events and witness interviews in advance of the drafting of the pleadings.

In considering the selection and appointment of arbitrators, Mr Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert (Partner, Latham & Watkins) painted a caricature of seven types of arbitrator: the vanishing arbitrator (who is too busy after appointment), the unprepared arbitrator, the inexperienced arbitrator, the procrastinating arbitrator, the advocate, the unethical arbitrator and finally Fredo Corleone (the black sheep). Mr Seelmann-Eggebert highlighted how some of these characteristics can be both positive and negative.

Consolidation and joinder is typically a tricky issue because of the consensual nature of the arbitration agreement. Mr John Rainbird (Counsel, Allen & Overy) broke the topic down into three questions: can you, should you and, if so, when? Amongst other strategic considerations, Mr Rainbird highlighted the importance of the consistency of legal rulings, cost and time efficiency, evidential quarantine between cases and the SIAC rules governing the timing of such applications.

Mr Steven Burkill (Partner, Watson Farley & Williams (Thailand) Ltd) spoke on prima facie jurisdictional objections. He set out the legal principle of competence – competence, whereby the arbitral tribunal is empowered to determine its own jurisdiction. Any jurisdictional challenges should be raised as soon as possible, but the question of when the Tribunal decides a jurisdictional challenge is more subtle and the question of bifurcation should be considered.

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Left to Right: Chou Sean Yu, Pisut Attakamol,
Kirindeep Singh, Siraj Omar, SC and Chua Kee Loon

Warathorn Wongsawangsiri, Pariyapol Kamolsilp, Robert Tang, Paul Sandosham, Avinash Pradhan and Chaitanya Arora


Panel Session 2: Saving Time and Costs under the SIAC Rules (Expedited Procedure, Emergency Arbitrator, Early Dismissal)

Mr Pisut Attakamol (Partner, Baker & McKenzie) moderated the second panel discussion of the afternoon, which focused on particular provisions of the SIAC Rules designed to ensure effective time and cost management of the case.

Mr Kirindeep Singh (Senior Partner, Dentons Rodyk, Singapore) spoke of his experience with the expedited procedure under Rule 5 of the SIAC Rules 2016. He set out the three criteria for an application and drew the delegates’ attention to the case of AQZ v ARA [2015] SGHC 49, confirming that the expedited procedure applies even where the arbitration agreement contains contrary terms.

Mr Siraj Omar, SC (Director, Drew & Napier LLC) presented his experience of the emergency arbitrator procedure under Rule 30 and Schedule 1 of the SIAC Rules 2016. He compared the use of an emergency arbitrator with seeking emergency or interim relief from Singapore courts. He further identified the guidelines emergency arbitrators typically use: prima facie evaluation of merits of claim, urgency and evaluation of convenience/prejudice.

Mr Chou Sean Yu (Partner, WongPartnershipLLP) considered the early dismissal procedure under Rule 29 of the SIAC Rules 2016. SIAC was the first major international arbitration centre to introduce this procedure in 2016. This novelty has led some to question whether the procedure is open to abuse through the potential of being used as a delaying tactic and whether tribunals may be overly cautious in judging claims. Mr Chou’s verdict was positive and he noted that tribunals have not been hesitant to dismiss claims if they meet the criteria.

Mr Chua Kee Loon (Partner, Allen & Gledhill) closed the discussions by posing questions to the other panellists to assess the effectiveness of the expedited procedure, emergency arbitrator, and early dismissal mechanisms in saving time and costs for parties. In relation to the ground of “exceptional urgency” in Rule 5.1(c) of the SIAC Rules 2016 for the expedited procedure, the panel concluded that such a ground would only usually apply in insolvency cases, or cases involving loss of license and regulatory consequences in the event of delay.

Panel Session 3: Comparative Perspectives on International Arbitration in Thailand and Singapore

The final session of the day was devoted to a discussion between the various panellists, moderated by Mr Robert Tang (Senior Consultant, DLA Piper (Thailand) Limited). The session considered the various mechanisms introduced to save time and costs raised in the second session (expedited procedure, emergency arbitrator, early dismissal) and sought to evaluate their effectiveness as well as making broader comparisons between arbitration in Singapore and in Thailand.

Mr Paul Sandosham (Partner, Clifford Chance) expressed the view that the expedited procedure was one of the best innovations for the international arbitration process as it ran counter to the natural tendency of counsel and tribunals to seek to slow down the proceedings.

Mr Warathorn Wongsawangsiri (Member, YSIAC Committee; Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills (Thailand) Limited) noted that expedited procedure is also possible in Thailand (under THAC Rules Section 8). Mr Pariyapol Kamolsilp (Partner, Kudun & Partners) added that the procedure is new to Thailand and practitioners had limited experience of its use. Furthermore, THAC Rules require parties’ consent for the expedited procedure to apply.

Mr Avinash Pradhan (Partner, Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP) emphasised the advantage for a Claimant using the expedited procedure, given their control over the selection of the commencement date, which had been discussed by the very first panellist of the day.

The discussion benefitted from input from Mr Chaitanya Arora (Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting), the conference’s only non-lawyer panellist. As a quantum expert, Mr Arora was able to comment on the importance of obtaining expert input ahead of applying to use the expedited procedure, because of the limitations on the claim value.

Conclusion

The event closed with brief closing remarks by Mr K Minh Dang.

18 October 2019
YSIAC Bangkok Advocacy Workshop 2019
By Amornwit Phesprasert, Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills


The YSIAC Advocacy Workshop was held on 18 October 2019 in Bangkok, and was specially designed to hone the advocacy skills of younger arbitration practitioners through a mock hearing demonstration of cross-examination of witnesses in an arbitration. The workshop was attended by around 60 participants, and provided invaluable insights on how to conduct a successful cross-examination in international arbitration.

The welcome address and opening address were delivered by Mr Warathorn Wongsawangsiri (Member, YSIAC Committee; Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills (Thailand) Limited) and Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC) respectively. Ms Lim shared that the objectives of YSIAC are to nurture and provide opportunities for younger arbitration practitioners and arbitrators to develop their skills while Mr Wongsawangsiri explained why this workshop would be beneficial to the attendees.

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Left to Right: Warathorn Wongsawangsiri and Lim Seok Hui

Workshop participants and members of the audience

Ms Wendy Lin (Co-Chair, YSIAC Committee; Partner, WongPartnership LLP) then introduced the case scenario and concept of the workshop.

The case scenario concerned a dispute over the construction of a nuclear power plant, and the contract in question provided for disputes to be referred to arbitration in Singapore under the SIAC Rules. The Workshop programme featured mock cross-examination of factual witnesses by up-and-coming as well as experienced arbitration practitioners.

Both the first and second cross-examination sessions were presided over by Mr Chatchai Inthasuwan (Head of Litigation, Chandler MHM Limited), Mr K. Minh Dang (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Senior Partner, YKVN) and Mr Siraj Omar, SC (Director, Drew & Napier LLC) as members of the Tribunal.

For the first cross-examination session, Mr Ramesh Selvaraj (Co-Chair, YSIAC Committee; Partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP) acted as the Respondent’s Counsel and Mr Kongwat Akaramanee (Associate, Kudun and Partners) was the Claimant’s first factual witness. Mr Selvaraj asked several leading questions in his cross-examination of Mr Akaramanee, and appeared to have cornered Mr Akaramanee with his questioning when his time ran out.

The Claimant’s second witness played by Mr David Lawrence (Partner, Pisut & Partners) was cross-examined by Respondent’s Counsel, Mr Pisut Attakamol (Partner, Baker & Mckenzie Ltd). Mr Attakamol adopted an aggressive manner in his cross-examination and attacked the witness from every direction through his questioning, which made for an exciting experience for the audience. However, Mr Lawrence kept his cool as a witness, and did not allow the rapid questioning to get to him.

In the second cross-examination session, Mr Paul Sandosham (Partner, Clifford Chance) acted as the Claimant’s counsel while Ms Sarocha Thongperm (Senior Associate, Weerawong C&P) acted as the Respondent’s first witness. The Claimant’s second witness was played by Mr John Rainbird (Counsel, Allen & Overy) who was cross-examined by the Respondent’s Counsel, played by Mr Ekasit Suttawat (Associate, DLA Piper (Thailand) Limited). This second cross-examination session also provided a demonstration of various cross-examination techniques and the skills that lawyers need in order to get the answers they want from witnesses.

A panel discussion, moderated by Mr Wongsawangsiri, took place thereafter. The panellists comprised Mr Inthasuwan, Mr Dang, Mr Omar, SC and Mr Sandosham. Mr. Wongsawangsiri invited the panel to discuss the essentials of cross-examination and tips for a successful cross-examination. The panel emphasised the importance of ‘asking leading questions’, ‘knowing the answer to the question you ask’ and on witness preparation. The panel also shared some thoughts on asking leading questions and opined that in certain circumstances, open-ended questions may work to a counsel’s advantage. It was noted by the panel that good lawyers must be able to observe the answers from the witness and decide how to order and structure their questions. The panel also discussed the scenario where a tribunal may interrupt and ask too many questions during cross-examination and cause the counsel to lose the flow of their questions due to the frequent interruptions.

We hope this interesting and successful event would be the first of many more such events held in Bangkok in the future.

15 October 2019
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Beijing Arbitration Commission/ Beijing International Arbitration Center


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Beijing Arbitration Commission/ Beijing International Arbitration Center (BAC/BIAC) to promote international arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution for resolving international disputes.

The MOU was signed on 15 October 2019 at the 2019 Singapore Summit on Commercial Dispute Resolution in China, by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Dr. Fuyong Chen, Deputy Secretary-General of BAC/BIAC. The signing was witnessed by Mr Zhang Xumin, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim of the Chinese Embassy in Singapore and Ms Gloria Lim, Director, Legal Industry Division, Ministry of Law.

Under the MOU, SIAC and BAC/BIAC will work together to jointly promote international arbitration to serve the needs of businesses. SIAC and BAC/BIAC will co-organise conferences, seminars and workshops on international arbitration in China and Singapore, and will invite key members of their local arbitration community to attend and participate in major events organised by SIAC in Beijing or by BAC/BIAC in Singapore.

Both institutions will, upon request and where appropriate, provide recommendations of arbitrators to each other, and will, upon request, conduct training programmes for each other’s staff.

Dr. Fuyong Chen, Deputy Secretary-General of BAC/BIAC, said, “This MOU marks a key milestone for BAC/BIAC in its collaboration efforts with SIAC, and underscores the commitment of both institutions to jointly promote the benefits of international arbitration to existing and potential users in China and other Belt and Road economies.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “We are delighted to be entering into this MOU, and to be co-hosting the 2019 Singapore Summit on Commercial Dispute Resolution in China with BAC/BIAC in Singapore as a first step under this partnership. We look forward to working closely together with BAC/BIAC to better support the needs of companies, businesses and investors in Belt and Road projects all over the world.”


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg

27 September 2019
SIAC-SHIAC Conference 2019
By Vicky Zhao, Partner, AnJie Law Firm


The SIAC-SHIAC Conference was held on 17 September 2019 in Shanghai with the theme “Effective Dispute Resolution for BRI Investments”, and attracted arbitrators, representatives of arbitration institutions, attorneys, and in-house counsel from both China and Singapore.

Mr Li Zhigang (Vice Chairman, Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai; Vice Chairman, SHIAC) opened the session, reporting on the establishment of the Singapore-Shanghai Comprehensive Cooperation Council. He mentioned that this conference was held in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by SHIAC and SIAC. Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC (Deputy Chairman, SIAC Board of Directors; Senior Counsel and Arbitrator, Essex Court Chambers Duxton) followed with the opening address. He introduced SIAC’s recent developments and practice. He held that the cooperation between SHIAC and SIAC would foster closer ties between arbitration professionals from Shanghai and Singapore.

Ms Chen Jingying (Vice President, East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL)) gave a special address. She said that the cooperation between arbitration institutions and universities would promote the development of commercial arbitration by nurturing legal talent and outstanding arbitration practitioners. SIAC signed the Memorandum of Understanding with ECUPL during the conference.

During the keynote speeches, Mr Yu Weifeng (Chairman, Shanghai Arbitration Association; Partner, Llinks Law Offices Shanghai Office/Hong Kong Office) introduced the establishment of Shanghai Arbitration Association, and Mr Hee Theng Fong (JP, Consultant, Eversheds Harry Elias LLP) compared different practices between common law and civil law jurisdictions on presenting and examining evidence.

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Members of the audience
 
Members of the audience

Panel Session I: Effective Dispute Resolution for BRI Investments

The first panel discussed effective dispute resolution for BRI investments. Mr Huang Ningning (Managing Partner, Grandall Law Firm) moderated a panel comprising Mr Guan Feng (Partner,King & Wood Mallesons Shanghai Office), Mr Hu Ke (Partner, Jingtian & Gongcheng), Mr John Liu (Senior Partner, AllBright Law Offices), Mr Prakash Pillai, (Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore), Mr Wang Zhao (Partner, JunHe Law Firm Shanghai Office) and Mr Wang Lingqi (Partner, Fangda Partners).

The panelists covered topics ranging from the benefits of arbitration for BRI disputes, considerations when selecting the arbitral seat and the venue, potential uses and enforceability of interim measures and emergency arbitrator decisions, considerations when appointing arbitrators, effective witnesses and the role of experts, to the role of mediation and Arb-Med-Arb for BRI disputes.

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Left to right: Zhiqiang Zou and Vicky Zhao
 
Left to Right: Wang Weijun, Guan Feng, Yu Weifeng, Chan Leng Sun, SC, Li Zhigang, Chen Jingying, Hee Theng Fong, JP, Jessica Fei and John Liu
 

Panel Session II: Comparative Perspectives on Arbitration in China and Singapore

The second panel, which was moderated by Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, focused on comparative perspectives on arbitration in China and Singapore. The panelists, comprising Mr Chua Kee Loon (Partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP), Mr Hee Theng Fong, Mr Lei Shi (Partner, Clifford Chance), Ms Vicky Zhao (Member, YSIAC Committee; Partner, AnJie Law Firm) and Mr Zhiqiang Zou (Senior Partner, Dentons Law Offices (Shanghai), shared their views and perspectives. The discussion encompassed different approaches to cross-examination, document production and witness conferencing as well as cultural considerations on crossexamination of witnesses and experts, the differences between setting-aside and resisting enforcement of awards and the scrutiny process of draft awards.

Ms Jessica Fei (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Partner, King & Wood Mallesons) and Ms Wang Weijun (Deputy Secretary-General, SHIAC) concluded the event with closing remarks.

The interactive and informative sessions gave arbitration practitioners from China and Singapore an interesting insight into the trend of harmonization of different practices in the field of international commercial arbitration.

19 September 2019
SIAC-KCAB Seoul Conference 2019
By Arie Eernisse, Foreign Attorney, Shin & Kim


The SIAC-KCAB Seoul Conference 2019 was titled “Cross-Border Construction Disputes in 21st Century Asia” and attracted more than 70 practitioners, in-house counsel and professionals.

Ms Seok Hui Lim (CEO, SIAC) opened the session, reporting that Korean parties are one of the top ten users of SIAC and that there are currently two members of the SIAC Court of Arbitration who are based in Korea. Mr Hi-Taek Shin (Chairman, KCAB International) followed with his opening address. He noted that Seoul is becoming a hub of international arbitration and that Korean construction companies have become frequent users of international arbitration, with approximately one-third of KCAB’s disputes arising from construction. He remarked that the availability of many dispute resolution options is a blessing, but it also means that careful planning is required.

Panel Session I: Strategic Considerations When Pursuing Construction Disputes
The first panel session addressed strategic considerations in construction disputes, mainly at the onset of the dispute resolution process. Mr John P. Bang (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Senior Foreign Attorney, Bae, Kim & Lee LLC) expertly moderated a panel comprising Mr Michael Ashcroft QC (Arbitrator and Barrister, Twenty Essex), Mr Im Byung Woo (Partner, Kim & Chang), Mr Steven Y. H. Lim (Arbitrator and Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers), Mr Iain Potter (Director, MDD Forensic Accountants, Singapore), Mr Matthew Skinner (Partner, Jones Day), and Mr Thomas Walsh (Partner, Clifford Chance LLP).

The panel began with an interactive panel exchange about adopting appropriate dispute resolution mechanisms. Mr Bang observed that early strategic choices are critical in large and complex construction disputes as such choices can make a difference in terms of how quickly the dispute is resolved, how resources are utilised and whether remedies are appropriate. Mr Walsh explained that he often sees arbitration clauses in construction contracts that involve various complications and that escalation clauses are common. Mr Im opined that escalation clauses have become necessary to save time and costs but cautioned that Korean companies should be aware of differences between the typical Korean style of mediation and mediation pursuant to an international construction contract’s step clause. Offering a critical view, Mr Skinner remarked that it is difficult to know the merits of the case at the early stages of a dispute and, thus, a requirement to mediate early in a dispute may be disadvantageous and put the parties at risk.

Moving on to strategic considerations in the context of arbitration, the panellists discussed how companies are increasingly trying to ensure that they are covered by investor-state dispute resolution mechanisms. They also touched on the importance of using claims consultants or lawyers who evaluate claims when arbitration is being considered, and on the importance of ensuring that notice requirements are met (to avoid complete dismissal of claims despite lengthy arbitration proceedings).

The panellists focused next on stays, anti-suit injunctions and court-ordered interim relief, as well as notable aspects of emergency arbitrator proceedings. Mr Lim gave a detailed and helpful overview of the current state of the law. Mr Ashcroft called anti-suit injunctions a powerful weapon for parties, but he stressed that timing is crucial and that delay itself may cause a party to lose an anti-suit injunction application. Offering a forensic accounting expert’s view, Mr Potter examined the pros and cons of using the same expert for interim relief and substantive issues.

Further discussion ensued on pursuing investor-state arbitration in conjunction with, or in lieu of, commercial arbitration, third party funding for investment and commercial arbitration, and asserting claims against third parties and joining non-signatories.

IMG_4575-Edited DSC_9693-Edited
Left to Right: Michael Ashcroft QC, Iain Potter, Steven Y.H. Lim, John P. Bang, Byung Woo Im, Matthew Skinner and Thomas Walsh
 
Left to Right: Braden Billiet, Chan Hock Keng, Chris Bailey, Sue Hyun Lim, Rob Palmer, Michael Lee and Eugene Tan

Panel Session II: Managing Proceedings and Proving Your Claims
The second panel session, which was deftlymoderated by Ms Sue Hyun Lim (Secretary-General, KCAB International), featured as panellists Mr Chris Bailey (Partner, King & Spalding), Mr Braden Billiet (Managing Director, FTI Consulting), Mr Chan Hock Keng (Partner, WongPartnership), Mr Michael Lee (Arbitrator, Twenty Essex), Mr Eugene Tan (Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore) and Mr Rob Palmer (Office Managing Partner, Ashurst LLP).

The discussion began with a focus on ancillary dispute proceedings and parallel proceedings, with the takeaway being that arbitrators and parties should take a cautious approach to these proceedings when they arise. On the issues of consolidation and joinder, the panellists suggested that where parties foresee the possibility of multiple related disputes between themselves, they should proactively adopt contract language that allows for more convenient resolution of disputes between them.

Mr Billiet, a damages expert, next gave his views on the role of a technical expert, which he said was to assist the tribunal on matters within his or her expertise. When asked a question from the audience about a situation involving a tribunal that had ordered a single expert to give testimony on various disciplines, the panellists agreed that, in such a case, finding the right expert suited for the discipline on which expertise is required is important, and that experts should not stray outside the boundaries of their expertise.

The panel then discussed some important procedural and logistical issues to bear in mind while managing proceedings. Mr Chan stressed the importance of adopting appropriate rules for document production (e.g., IBA Rules or Prague Rules) to benefit one’s client. Mr Lee hailed the use of a case management conference to raise the tribunal’s awareness of what the case is about from the start and to ensure that it is able to understand the key issues at the disclosure stage. Mr Palmer shared that construction disputes are document (and expert) heavy and that Asia’s increasingly diverse arbitral panels may take varied approaches to assessing the evidence. However, he said it should not be automatically assumed that they will adopt their home jurisdiction’s common practices, as there are various international norms that are followed as well (e.g., witness statements).

Mr Palmer amusingly introduced the next topic with a quote from (the draconian) section 229 of Hammurabi’s Code (“If a builder builds a house for a man and does not make its construction sound, and the house which he has built collapses and causes the death of the owner of the house, the builder shall be put to death”). Mr Bailey then shared some critical insights about the importance of understanding and recognizing tensions between FIDIC contracts (which have a common law approach in mind) and non-common-law applicable law. Mr Tan homed in on another cross-jurisdictional challenge: ensuring commencement of proceedings within the required period of time in a foreign jurisdiction, considering the variance in statute of limitations periods, rules on when to start calculating delay and rules on waiver. An exchange with an audience member from Vietnam highlighted the importance of being aware of such differences.

Finally, Mr Billiet provided a concise and helpful overview of quantifying damages in a construction case, followed by Mr Bailey’s closing thoughts on the importance of taking a proactive approach to understanding how to address issues of damages and experts.

Conclusion
Both panels provided keen insights on a broad range of critically important topics for practitioners. Audience members not only gained numerous tips useful for construction arbitration practice but also a strategic framework for organizing this useful knowledge.

17 September 2019
YSIAC-KCAB Next Seoul Workshop 2019
Interim Relief in International Arbitration: Techniques, Tips and Strategies

By Dipl.-Jur. Paolina P. Ilieva, Trainee Lawyer, Lee & Ko


This year’s YSIAC-KCAB Next Seoul Workshop 2019 tackled the topic of interim relief in international arbitration. The Workshop – titled Interim Relief in International Arbitration: Techniques, Tips and Strategies – attracted over 50 practitioners from the arbitration community in Korea and throughout Asia.

The evening commenced with a Welcome Address by Dr Eun Young Park (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Partner, Kim & Chang) that centered around a story from Greek mythology: the Judgment of Paris. According to the myth, an argument among three goddesses – Hera, Aphrodite and Athena – over which of them possessed unmatched beauty ultimately led to the Trojan War. The takeaway that Dr Park impressed upon the audience from this myth was that strong advocacy skills are key in the world of international arbitration, in the same way that they were essential to preventing a war in ancient times.

Dr Park’s Welcome Address was followed by a brief Opening Address by Ms Michele Sonen (Head (North East Asia), SIAC). Ms Sonen introduced YSIAC and explained that the purpose of YSIAC is to provide young practitioners with a platform to learn, develop and enhance their skills as counsel and arbitrators.

Ms Wendy Lin (Co-Chair, YSIAC Committee; Partner, WongPartnership LLP) followed Ms Sonen with an Introduction to the Panel Session. She noted that practitioners have strong feelings about interim relief; it can trigger both positive and negative emotions when practitioners are in the midst of seeking interim relief or defending their clients against an application lodged against them.

Panel Session: Interim Relief: Techniques, Tips and Strategies.

The panel session was moderated by Ms Wonyoung Karyn Yoo (Member, YSIAC Committee; Senior Associate, Kim & Chang). Ms Yoo first invited Ms Dana Kim (Steering Committee Member, KCAB Next; Of Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills) to open the session with a discussion of the different types of interim relief available in international arbitration. Ms Kim addressed issues such as which forums can grant interim relief; when is the appropriate time to seek interim relief; and what rules empower the Arbitral Tribunal to grant interim measures. Ms Kim also provided a checklist of practical considerations that an arbitration lawyer should bear in mind before turning to the Tribunal with a request for interim relief.

Ms Kate Apostolova (Member, YSIAC Committee; Senior Associate, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer) also delivered valuable practical input from her experience as an arbitration practitioner. She outlined several factors that influence whether to seek interim measures from the domestic courts, an Arbitral Tribunal, or an Emergency Arbitrator. For instance, Ms Apostolova pointed out that when a party requires document production in order to support its application for interim relief, it may be more strategic to seek interim relief from national courts rather than an Emergency Arbitrator because the latter would most likely exclude the possibility of document production.

Mr Steven Y. H. Lim (Arbitrator and Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers) continued the panel session by discussing the applicable legal standards for granting interim relief in an arbitration proceeding. He identified three legal standards that have been developed by international arbitration practice, and the similarities and differences between these tests.

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Left to Right: Wendy Lin, Wonyoung Karyn Yoo, Kate Apostolova, Michele Park Sonen, Mino Han, Dana Kim, Steven Y. H. Lim and Julia Jiyeon Yu

Members of the audience

On the question of why a party may need an interim measure from a domestic court, Mr Mino Han (Senior Associate, Bae, Kim & Lee) enumerated five important considerations:

1. Enforceability
2. Ex parte applications
3. Prejudice
4. Time
5. Risk of amendments of the interim measure

Mr Han further explained that certain common types of interim measures are not allowed in Korea, such as anti-arbitration injunctions or anti-suit injunctions.

The topic of Emergency Arbitration was presented by Ms Kate Apostolova. She first revealed that the purpose of Emergency Arbitration is to provide urgent relief in the time between filing a Request for Arbitration and the constitution of an Arbitral Tribunal, which in many cases could take months. Ms. Apostolova highlighted that SIAC was the first arbitral institution based in Asia to introduce the Emergency Arbitration procedure in 2010. Since then, nearly 100 applications have been filed with SIAC.

The SIAC Rules require appointment of an Emergency Arbitrator (EA) within one calendar day and an award must be rendered by the EA within 14 days from his or her appointment. Mr Steven Lim shared his experience that the appointment of an EA can happen at any time, regardless of whether it is a weekend.

On the topic of applicable standards before an EA, Ms Apostolova explained that all of the legal standards mentioned earlier by Mr Lim may also apply during an Emergency Arbitration, supplemented by one additional requirement: a party seeking emergency interim relief must demonstrate such urgency that the requested relief cannot await constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal.

Finally, Ms Julia Jiyeon Yu (Partner, Oon & Bazul LLP) addressed the topic of non-compliance and enforceability of interim measures. Ms Yu drew the audience’s attention to the important question of whether to apply for interim relief from an Arbitral Tribunal or an EA even though that measure may lack enforceability in some national courts. In response, Ms Yu highlighted the extremely high rate of voluntary compliance with arbitral awards granting interim measures, as parties generally seek to avoid casting a dark shadow on their case that may negatively affect the later stages of the arbitration.

After the panel session, Ms Sonen concluded the event with brief closing remarks thanking the panelists for the lively discussion and for sharing their experiences. The YSIAC-KCAB Next Workshop 2019 left the attendees with a better understanding of interim measures in international arbitration.

17 September 2019
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the East China University of Political Science and Law


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL).

Under the MOU, SIAC and ECUPL will work together to place law students from ECUPL in internships at SIAC. In addition, SIAC and ECUPL will collaborate to incorporate a module on "SIAC and Institutional Arbitration" into the ECUPL law programme. Upon request by SIAC or ECUPL, both parties will also conduct joint training programmes, seminars, workshops or other events in China to promote the development and practice of international arbitration.

The MOU was entered into during a signing ceremony on 17 September 2019 at the SIAC-Shanghai International Arbitration Center (SHIAC) Conference 2019, and was signed by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Ms Chen Jingying, Vice President of ECUPL. During the signing ceremony, Ms Chen signed the MOU on behalf of ECUPL, and Mr Liu Rundong, Deputy Head (China) of SIAC, affixed the SIAC seal to the MOU. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Deputy Chairman of SIAC.

Ms Chen Jingying, Vice President of ECUPL, said, "We believe this MOU will enable our students to learn from one of the world's top arbitral institutions, and look forward to working closely with SIAC to nurture and develop future generations of talented young arbitration practitioners in China."

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, "We are honoured and delighted to be entering into this MOU with ECUPL, a leading Chinese academic institution. We are confident that this collaboration will enable us to contribute further towards the development of international arbitration in China and foster closer ties within the Chinese arbitration community."


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.siac.org.sg

12 September 2019
SIAC-CIL Academic-Practitioner Colloquium

Mr Csaba Kovács’ presentation of his paper titled “Attribution of the Conduct of State-owned Enterprises to the State”
By Lexi Menish and Samantha Tan, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer


Introduction

The 3rd SIAC-CIL Academic-Practitioner Colloquium brought to life a critical but complex and often misunderstood international investment law question: when is a State responsible for the conduct of a separate legal entity?

This question is obviously fraught with uncertainty. The apparent irreconcilabilities in the arbitral case law on attribution inspired Mr Csaba Kovács to dive in and attempt to make sense of it all in his book, Attribution in International Investment Law, the first published monograph dedicated to this topic.

The Colloquium’s panellists reviewed Mr Kovács’ book and peppered him with challenging questions on the topic. The esteemed Vice-President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration; Director of the Centre for International Law (Singapore), Professor Lucy Reed, told us in her opening address that the Academic-Practitioner Colloquium was designed for that very purpose, for academics to gather comments from practitioners on their work, and for cross-pollination of ideas between legal academics and practitioners. Mr Kovács was impressive. In the spirit of lively discourse, the discussion at times resembled a cross-examination, and Mr Kovács defended his publication valiantly.

The general focus of the panel was the question of how satisfactory the International Law Commission’s Draft articles on Responsibility of States for International Wrongful Acts (ILC Articles) are as the generally accepted rules for attributing conduct to a State. The Colloquium also addressed, on the flipside of attribution, when a State-owned enterprise should be precluded from bringing a claim against another State under an investment treaty.

This discussion among experts in this complex area of law was intellectually rigorous, yet elegantly translated into easy-to-understand pieces, including by the moderator, Mr Toby Landau QC (whose light-hearted interjections in this substantive two-hour session were no doubt appreciated by the audience).

Mr Kovács’ introduction to his paper

To frame the panel discussion, Mr Kovács introduced the premise: a State can be responsible for internationally wrongful conduct only if it consists of an action or an omission that is attributable to the State under international law.

Mr Kovács then explained the legal framework for answering the question of when conduct is attributable to the State under international law: special rules in the treaty under which the claim against the State has been brought, i.e., lex specialis; and, in the absence of express treaty wording, the ILC Articles.

Under the ILC Articles, Mr Kovács explained, an act can be attributed to the State if the person performing the act:

is an organ of the State (Article 4);

exercises governmental powers delegated by the State in relation to this act (Article 5); or

acts on the instructions, or under the direction or control, of the State (Article 8).

Mr Kovács then discussed the challenges commonly faced in applying the ILC Articles to the infinitely diverse structures that States adopt to conduct their affairs.

Mr Kovács introduced Article 4 of the ILC Articles as focusing on the entity in question, rather than on its act. He explained:

to equate a State-owned enterprise with a State organ when it does not have that status under internal law must be “exceptional”, requiring “proof of a particularly great degree of State control over them”, i.e., a relationship of “complete dependence”; and

investment tribunals have identified a number of factors that could indicate that a State-owned enterprise is a State organ, such as its establishment by law, lack of separate legal personality, lack of institutional or operational independence, performance of core governmental functions, lack of separate patrimony, lack of financial autonomy, and its being subject to judicial review or governmental oversight, but not its ownership or control of shareholding by the State.

On Article 5 of the ILC Articles, Mr Kovács discussed the trickiness of determining whether an act was commercial or sovereign, only the latter of which would be the basis for State responsibility. He postulated the following rebuttable presumptions based on the arbitral jurisprudence:

an act is commercial if a private entity in an open, competitive market could also perform it, even if such act serves a general interest; and

an act is governmental if it concerns an asset or activity normally reserved to the State, even if such act was performed through contractual or commercial means.

On Article 8, Mr Kovács distinguished between conduct carried out on the State’s instructions—which he said covers only express instructions—and conduct carried out under the State’s direction or control—which he said requires the State to have directed or controlled the specific operation of which the impugned conduct was an integral part. He highlighted that there may also be an additional requirement that the State-owned enterprise’s exercise of public powers or the State’s use of its ownership interest or control of a State-owned enterprise was “to achieve a particular result”.

Mr Kovács concluded that the investment arbitration jurisprudence showed that the ILC Articles were widely accepted and largely applied consistently to determine attribution, and that the expansion of the current scope of such attribution rules is unlikely, although their application requires flexibility.

Mr Colin Liew, Advocate, Essex Court Chambers Duxton, commented that the test of control used for the Article 4 analysis had been doubted by a decision of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in which it formulated an alternative “overall control” test. Mr Liew also observed that according to the jurisprudence, in less than “exceptional” cases entities have also been deemed to be State organs under Article 4.

Mr Kovács agreed that the tribunals in Flemingo DutyFree Shop v Poland and Ampal-American Israel et al v Egypt had indeed found State-owned entities to be State organs despite their being separate legal entities. He opined, however, that those cases are outliers and context-specific. Mr Kovács explained that in Flemingo, for example, Poland had made concessions that the entity in question performed strategic functions for the State that could not be transferred to a private party, and such evidence is rare. Mr Landau added that the “complete dependence” test was adopted from the Nicaragua decision by the International Court of Justice about State control over conduct in a State-State dispute, which might not apply in the same way in an investor-State context.

IMG_20190912_205826 IMG_2293
Left to Right: Prof Vincent-Joel Proulx,
Nicholas Lingard, Csaba Kovacs, Toby Landau QC, Darius Chan and Colin Liew

Members of the audience

Prof Vincent-Joel Proulx, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, raised a series of questions about ILC Article 5, including how control and supervision come into play in the application of Article 5. The Commentary to the ILC Articles notes that executive control over the conduct in question is not a determinative factor, whereas World Trade Organisation (WTO) arbitration jurisprudence suggests that “meaningful control” is relevant, and some arbitral tribunals (e.g., EnCana v Ecuador) emphasised the importance of statutory supervision by the State over the delegated activity. He also queried the relationship between Article 5 and the lex specialis of a particular investment treaty, asking to what extent a treaty can displace Article 5.

Mr Kovács and some of the other panellists engaged in a lively discussion of the first question, with Mr Kovács explaining that tribunals do tend to treat supervision and/or control as relevant, noting that the extent, rather than the existence of control, appears to be most relevant, and that executive control is not required, but accountability to the State is. Mr Landau asked whether supervision was also relevant, and Mr Kovács replied that some tribunals have considered it as a relevant, but not determinative, factor. Mr Landau also observed that the test under Article 5 is whether an entity is exercising a delegated, sovereign function, and queried the relevance of supervision and control to that analysis, to which Mr Lingard added that the focus of Article 5 is the conduct itself, and thus supervision or control would appear to be irrelevant.

Mr Nicholas Lingard, Partner and Head of the International Arbitration Group in Asia, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, explained that although satisfaction of any of the Article 4, Article 5 or Article 8 tests is sufficient to establish attribution, States often prefer to “lose” on Article 8, as a finding of attribution on the basis of Article 8 is limited to the facts of the particular case. On the other hand, a finding under Articles 4 or 5 that a State enterprise was a State organ or was exercising a governmental function could be used in subsequent cases. Mr Lingard then queried the distinction under Article 8 between “acting on the instructions of” versus “under the direction or control of” the State. Mr Lingard pointed out that on one view, an instruction must be “binding and express”, evidence of which can be hard to come by, but may cover non-sovereign conduct, whereas according to the ILC Commentary to Article 8, conduct “under the direction or control” of the State must be sovereign in nature.

Mr Lingard also discussed the Al Tamimi v Oman tribunal’s failure to engage Article 8 on the basis that the scope of the applicable treaty—the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement—was expressly limited to where a State enterprise or other person “exercises any regulatory, administrative or other governmental authority delegated to it by that Party”, and therefore could be deemed to have excluded the applicability of Article 8. Mr Lingard explored related language in other investment treaties that arguably could be read to exclude liability on the basis of Article 8 (e.g., the 2012 US Model BIT).

Mr Kovács acknowledged the observation and agreed that an investment treaty, as lex specialis, could displace certain ILC Articles if the treaty parties so agreed.

Mr Darius Chan, Of Counsel, Norton Rose Fulbright, discussed attribution as it applied to State-owned entities as claimants in ICSID proceedings. Recourse to ICSID jurisdiction is limited to “nationals” of an ICSID Contracting State other than the respondent State. Whether a State-owned entity can qualify as a “national” (and thus a claimant) is often determined by the so-called “Broches Test”, which holds that a State-owned entity may qualify as a “national” for the purposes of the ICSID Convention unless it is “acting as an agent for the government” (i.e., ILC Article 8) or “is discharging an essentially governmental function” (i.e., ILC Article 5). Mr Chan queried both: (a) whether an ICSID tribunal should consider both the nature and purpose of the State-owned entity’s activity when applying the Broches Test; and (b) to what extent the applicable bilateral investment treaty (BIT), if it includes State-owned entities within the definition of “investor”, should be conclusive in an ICSID arbitration. As to the former, interesting questions arise in the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, in which Chinese State-owned entities are making investments that can be characterised as having a commercial nature, but which the Chinese government has billed as having an arguably public purpose.

With respect to Mr Chan’s question as to nature versus purpose, Mr Kovács opined that purpose is a factor tribunals will consider, but is not generally determinative: the nature of the State-owned entity’s investment activity typically carries more weight. On Mr Chan’s second point regarding the definition of “investor” in BITs, Mr Kovács analogised other jurisdictional hurdles under the ICSID Convention, such as the dual-national test or the so-called “double-barrelled” test for the inherent characteristics of “investment” under ICSID Convention Article 25, and suggested that irrespective of whether State-owned entities may bring claims under the applicable BIT, the ICSID Convention’s jurisdictional requirements must still be satisfied.

Conclusion

Questions from the audience followed, including a particularly interesting question about the relationship between the ILC Articles and traditional veil-piercing analysis under municipal law.

Upon conclusion of the Q&A, the discussion continued informally over drinks long into the evening. The Colloquium clearly resonated and gave the participants and attendees plenty of food for thought.

2 September 2019
SIAC holds SIAC India Summit in New Delhi


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) held a two-day SIAC India Summit titled “Modern Trends and Perspectives on Investor-State and International Commercial Arbitration” on 30 and 31 August 2019. Day 1 of the Summit featured an inaugural conference on Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which focused on the future of ISDS in Asia and the state of play for investment arbitration in India. International commercial arbitration took centre stage on Day 2 of the Summit at SIAC’s annual India flagship event which examined recent arbitration developments in India and the use of institutional procedures to deal with emerging issues in international arbitration.

SIAC was honoured to have Mr. K. Shanmugam, SC, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, Singapore, and Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, India, grace the Summit. Minister Shanmugam delivered the Opening Addresses on both days, Minister Prasad delivered the Special Address, and the Honourable Justice Rohinton Nariman, Judge, Supreme Court of India, delivered the Keynote Address at SIAC’s annual international commercial arbitration conference on Day 2 of the Summit. The Honourable Justice B.N. Srikrishna, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India, participated as a panellist at the ISDS conference. Mr Edwin Tong, SC, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law & Ministry of Health, Singapore, also attended the Summit.

Mr Davinder Singh, SC, Chairman of SIAC, delivered the Welcome Addresses for both events, and Mr Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, delivered the Keynote Address at the inaugural ISDS conference.

The Summit featured a stellar-lineup of SIAC Board and Court members as well as other international arbitration luminaries including Prof. Bernard Hanotiau, Mr Tejas Karia, Mr Darius Khambata, SC, Mr Toby Landau QC, Mr Rajiv Luthra, Ms Shaneen Parikh, and Mr Michael Hwang, SC.

Close to 600 delegates attended the Summit.


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
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30 August 2019
SIAC India Summit 2019 - Investor State Arbitration
By Abhijnan Jha, Senior Associate, AZB & Partners


The two-day SIAC India Summit 2019 titled “Modern Trends and Perspectives on Investor State Dispute Settlement and International Commercial Arbitration” opened with an inaugural conference on Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which featured a star-studded line-up of speakers. More than 250 delegates including practitioners, in-house counsel, professionals and students were in attendance on the first day of the Summit.

Mr. Davinder Singh, SC, Chairman of SIAC and Executive Chairman, Davinder Singh Chambers LLC, gave the welcome address, which was followed by the opening address by Mr. K. Shanmugam, SC, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, Singapore, and the keynote address by Mr. Gary Born, President, SIAC Court of Arbitration and Chair, International Arbitration Practice, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

Panel Session I: Future of ISDS in Asia

The first panel session was moderated by Dr. Rishab Gupta, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas.

The panellists were Justice B.N. Srikrishna (Former Judge of the Supreme Court of India), Mr Gary Born, Professor Bernard Hanotiau, Partner, Hanotiau and Van Den Berg, and Mr. Andre Yeap, SC, Senior Partner, Rajah and Tann Singapore LLP.

In this session, the panellists discussed major developments in treaty-making in the Asia Pacific region, multilateral investment courts, the current ISDS regime, third party funding in ISDS, the role of ISDS in addressing disputes arising from the Belt and Road Initiative, and diversity in arbitrator appointments.

IMG_6286 IMG_6113
Left to Right: Gary Born, Prof Bernard Hanotiau, Hon’ble Justice B.N. Srikrishna, Dr Rishab Gupta and Andre Yeap, SC

Members of the audience

Panel Session II: Speed Round: The State of Play of Investment Arbitration in India (Part A)

The second panel session was moderated by Ms. Shaneen Parikh, Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration and Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

The panellists were Mr. Toby Landau QC, Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Barrister & Arbitrator, Essex Court Chambers Duxton (Singapore Group Practice) and Essex Court Chambers (London), Mr. Abhileen Chaturvedi, Associate Partner, Economic Laws Practice, Ms. Anuradha Dutt, Founder and Managing Partner, DMD Advocates, and Mr. Kent Phillips, Partner, Hogan Lovells.

In this session, the panellists discussed the state of play of investment arbitration in India with a special focus on the new India model bilateral investment treaty, parallel proceedings, anti-arbitration injunctions, and enforcement of investment treaty awards.

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Left to Right: Anuradha Dutt, Toby Landau, QC, Shaneen Parikh, Kent Phillips and Abhileen Chaturvedi

Left to Right: Shwetha Bidhuri, Arvind Datar, SA, Prakash Pillai and Romesh Weeramantry

Panel Session III: Speed Round: The State of Play of Investment Arbitration in India (Part B)

The final panel session on investment arbitration was moderated by Mr. Prakash Pillai, Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore.

The panellists were Ms. Shwetha Bidhuri, Head (South Asia), SIAC, Mr. Arvind Datar, SA, Madras High Court, and Dr. Romesh Weeramantry, Counsel, Clifford Chance. In this session, the panellists discussed the evolution of the current landscape of bilateral investment treaties in India, the impact of change in India’s approach towards investor protection on the inflow of foreign direct investment, protection of investors investing outside India and exclusion of tax measures from investment treaties.

Mr. Rajiv Luthra, Member, SIAC Board of Directors; Founder and Managing Partner, L&L Partners, concluded Day 1 of the Summit with closing remarks in his inimitable style.
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