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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
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

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:

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 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.

36. YSIAC _R109413 37. YSIAC
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.

38. paris 39.. London
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.

DSCF3140 DSCF3238e
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.


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).

1 4
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.

01 02
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.

Photo-1 Photo-2
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.

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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
T: +65 6713 9777
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W: www.siac.org.sg

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.

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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.

16 August 2019
SIAC Announces the Appointment of New Co-Deputy Head (China)

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The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that Ms Sophia Liu Jianying has been appointed to the position of Co-Deputy Head (China). Ms Liu joins Mr Leo Liu Rundong who is the current Deputy Head (China).

Both the China representatives are based in SIAC’s Shanghai office, and are responsible for promoting the development of international arbitration through arbitration events and training programmes in China.

Prior to joining SIAC, Sophia practised in the fields of arbitration, litigation and finance at various law firms in China.

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “We are delighted to welcome Sophia to the SIAC team. Her combined disputes and transactional experience will bring a commercially nuanced perspective to her role, which will further enhance and cement our ties within the international arbitration community in China."


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
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5 August 2019
SIAC-SCIA Seminar on ‘’Effective Dispute Resolution for Greater Bay Area Companies Investing in ASEAN’’
By Kevin Elbert, Associate, TSMP Law Corporation


On 5 August 2019, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) organised a seminar titled ‘’Effective Dispute Resolution for Greater Bay Area Companies Investing in ASEAN’’. The topic for the seminar was particularly appropriate in view of the signing of the Singapore Mediation Convention on 7 August 2019, and the seminar was well attended by guests from all around the world who visited Singapore to witness the signing of the Singapore Mediation Convention.

The session was opened by Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC) who delivered the welcome address. Ms Lim said that SIAC is well-positioned to support the commercial needs of Chinese investors, companies and businesses involved in cross-border projects and investments, particularly in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. SIAC has many arbitrators who are proficient in Chinese and have handled Chinese cases, and there are eminent Chinese international arbitration practitioners on the SIAC Court of Arbitration. As China takes centre stage in the global economy, SIAC is looking forward to deepening ties with its Chinese partners.

This was followed by an opening address by Mr Anthony Neoh QC, SC (Vice Chairman, SCIA). Mr Neoh emphasised the importance of the Greater Bay Area in the global economy. For instance, Shenzhen is now the base for many important international companies. This means that there is an important role for Shenzhen to take the lead in promoting the dispute resolution processes in the area. To further this aim, SCIA is looking forward to forming more collaborations with its global partners in the future.

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Gift exchange between Anthony Neoh, QC, SC and
Lim Seok Hui

Members of the audience

Panel Session I: Trends and Recent Developments in Dispute Resolution Involving BRI Investments in ASEAN Countries

The first panel discussed the issue of trends and recent developments in ASEAN countries: Dr Christopher Boog (Partner, Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd) moderated a panel comprising Mr Chan Hock Keng (Partner, WongPartnership LLP), Mr Armstrong Chen (Senior Partner, Dentons Law Offices (Shanghai)), Ms Lexi Menish (Senior Associate, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer) and Mr Tony Zhang (Senior Partner, Co-Effort Law Firm LLP).

The panel session started with the question: why is arbitration appropriate for BRI investments for ASEAN countries. Ms Menish explained that arbitration is appropriate because of factors such as neutrality and enforceability. Neutrality is especially important because disputes relating to infrastructure and projects often involve a state-owned entity and one may not want to litigate in the national courts. Mr Zhang added that due to the enforceability of arbitral awards under the New York Convention, arbitration is also an appealing choice for Chinese parties.

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Left to Right: Chan Hock Keng, Lexi Menish,
Dr Christopher Boog, Armstrong Chen and Zhen-an (Tony) Zhang

Left to Right: Simon Dunbar, Jiong (John) Liu, Chan Leng Sun, SC, Prof Dr Peter Malanczuk and Dr Yifei Lin


On the topic of choice of institution, Mr Chen pointed out that while European parties prefer traditional institutions such as ICC or HKIAC, and Chinese parties would prefer a Chinese arbitration commission, the trend is now to pick a neutral option such as SIAC. However, at the end of the day, parties’ main concerns are costs and efficiency of the arbitral proceedings and parties will generally opt for the most cost-competitive and most efficient institution.

Ms Menish added that in response to BRI investments, institutions have modified their rules, citing the recent update to the HKIAC rules to allow for consolidation of multiple contracts. There is also an arrangement for the enforcement of interim measures between Hongkong and mainland China. Mr Zhang then discussed how China is amending its arbitration laws and practices to meet the needs and expectations of international users, such as an internal court system for enforcement whereby the lower courts would report to the upper courts on their decisions on enforcement of arbitral awards, to ensure consistency in the application of law.

From arbitration, the topic then moved on to commercial courts. Dr Boog started the discussion by asking what role commercial courts such as the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) can play in BRI disputes involving ASEAN parties. Mr Chan responded that SICC can be used for BRI disputes, but parties have to agree to bring their case to SICC so as to have foreign judges hear the case. Mr Chen commented on the Chinese International Commercial Courts (CICC), noting that the benefit of referring disputes to CICC is potentially easier enforcement in China. The Chinese state-owned enterprises in particular would prefer to refer their disputes to CICC.

Panel Session II: Procedural Tips, Techniques and Strategies in International Arbitration for BRI Disputes

The second panel discussed tips, techniques and strategies in international arbitration for BRI disputes. The panel was moderated by Dr Yifei Lin (Principal Consultant, Guangdong Yi & Partners Law Firm), and the panellists were Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC (Senior Counsel and Arbitrator, Essex Court Chambers Duxton), Mr Simon Dunbar (Partner, King & Spalding), Mr Jiong (John) Liu (Senior Partner, AllBright Law Offices) and Prof Dr Peter Malanczuk (SCIA, Council Member).

The first topic that the panel touched on was interim measures and emergency arbitration. Mr Chan started off the topic by sharing that in Singapore, interim measures can be granted by the courts and tribunals, but the tricky tactical decision in arbitration is where to seek such measures, which would be dependent on the facts of each case.

On the topic of investor-state dispute settlement, Dr Malanczuk shared that in China there are distinctions between treaty-based claims and contract-based claims. Treaty-based claims are excluded from the purview of CICC, but the position is not so clear in respect of contract-based claims. This may give rise to issues of parallel proceedings.

On procedural strategies, Mr Dunbar spoke about the importance of the seat and selection of arbitrators. The seat determines the legal regime of the arbitration due to the role of the supervisory court, and convenience should not be a factor to determine the seat. On the selection of arbitrators, parties have to consider factors such as the expertise of the arbitrator.

Mr Liu commented on interim measures in China. Even though obtaining interim measures locally may be easy, enforcing a tribunal order on interim measures may be difficult. Parties also need to know whether there are assets to be enforced against in the jurisdiction.

The panel ended with an audience discussion on online dispute resolution. All the panellists agreed that the use of technology in arbitration such as e-discovery should be encouraged.

1 August 2019
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Malaya

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

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

The MOU was signed on 1 August 2019, by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Dato' Associate Professor Dr Johan Shamsuddin Bin Hj Sabaruddin (Dato' Dr Johan Shamsuddin), Dean of UM Faculty of Law.

Dato' Dr Johan Shamsuddin, Dean of UM Faculty of Law, said, "Following the recent collaboration between UM Faculty of Law and SIAC to jointly host the highly successful Kuala Lumpur edition of the SIAC Academy in March 2019, we look forward to deepening our cooperation efforts to cultivate and promote the benefits of international arbitration to future generations of  international arbitration experts in Malaysia."

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, "We are honoured and delighted to be given the opportunity to work closely with UM, a premier Malaysian academic institution. Malaysian parties have consistently ranked amongst SIAC's top ten foreign users, and Malaysia is a key market for us. This partnership provides an excellent platform for SIAC to contribute further towards the development of international arbitration in Malaysia and to forge closer ties with key stakeholders in the Malaysian arbitration community.


For more information, please contact:

Singapore International Arbitration Centre
T: +65 6713 9777
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W: www.siac.org.sg

05 July 2019
SIAC Jakarta Conference 2019
By Julia Nugroho, Senior Associate, Dewi Negara Fachri & Partners (in association with Hogan Lovells)


The SIAC Jakarta Conference 2019 was titled "Damages in International Arbitration: Contemporary Principles and Practices" and it attracted over 200 participants, including in-house counsel and professionals.

Mr. Kevin Nash (Deputy Registrar & Centre Director, SIAC) opened the session noting the release of the SIAC Rules 2016 which sought to make arbitration faster and more efficient. SIAC has arguably handled more Emergency Arbitration applications than any other jurisdiction in the world, and was the first commercial arbitration institution to release the early dismissal procedure for claims and defences. SIAC also has a robust provision for joinder and consolidation provisions.

Mr. Cavinder Bull, SC (Vice President of SIAC Court of Arbitration) followed with the opening address noting the stellar performance of SIAC in 2018. In 2017, Singapore was ranked the 3rd most preferred seat of arbitration in the world, and SIAC was the 3rd most preferred arbitration institution in the world. Parties need to have an effective way to resolve cross border transactions, and arbitration has proven to be the best solution to resolve those disputes. Arbitration gives us, among others, a flexible procedure, speedy resolution, low cost, suitability for complex dispute, confidentiality, and international enforceability.

Panel Session I: Contemporary Damages Principles in International Arbitration

The first panel discussed the contemporary damages principles. Dr. Mohamed Idwan (‘Kiki’) Gani (Managing Partner of Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo) moderated a panel of distinguished speakers comprising Mr. Andi Kadir (Partner of HHP Law Firm), Mr. Ignatius Andy S.H. (Partner, Ignatius Andy Law Offices), Mr. Simon Barrie Sasmoyo (Senior Associate of Assegaf Hamzah & Partners), and Mr. Simon Dunbar (Partner of King & Spalding).

Mr. Andy discussed the damages that can be recovered for a breach of contract claim which under Indonesian Civil Code (ICC) is comprised of compensation of cost, loss, and interest. An interesting point raised by Mr. Andi Kadir was the good faith concept in Indonesia and whether it is the “unruly horse” of the ICC. Good faith principle has been used to relax the application of the ICC, to make certain deviation on the calculation of damages. In relation to this, Indonesian courts do not provide a clear reasoning and do not provide a clear threshold when the parties and the court can invoke the notion of good faith. If there is a violation of justice, the court has the authority to apply the notion of good faith to rectify or remedy the situation, and it is in line with the principle of justice. This may create legal uncertainty. Similar concerns may also be noted from the open-ended notion of the public policy concept.

Mr. Sasmoyo continued the session by sharing his experience and practical tips. Based on his experience, he has seen the Tribunal grant liquidated damages because it is a more reasonable calculation by the parties as opposed to a penalty, which is punitive in nature. Therefore, stipulating exorbitant figures (e.g., twice or triple the contract amount) in the penalty clause would not be wise.

Mr. Dunbar discussed examples of typical damages clauses in a contract. Limitation of liability, no consequential loss, and liquidated damages provisions are generally treated as boilerplate provisions but have significant impact on the economics of the transaction. He emphasised the importance of clarity on what you want to exclude in the contract.

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Left to Right: Ignatius Andy S.H., Simon Dunbar,
Dr Mohamed Idwan (‘Kiki’) Ganie, Andi Kadir and Simon Barrie Sasmoyo

Members of the audience

Panel Session II: Quantifying Damages in Post-M&A Disputes

The second panel focused on quantifying damages in post M&A disputes, and was moderated by Mr. Cavinder Bull, SC. The speakers were Mr. Oommen Mathew (Managing Partner of DWF LLP), Mr. Iain Potter (MDD Forensic Accountants), Mr. Ajinderpal Singh (Senior Partner of Denton Rodyks & Davidson LLP), and Mr. Kabir Singh (Partner of Clifford Chance).

Mr. Mathew gave an overview on proof of damages including the preservation of evidence and providing the evidence in arbitration. Post-M&A disputes often arise out of breach of warranty provisions, fraudulent misrepresentation, and valuation or tax disputes. As such, the examination of the relevant documentary evidence would be crucial. Mr. Kabir Singh advised that being aware of the local limitation period is very important in the transaction. Mr. Ajinderpal Singh also shared practical insights on clauses relating to warranties by the seller, fraudulent misrepresentation, seller's limitation of liability, and notice period.

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Left to Right: Oommen Mathew, Iain Potter,
Cavinder Bull, SC, Ajinderpal Singh and Kabir Singh

Left to Right: Rob Palmer, Tony Budidjaja,
Chong Yee Leong and James Taylor


Panel Session III: Assessment of Damages in Construction Disputes

The last session of the conference was moderated by Mr. Chong Yee Leong (Member of SIAC Board of Directors). The panel members were Mr. Tony Budidjaja (Managing Partner of Budidjaja International Lawyers), Mr. Rob Palmer (Office Managing Partner of Ashurst LLP), and Mr. James Taylor (Senior Managing Director of FTI Consulting).

Mr. Taylor explained that typical causes of construction disputes generally include, among others, variation order, suspension of work, defective works, and payment delay. Mr. Palmer then explained the concept of concurrent delay in a construction project. In the Indonesian context, it can be contractually agreed by the parties to "share the risk". Finally, Mr. Budidjdja commented that the use of experts on the subject matter is needed because construction disputes are generally highly technical in nature and may require intensive fact-investigation. He also emphasised that the quality of the expert report will determine the speed of the arbitration proceedings.

The interesting and very informative conference concluded with brief closing remarks from Mr Chong.

24 June 2019
SIAC – SHCCIE Seminar 2019
By John Liu, Senior Partner, AllBright Law Offices


The SIAC – SHCCIE Seminar 2019 was titled “Advancing the BRI: Navigating the Legal Landscape”, and attracted around 50 practitioners, in-house counsel and professionals.

Ms. Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC) opened the session, reporting the outstanding performance of SIAC in 2018, as well as its excellent people (the SIAC Court of Arbitration and the SIAC Secretariat) and the state-of-the-art hearing facilities in Maxwell Chambers. Mr. Tony Zhang (Deputy Chairman, Shanghai Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export (“SHCCIE”)) followed with the opening address. He first reported the recent achievements and developments of the SHCCIE and then expressed the hope of continuing future event collaborations with SIAC.

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Left to Right: Mr Tony Zhang, Mr Nicolas Lum, Mr David Gu and Mr John Liu

Panel Session : Managing the Legal Risks and Use of Effective Dispute Resolution for BRI Investments

Dr. Li Shen (Chief Legal Officer, Noah Holdings) began with a speech titled “Private Equity Fund Investment Mode and Legal Risk Control in BRI Investment”. He introduced the advantages of PE investment, including the advantages of information in the industry sector, reducing the political risks of investment, broadening the channels of fund raising, and providing professional technology for mergers and acquisitions. He also stressed the risks in private equity investment, such as the short-term and medium-term risks of debt of leveraged buyouts, insider trading and the related moral risks, and the risks of the capital operations of the acquired enterprises. After that, he further emphasized the importance of selecting an internationally well-regarded arbitration institution, as the arbitration awards issued by a reputable arbitral institution are more likely to be recognized and enforced by other contracting States of the New York Convention.

Mr. David Gu (Partner, Tiantong Law Firm) then delivered a presentation titled “Introduction to International Arbitration for Chinese Enterprises: Arbitration Institutions, Arbitration Clauses and Arbitrators”. Mr. Gu gave a brief introduction to relevant aspects of international arbitration, in which the importance of selecting arbitrators was highlighted, as well as strategies and tips in the selection process. He also emphasized that parties should pay attention to the selection of arbitration institutions, the update of the rules of arbitration institutions and the constitution of arbitral tribunals. With regard to drafting of the dispute resolution clause, reference could be made to the model clauses of arbitration institutions.

Mr. John Liu (Senior Partner, AllBright Law Offices) spoke on the topic “Risk Prevention in Overseas Investments by Chinese Enterprises”. He pointed out that risk prevention could be divided into three levels. The first level is prevention in advance, namely compliance framework. If an enterprise completes compliance framework at an early stage, it could better avoid risks later. The second level is in-process prevention, which means the prevention awareness of relevant issues in the process, especially in the process of international trade. When encountering problems or potential risks, companies should work out how to respond. The third level is the post-event remedy. When disputes occur, companies should actively seek professional advice to resolve the disputes. The Chinese enterprises which go abroad should pay more attention to risk prevention.

After that, Mr. Nicholas Lum, Partner of Ince (Shanghai/Singapore offices) spoke on “The Notion of International Commercial Arbitration to Chinese Companies: Demystifying the Myths and Bridging the Cultural and Legal Differences”. He shared with the audience three (3) key points that Chinese companies need to keep in mind when “going out” and embarking on BRI projects. First, Chinese companies should be careful about using modest / non-confrontational tones (or not respond at all) as that may, at law, be argued to be behaviour viewed as concession or admission of fault, when there has clearly been no such intention at all. It was crucial to ensure that positions are properly set out and a proper paper trail established from the outset. Second, during the disclosure process in international arbitration, all evidence deemed relevant to the proceedings had to be disclosed, notwithstanding that such evidence may be adverse to one’s own case. This process has to be properly explained to Chinese companies, which may not be used to the same. Finally, the cross-examination of factual witnesses and experts in international arbitrations is a crucial part of a hearing - this is again quite different from a typical court or arbitration hearing in mainland China, and should be brought to the attention of Chinese companies.

Mr. Tony Zhang (Senior Partner, Co-effort Law Firm) gave a presentation on “Considerations for Selecting the Seat of Arbitration”. He pointed out that there are many legal, technical and procedural issues involved when choosing the seat of arbitration. The seat of arbitration determines the national court that has power to order interim measures in support of the arbitration, determine challenges of arbitrators and set aside the award, etc. During an arbitration, more attention should be paid to issues such as challenges of arbitrators and disclosure of challenge decisions. Therefore, he highly recommended arbitration institutions to disclose such information so as to ensure the transparency and fairness of the arbitration process.

Ms. Jianying Liu (Deputy Head (China), SIAC) moderated a panel comprising Mr. David Gu, Mr. John Liu, Mr. Nicolas Lum and Mr. Tony Zhang. The panelists shared valuable insights on dealing with disputes arising out of cross-border investments. Mr. Gu said that large companies should build a robust team with professional in-house counsel to deal with arbitration cases instead of entirely relying on outside attorneys. Mr. Liu emphasized that enterprises needed to pay more attention to the selection of arbitrators and drafting of arbitration clauses, equip themselves with more knowledge and skills to be fully prepared for unforeseen challenges. Mr. Lum advised that in-house counsel of Chinese companies should take note of pertinent clauses in cross-border contracts (governed by common law) which may be interpreted differently from what one would expect under the Chinese civil law regime. In the event that a matter resulted in a dispute, Mr. Lum stressed that it was vital that suitable steps be taken (whether strategic or legal in nature) to try and resolve it promptly, which would no doubt result in a saving of time and costs for parties. Mr. Zhang indicated that as the world of international arbitration is a professional playing field,practitioners experienced in arbitration should be engaged to represent the parties in an international arbitration case.

Mr Leo Liu Rundong, Deputy Head (China), SIAC concluded the event with brief closing remarks.

6 June 2019
SIAC Announces Appointment of New Court Members


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of new members to its Court of Arbitration.

Fourteen new members have been appointed to SIAC's Court of Arbitration, which continues under the leadership of Mr Gary Born as its President. The new Court members are:

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

SIAC would like to express its heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the three outgoing Court members, Mr Paul Friedland, Mr Emmanuel Gaillard, and Mr Jan Paulsson, as well as the outgoing Board member, Mr Nishith Desai, for their dedication, commitment and unstinting support. During their term of service, SIAC achieved a number of significant milestones, notably its ranking as the 3rd most preferred arbitral institution in the world in the prestigious Queen Mary University of London and White & Case International Arbitration Survey, which underscores its position as the most preferred arbitral institution in Asia.

SIAC's Board of Directors continues under the chairmanship of Mr Davinder Singh, SC, who commented, “I would like to thank our outgoing director, Nishith, for his invaluable contributions to SIAC. I am delighted to be working again with Gary, my fellow Board members and the team at SIAC to continue to deliver the highest levels of service and innovation to users all over the world.”

Mr Gary Born said of the new Court appointments, “We are indebted to our outgoing Court members, Emmanuel, Jan and Paul, for their hard work and tremendous contributions. It is a great pleasure to be working again with Davinder, the Court and the SIAC team. I extend a warm welcome to our new Court members whose illustrious reputations and stature in the international arbitration community and deep specialist knowledge across diverse legal systems and cultures will ensure that SIAC remains at the forefront of cutting-edge developments in the law and practice of commercial as well as investment arbitration.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “We are extremely grateful to the Board and the Court for their extraordinary efforts and contributions in putting SIAC firmly on the world map, and wish to express our special thanks to Davinder and Gary for their visionary, and truly inspirational, leadership and guidance. With their wealth of experience and unmatched dynamism, we are confident that SIAC will burnish its standing as a global leader in dispute resolution services.”

The members of SIAC's Board of Directors are as follows:

1. Mr Davinder Singh, SC – Davinder Singh Chambers LLC, Singapore (Chairman)
2. Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC – Essex Court Chambers Duxton (Singapore Group Practice), Singapore (Deputy Chairman)
3. Mr Chong Yee Leong – Allen & Gledhill LLP, Singapore
4. Mr David Liu – Jun He Law Offices, China
5. Mr Rajiv K Luthra – L&L Partners (formerly Luthra & Luthra Law Offices), India
6. Dr Michael Moser – 20 Essex Street, Hong Kong SAR
7. Mr Chelva R. Rajah, SC – Tan Rajah & Cheah, Singapore
8. Mr Tham Sai Choy Singapore

The members of SIAC's Court of Arbitration are as follows:

1. Mr Gary Born – Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, UK (President)
2. Dr Michael Pryles AO PBM – Melbourne, Australia (Founder President)
3. Mr Cavinder Bull, SC – Drew & Napier LLC, Singapore (Vice President)
4. Prof Lucy Reed – Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore, Singapore (Vice President)
5. Ms Catherine Amirfar – Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, USA
6. Dr Claudia Annacker – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, France
7. Mr John P. Bang – Bae, Kim & Lee LLC, South Korea
8. Ms Yas Banifatemi Shearman & Sterling, France
9. Ms Julie Bedard – Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates, USA
10. Mr Nigel Blackaby Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, USA
11. Prof Lawrence Boo – The Arbitration Chambers, Singapore
12. Mr Cao Lijun – Zhong Lun Law Firm, China
13. Mr K. Minh Dang – YKVN, Vietnam
14. Ms Jessica Fei – King & Wood Mallesons, China
15. Prof Bernard Hanotiau – Hanotiau & van den Berg, Belgium
16. Mr Eri Hertiawan Assegaf Hamzah & Partners, Indonesia
17. Mr Tejas Karia – Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co., India
18. Mr Darius Khambata, SC – India
19. Mr Toby Landau QC – Essex Court Chambers Duxton (Singapore Group Practice) and Essex Court Chambers (London), Singapore and UK
20. Mr Fernando Mantilla-Serrano – Latham & Watkins LLP, France
21. Ms K. Shanti Mogan Shearn Delamore & Co., Malaysia
22. Ms Shaneen Parikh Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, India
23. Dr Eun Young Park – Kim & Chang, South Korea
24. Mr Philippe Pinsolle Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Switzerland
25. Mr Harish Salve, SC Blackstone Chambers, India
26. Mr John Savage QC – King & Spalding LLP, UK
27. Mr Michael E. Schneider – Lalive, Switzerland
28. Ms Abby Cohen Smutny – White & Case LLP, USA
29. Mr Thomas Snider Al Tamimi & Co., UAE
30. Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka – Nishimura & Asahi, Japan
31. Mr Alan Thambiayah – The Arbitration Chambers, Singapore
32. Ms Ariel Ye – King & Wood Mallesons, China
33. Mr Alvin Yeo, SC – WongPartnership LLP, 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

4 June 2019
SIAC-Japan Association of Arbitrators Tokyo (JAA) Conference 2019
By Stephanie Cameron and Yudai Nagaishi, Ashurst LLP


The theme of the 2019 SIAC-JAA Tokyo Conference was "Perils and Precautions in Complex Disputes: Navigating Multiple Contracts, Multiple Parties and Multiple Proceedings".

The conference opened with a welcome address by Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC) who energetically outlined why the 21st century in arbitration will be "the century of Asia". She noted that Japan in particular is an economic powerhouse, and that with Japanese investments and projects across all corners of the globe, there is a need for a dispute resolution process that is not only fast paced, but which also provides quality and efficiency. She suggested that SIAC is well placed to provide this service, given that it is currently the preferred arbitral institution in Asia – and SIAC is committed to continuing to provide arbitral service with a personal touch.

Mr Chan Leng Sun SC (Deputy Chairman, SIAC Board of Directors; Senior Counsel and Arbitrator, Essex Court Chambers Duxton) delivered an opening address with a reference to a quote inspired by the popular TV show, Game of Thrones: "We can only help people from a position of strength, and a position of strength comes from cooperation". He noted that the Memorandum of Understanding between SIAC and JAA is a step in the direction of achieving such cooperation, and is also a strong commitment to continuing to have conferences and training programs in both Japan and Singapore, in an effort to ensure there is a trusted system available to parties in order to resolve complex disputes.

The second opening address was delivered by Mr Yoshimasa Furuta (Managing Director, JAA; Partner, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune), who summarised some of the key developments in recent years in relation to international arbitration in Japan. These developments include the launch of the Japan International Dispute Resolution Center (JIDRC) in Osaka in May 2018, the establishment of the Japan International Mediation Center (JIMC) in Kyoto, and the commitment to establish another hearing venue in Tokyo by March 2020. He also noted JAA's commitment to continuing to leverage international dispute resolution opportunities in Japan.

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Members of the audience

Left to Right: Chong Yee Leong, Ronnie King,
Gai Matsushita, Zachary Sharpe and Masako Takahata

Panel Session I: Drafting Precautions into the Contract

The first panel of the day addressed the topic "Drafting Precautions into the Contract" and was moderated by Mr Gai Matsushita (Partner, Innoventier LPC). The panellists were Mr Chong Yee Leong (Member, SIAC Board of Directors; Partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP), Mr Ronnie King (Managing Partner, Ashurst Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo), Mr Zachary Sharpe (Partner, Jones Day) and Ms Masako Takahata (General Counsel, Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation).

This session had a particular focus on transactions giving rise to a risk of parallel proceedings, and how for clients, a big risk is incurring large costs running parallel proceedings that may all be dealing with the same few issues related to one project. The panellists noted that a major benefit of SIAC arbitration is the joinder and consolidation provisions, however they noted that there was some scope for discussion around the meaning of "compatible" in the context of the SIAC rule permitting consolidation. Rule 8.1(c) of the SIAC Rules 2016 provides that one of the grounds under which proceedings may be consolidated is if the arbitration agreements are “compatible,” among other requirements.

During discussions, Mr Matsushita raised an interesting question: "What should be done if parties cannot agree on the seat of the arbitration?" This prompted some useful observations from the panellists. Mr Sharpe noted that often the client is actually more concerned about the venue of the hearing, and not the seat, and that therefore the parties could discuss holding the arbitration in a location that is different to the seat of the arbitration. Mr King noted that the parties could leave this issue silent, noting that the 2016 SIAC Rules provide that if the parties have not agreed on the seat then the Tribunal will make a determination. Mr Chong raised a logistical point, that some seats do not allow foreign arbitrators to work – and therefore this is an important factor to consider. Finally, Ms Takahata noted that from an in-house counsel point of view, having a favourable seat is the most important aspect of the arbitration agreement.

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Left to Right: Chris Bailey, Christopher Chuah, Hiroyuki Tezuka,
Kap-You (Kevin) Kim and Elaine Wong

Left to Right: Lars Markert, Junya Naito, Chan Leng Sun, SC,
Iain Potter, Farhad Sorabjee and Ing Loong Yang

Panel Session II: Can I Resolve my Dispute in a Single Forum? Procedural Tools and Strategic Considerations

Panel Session II was moderated by Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Executive Director, JAA; Partner, Nishimura & Asahi).

The panellists were Mr Christopher Chuah (Partner, and Head – Infrastructure, Construction & Engineering Practice, WongPartnership LLP), Mr Kap-You (Kevin) Kim (Partner, Bae, Kim & Lee LLC) and Ms Elaine Wong (Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills GJBJ).

In this session, Mr Chuah first briefly presented on the basic concepts related to parallel proceedings under the SIAC Rules and the approach to "res judicata" from both the English law and civil law perspectives. Mr Kim and Ms Wong then elaborated on issues related to parallel proceedings. Mr Kim focused on joinder and consolidation proceedings and arbitrator appointments, and explained how joinder and consolidation can affect the existing arbitration proceedings depending on the timing of an application for joinder. Ms Wong explained how common procedural tools such as bifurcation, stays, and anti-suit injunctions can be used, with reference to the model law requirement.

In the discussion, one of the questions raised was "what happens if a third party requesting to join (a joinder party) proposes to the existing parties that the existing parties consent to the joinder in exchange for the joinder party waiving its right to seek revocation by the Court of arbitrators appointed prior to joinder?" Mr Kim noted that it is actually a common tactics that he uses when he represents a joinder party. Mr Kim added that the existing parties usually tend to accept such a proposal. He stated that before seeking to negotiate such a position, the joinder party should carefully consider the potential impact that such a waiver could have.

Panel Session III: Minimizing Perils in Parallel Proceedings

Panel Session III was moderated by Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC.

The panellists were Mr Lars Markert (Partner, Nishimura & Asahi), Mr Junya Naito (Partner, Momo-o, Matsuo & Namba), Mr Iain Potter (Director, MDD Forensic Accountants, Singapore), Mr Farhad Sorabjee (Partner, J. Sagar Associates) and Mr Ing Loong Yang (Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP).

In this session, the panellists focused on discussing parallel proceedings in the context of the same or similar claims being dealt with by different courts or arbitral tribunals, as opposed to the claims being heard in a single forum (which was the focus of Panel Session II).

Mr Naito explained how confidentiality under arbitration proceedings is well protected, especially when compared with Japanese court proceedings. He noted that all proceedings and court records in a Japanese court proceeding are in effect open to the public.

Mr Yang focused on the problems arising out of res judicata. He explained that res judicata between the same sort of proceedings (court vs court or arbitral tribunal vs arbitral tribunal) can be dealt with consistently, but that there is no consistent approach at the international level to resolve issues of res judicata between a court and a tribunal. This was an interesting observation and made us wonder whether a unified approach should be established at the international level.

Mr Markert introduced "guerrilla tactics" in international arbitrations and emphasized that the multi-jurisdictional nature of international arbitration makes it difficult to find a "one size fits all" approach and that possible options should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Mr Sorabjee explained how the risk of parallel proceedings in India could be minimized. He noted that specifically excluding some of the provisions of Indian arbitration law in the arbitration clause would be sensible to avoid multiplicity and delay by the Indian courts.

Finally, Mr Potter presented on the key considerations for quantum. He noted that changes in the factual matrix should be carefully considered when dealing with parallel proceedings.

4 June 2019
SIAC Signs Memoranda of Understanding with the Japan Association of Arbitrators and the Japan International Dispute Resolution Center

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each of the Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA) and the Japan International Dispute Resolution Center (JIDRC) to promote international arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution for resolving international disputes.

Both MOUs were entered into during a signing ceremony on 4 June 2019 at the SIAC-JAA Tokyo Conference 2019.

The MOU between SIAC and JAA was signed by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Mr Akira Kawamura, President of JAA. During the signing ceremony, Ms Lim signed the MOU on behalf of SIAC, and Mr Yoshimasa Furuta, an Executive Director of JAA, affixed the JAA seal to the MOU. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Deputy Chairman of the SIAC Board of Directors; Mr Chong Yee Leong, Member of the SIAC Board of Directors; Mr Nozomu Ohara, Vice President of JAA; and Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka, an Executive Director of JAA.

The MOU between SIAC and JIDRC was signed by Ms Lim Seok Hui and Mr Yoshimitsu Aoyama, the Representative Board Member of JIDRC. During the signing ceremony, Ms Lim signed the MOU on behalf of SIAC, and Mr Nozomu Ohara, Board Member of JIDRC, affixed the JIDRC seal to the MOU. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Deputy Chairman of the SIAC Board of Directors; Mr Chong Yee Leong, Member of the SIAC Board of Directors; Mr Yoshimasa Furuta, Deputy Secretary General of JIDRC, and Ms Chieko Tsuchiya, Deputy Secretary General of JIDRC.

Under the MOUs, SIAC will work with each of JAA and JIDRC to jointly promote international arbitration through co-organising conferences, seminars, workshops and training programmes on international arbitration in Japan and Singapore.

Mr Akira Kawamura, President of JAA, said, "We are pleased to deepen our ties with SIAC through this MOU, and firmly believe that this collaboration marks an important milestone in our continued efforts to jointly promote the benefits of international arbitration to the legal and business communities in Japan."

Mr Yoshimitsu Aoyama, Representative Board Member of JIDRC, said, “We look forward to working closely with SIAC to make international arbitration the preferred form of dispute resolution for Japanese companies and businesses to resolve their cross-border commercial and investment disputes with enhanced efficiency, expedition and enforceability.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “SIAC is honoured and delighted to be able to contribute to the growth of the international arbitration community in Japan, which is a top foreign user of SIAC. Our partnerships with JAA and JIDRC will provide an excellent platform both to promote the law and practice of international arbitration to Japanese users as well as to nurture and develop the next generation of international arbitration experts in Japan.”


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 May 2019
SIAC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Shanghai 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 Shanghai International Arbitration Center (SHIAC) to promote international arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution for resolving international disputes.

The MOU was signed on 24 May 2019 at the inaugural Singapore-Shanghai Comprehensive Cooperation Council meeting, by Ms Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of SIAC, and Mr Ma Yi, Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of SHIAC. The signing was witnessed by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster for Finance, Singapore; Mr Ying Yong, Mayor of Shanghai; Mr Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, Singapore; and Mr Xu Kunlin, Vice Mayor of Shanghai.

Under the MOU, SIAC and SHIAC will work together to jointly promote international arbitration to serve the needs of businesses. SIAC and SHIAC 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 Shanghai or by SHIAC 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 Ma Yi, Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of SHIAC, said, “Singapore and Shanghai are both leading international financial and legal services hubs. 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 partnership with SHIAC, and look forward to further strengthening our ties with key stakeholders in the Chinese legal and business communities through this collaboration, to make international arbitration the preferred mode of dispute resolution for Chinese parties.”


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

22 May 2019
YSIAC Club event: What are the challenges to the growth of arbitration in Singapore in the upcoming decade?
By Lee Chia Ming, Senior Associate, Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP


It was only fitting that the YSIAC marked its first YSIAC Club event of 2019 by tackling the question on the minds of many members of the arbitration community: What are the challenges to the growth of arbitration in Singapore in the upcoming decade?

The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Benson Lim (Member of the YSIAC Committee; Senior Associate, Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee). In line with the purpose of a YSIAC Club event, the moderator and panellists were all younger members of the arbitration community. True to form, panel moderator Adriana Uson (Member of the YSIAC Committee; Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright) kept things lively and youthful by asking each panellist to describe how they would introduce themselves on Twitter, leading to much laughter and amusement all round.

Adriana swiftly moved on to outline Singapore’s position as the 3rd most popular seat of arbitration and the country’s key strengths. She began the discussion proper by asking panellists how much further Singapore could improve and their thoughts on the future of arbitration in Singapore.

Taking up the invitation, panellist Matthew Brown (Senior Associate, Clifford Chance Asia) spoke on the increasingly diverse options in Singapore, although he cautioned that Singapore ought not to take its privileged status for granted. Matthew highlighted the International Commercial Court in Singapore as an example of Singapore’s status as an international dispute resolution hub and how this was part of a worldwide trend. Other instances across the world abound: the Paris International Commercial Court which permits experienced English commercial judges to apply English law, specialist courts such as the Frankfurt specialist financial chamber, and the XiAn International Commercial Court set up in view of BRI projects.

Matthew also assessed what the SICC meant as an alternative option to SIAC arbitration. While the SICC helped to grow the pie for Singapore, it would to some extent compete with SIAC since both deal with international judges and foreign laws. As court decisions are public, there might be a perception that the SICC would apply the law more rigorously than an arbitral tribunal. Nevertheless, arbitration also retains strong advantages, such as the ease of enforceability of awards in other countries under the New York Convention, the right to party-appointed arbitrators, and perceived neutrality of the tribunal.

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Left to Right: Matthew Brown, Roger Milburn, Pauline Low, Kevin Elbert, Benson Lim and Adriana Uson

Members of the audience

Kevin Elbert (Associate, TSMP Law Corporation) expanded on how the suite of dispute resolution options in Singapore—namely SIAC, SICC, and SIMC—were particularly useful in the context of IPTMT practice, where relief in domestic courts could be limited. He also mentioned possible future changes to the International Arbitration Act that would permit a party to appeal to the Singapore Courts on a point of law, following the approach of jurisdictions such as Hong Kong. As a true blue IP-TMT lawyer, Kevin highlighted that at the end of the day how Singapore decides to take itself forward would depend on “what USP it is trying to sell” to its end users.

Chiming in on this note, Pauline Low (Associate Counsel, SIAC) pointed out that arbitration no longer stands alone nowadays. Rather, hybrid dispute resolution mechanisms are being seen with increasing frequency, particularly in the context of BRI disputes. Pauline also noted that the Arb-Med-Arb procedure in arbitration had an advantage over mediation, primarily because the former meant that a standing tribunal would be ready to decide the dispute if no settlement could be reached.

The next topic of extensive discussion related to a notorious feature of arbitration: high costs. All the speakers recognised that expanding costs are a real bugbear for arbitration users. Often, costs are exacerbated due to the tendency of arbitrators to err on the side of permissiveness so as to safeguard against an award being set aside.

In this context, Roger Milburn (Investment Manager, Litigation Capital Management) shed light on the third party funding scene in Singapore arbitrations. Roger explained that while third party funding is theoretically available to any Singapore-seated arbitration, in reality funders typically have a strict screening process—Litigation Capital Management themselves only take on about 4-5% of potential cases globally! The funder’s main concern is retaining its investment. However, it is also a concern whether, even if the client ultimately prevails in arbitration, the funders would recover very little after funders’ costs and lawyers’ costs are paid out. On this note, Pauline helpfully brought attention to the SIAC 2017 Practice Note which permits the Tribunal to take into account any third-party funding arrangements in apportioning the costs of the arbitration.

The panel then moved on to engage with audience questions, such as whether trade wars are good for arbitration (short answer: on balance the cynical lawyer would say yes to more disputes!) and how Singapore plans to become a seat beyond the region. In this regard, the panellists were unequivocal about Singapore’s competitive strengths as a seat. These include its neutrality, integrity, and the responsive and fast-paced amendment of legislation that brings Singapore in line with international best practices for arbitration. Examples of this adaptability include third party funding, early dismissal of claims, and expedited arbitration procedures. While other countries beyond the region might pose competition, Singapore’s robust court system and nimble legislation would be difficult to replicate.

Following the intellectual download, we all adjourned for much anticipated refreshments and a time of networking. It was a natural and wonderful end to a refreshing evening (no pun intended) during which we heard perspectives shared from younger members of the international arbitration community and had much-needed lateral discussions. It was particularly helpful that the points canvassed looked not only to challenges posed by other countries to Singapore in the future of arbitration, but also fleshed out the interplay of SIAC arbitration with other modes of dispute resolution in international courts (including our very own SICC), mediation, and hybrid dispute resolution mechanisms.

It will certainly be interesting to look back, in a decade’s time, on the evening’s discussions and predictions!


2 May 2019
SIAC Announces the Appointment of New Head (North East Asia)

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The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that Ms Michele Park Sonen has been appointed to the position of Head (North East Asia). Ms Sonen succeeds Ms Seah Lee who has left SIAC to pursue other career opportunities.

As Head (North East Asia), Michele will be based in Seoul, South Korea, and will oversee SIAC’s activities in South Korea and Japan.

Prior to joining SIAC, Michele worked in the international dispute resolution practice of a leading law firm in Seoul, where she focused on international commercial arbitration. Ms Sonen is qualified as an attorney in the United States, and she previously served as law clerk to a federal appeals court judge and a federal district court judge in the United States.

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “We are delighted to welcome Michele to the SIAC team. Her experience in both common law and civil law jurisdictions will allow her to bring a very useful perspective as she discharges her duties. We look forward to working with Michele to deepen and broaden our engagement with key stakeholders in the international arbitration community in South Korea and Japan.”


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 April 2019
YSIAC Advocacy Workshop, Bengaluru
By Dhanush. M, Associate, AZB & Partners


On the morning of April 27, 2019, eminent members of the arbitration bar and enthusiasts alike converged to master oral advocacy skills at the YSIAC arbitration workshop organised under the aegis of SIAC in Bengaluru, India. The Workshop was designed to provide a deeper understanding of the nuances involved in arbitration cross-examination proceedings by bringing several experienced arbitration practitioners together. The Workshop material given to the participants consisted of a mock factual scenario and two witness statements on behalf of the Claimant and the Respondent.

The Workshop kicked off with a welcome address by Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO, SIAC), where she welcomed the audience to the workshop and expressed her special gratitude to the YSIAC Committee members. Many of these members had flown in from different corners of the country and the world to participate in the workshop. Ms Lim highlighted that the fact that 1000 members of the 3288 members of YSIAC were from India was a testament to the important role of India in the growth of SIAC.

Thereafter, Mr. Lomesh Kiran (Partner, Indus Law and a YSIAC Committee member) briefly introduced the factual scenario: the Government of Indonesia had released a tender for developing a nuclear power plant in Indonesia. This was secured by the Royal Istana Constructors Corporation of Indonesia as developers (the Claimant) in April 2015. The tender required the Claimant to complete the plant by March 2017. The Claimant, through a contract, secured the services of Nucleus Energy group of the United Kingdom as contractors (the Respondent) for the construction of the plant. The Plant was completed and commissioned only in August 2017. The Claimant then commenced arbitration proceedings in Singapore with SIAC, claiming damages of 6 million dollars for the delay and rescission of the contract for misrepresentation. The Respondent counterclaimed 5 million dollars.

The underlying contract did not envisage a timetable for the completion of the project. The Claimant alleged that, during the negotiations, the Respondent had assured the Claimant that the plant would be completed in 12 months from January 8, 2016, as the Respondent could divert many of the parts from the power plant projects it had discontinued in Algeria. The parts were currently stored in Texas and as such were already fabricated, and were only required to be shipped and assembled at the site in Indonesia.

The Claimant alleged that the Respondent never had any plant components that were already fabricated and ready to be shipped as of January 8, 2016. The Respondent denied that it had made any representations as to the timeline for completion, and that it had always made clear that any discussion about the timeline was only indicative, because the nuclear plant parts had to be significantly modified or re-fabricated in order to suit the site in Indonesia.

With the abovementioned factual background as the reference point, the workshop provided for a mock cross-examination of factual witnesses by many leading counsel, which was presided over by a three-member Tribunal. The Tribunal was comprised of Mr. Dhyan Chinappa (Senior Advocate, Karnataka High Court), Mr. C.K Nandakumar (Advocate, Law Chambers of C.K Nandakumar) and Mr. Prakash Pillai (Partner, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore).

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Members of the audience

Speakers during the YSIAC Oral Advocacy Workshop

The first session involved cross-examination by the Respondent's Counsel, played by Mr. Nikhilesh Rao, (Partner, Khaitan & Co) and Ms Sonali Mathur (Partner, AZB &Partners and a YSIAC Committer Member). They questioned the Claimant`s witnesses, played by Ms. Sneha Nagraj (Partner, Frontier Legal) and Mr. Karthikey Mahajan (Associate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and a YSIAC Committee Member).

The line of questions framed by counsel for the Respondents was intended to elicit response in respect of the following:- (i) whether the claimant was cognisant of the difficult geographical conditions prevailing in Indonesia, making it impossible for the Respondent to complete the plant within the period of one year; (ii) the factual basis of the Claimant’s statement that the Respondent had assured the Claimants of completing the nuclear power plant within twelve months; (iii) whether the Claimant could terminate the contract after the terms of the contract were fulfilled i.e.,the nuclear plant was completed; and (iv) whether the Claimant was cognizant of the labour strike which impeded the Respondent from completing his contract.

The second session involved cross-examination by Claimant`s counsel, played by Mr. Bharat Chugh (Partner Designate, L& L Partners Law Offices and a YSIAC Committee Member) and Mr. Ian de Vaz (Partner, Wong Partnership LLP). They directed their queries to the Respondent`s witnesses, played by Mr Ian Lewis (Advocate, Karnataka High Court) and Mr. Vikas Mahendra (Partner, Keystone Partners).

The line of questioning put forth by the Claimant’s counsel in cross-examination was intended to elicit response in respect of the following:- (i) whether the Respondent had undertaken an assessment of the technical feasibility of the parts of the nuclear reactor which were intended to be moved to Indonesia; (ii) whether there was any correspondence on record by the Respondent that highlighted the need to modify parts of the power plant stored in Texas to suit the local conditions in Indonesia; (iii) whether the power plant was commissioned on the scheduled date; (iii) whether the Respondent had taken steps to verify the technical feasibility of the parts of the power plant stored in Texas; (iv) whether the reasons for delay in completion of the power plant were attributable to the Respondent; and (v) whether there was any correspondence by the Respondent enquiring about the counterclaims, prior to the issuance of the arbitration notice.

Thereafter, the members of the Tribunal held a panel discussion, where they elaborated on the steps involved in conducting a successful cross-examination. Mr. C.K Nanadakumar emphasised the importance of having mastery over the facts of the case as the hallmark of a good cross-examiner.

Mr. Dhyan Chinappa stressed the need to “think through the case” – which would invariably provide new insights on the case at one`s disposal. He also emphasised that it was imperative that cross-examiners create an environment of trust with the witness in order to elicit relevant facts.

Mr. Prakash Pillai emphasised that cross-examination was more about the “don’ts” than the “do’s”. Mr. Pillai that one should refrain from open-ended questions, where the witness can deftly deviate from the questions he is required to answer. Instead, one should endeavour to frame close-ended questions, where the witness is bound to reply with a “Yes” or a “No”. Mr. Pillai concluded the panel discussion by highlighting that one should not over-estimate the importance of cross-examination with regards to the final outcome of the arbitral proceedings as it is only a tool to disprove the case of one's opponent. Arbitrations are won or lost on the strength of one's own case.

The workshop was well received by the Indian legal and business community and attracted more than 50 delegates, comprising practicing lawyers, in-house counsel, students and academics.

24 April 2019
Arbitration Speed Conferencing with SIAC and DIS
By Derric Yeoh, Associate, Schellenberg Wittmer (Singapore)


On 24 April 2019, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the German Institute of Arbitration (DIS) held Arbitration Speed Conferencing at Maxwell Chambers. The event aimed to give participants an insight into the distinct elements of the 2018 Arbitral Rules – the “DIS Rules” – as well as bring together arbitration practitioners from Singapore and Germany. The “speed conferencing” aspect of the afternoon entailed the organisation of participants into four groups. Speakers and moderators rotated between these groups, discussing four concepts of international arbitration: the burden of proof in document production, the facilitation of settlement in arbitrations, expert management, and ex parte interim relief granted by the arbitral tribunal. Over 70 attendees from law firms, arbitral institutions, and private companies gathered as the event begun.

Dr Christopher Boog, partner and vice-chair of Schellenberg Wittmer, opened by expressing his hope that this event would foster dialogue between practitioners of different legal backgrounds, leading to improved arbitration practices in both Singapore and Germany. The format of a speed conference facilitated this goal of intimate collaboration as participants were able to actively interact with all the speakers and moderators – including Mr Peter Wolrich (Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, Paris), Dr Peter Heckel (an independent arbitrator), Ms Lijun Chui (Clifford Chance Asia, Singapore), and Ms Gerui Lim (Drew & Napier LLC, Singapore).

Both Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO of SIAC) and Ms Francesca Mazza (Secretary General of the DIS) shared the innovations and statistics of their respective institutions in their opening remarks. Ms Lim Seok Hui described the arbitration community’s warm reception of SIAC’s expedited procedure, while Ms Francesca Mazza shared a DIS-developed remedy to a pattern she often observed during arbitration proceedings. Often, parties wanted to settle the matter but found it was not conducive to do so once the arbitration had commenced. She illustrated this sentiment of the parties with a quote from the film, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”:

“There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said – no. But somehow we missed it.”

Ms Francesca Mazza explained that the DIS had addressed this problem through Article 26 of the DIS Rules, which states that “Unless any party objects thereto, the arbitral tribunal shall, at every stage of the arbitration, seek to encourage an amicable settlement of the dispute or of individual disputed issues.

Mr Peter Wolrich and Dr Peter Heckel continued to speak about the DIS Rules, outlining some of their unique civil law aspects. A particularly striking feature was in relation to Annex 3 of the Rules, which described the arbitral tribunal’s ability to provide a preliminary non-binding assessment of factual and legal issues in the arbitration. This promotes a settlement as parties can ascertain the strength of their cases. If the parties decide against settling, the preliminary assessment remains a useful tool for parties to prepare their submissions – they can tailor their submissions to address the concerns of the arbitral tribunal expressed in the assessment.

After discussing the DIS Rules, the four groups split away and dove into specific topics of discussion as the speed conferencing portion of the afternoon began.

Burden of proof and document production issues

Participants engaged with Peter Wolrich regarding the burden of proof in document production, speaking about how, in most legal jurisdictions, the party asserting the claim shoulders the burden of proof. However, in instances of medical malpractice where the doctor possesses almost all of the relevant documents, some civil law jurisdictions allow for the burden of proof to be shifted to the doctor. Other common law jurisdictions accommodate this issue by broadening the scope of document production requests.

The facilitation of settlement in arbitrations

In a discussion about the facilitation of settlement of arbitrations in Article 26 of the DIS Rules, Dr Peter Heckel said it was particularly difficult to show the counsel and parties that a settlement was possible even at a later stage of arbitration. He illustrated the feasibility of a high rate of settlement by giving an example of a Frankfurt judge, one who had not tried any cases for the past few years given his effectiveness in promoting settlements. Dr Peter Heckel also observed from his personal experience that parties often reached a point where they were more willing to settle than their lawyers were.

Participants expressed concerns that parties could possibly exploit the preliminary assessment by the arbitral tribunal intended to facilitate settlement – Annex 3 of the DIS Rules – as evidence of the tribunal’s partiality and bias. However, Dr Peter Heckel explained that this was unlikely in reality, especially if the arbitral tribunal was careful in their presentation of assessments.

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Left to Right: Peter Heckel, Lijun Chui, Peter Wolrich, Christopher Boog, Christopher Lau, SC, Francesca Mazza and Gerui Lim

Participants during the Speed Conferencing Sessions

Expert management

Ms Lijun Chui moderated the discussion on expert management – specifically in relation to Article 27.7 of the DIS Rules. This article states that “In the first case management conference or, if necessary, in additional case management conferences, the arbitral tribunal shall discuss with the parties whether to employ experts and, if so, how to conduct the expert procedure efficiently.” The participants came to the consensus that it was better to have the parties and the tribunal agree on the numbers of experts at the outset of negotiations. This would ensure that the timetable for the arbitration would not be disrupted by the need to appoint new experts throughout the process.

Throughout the discussions of tribunal-appointed experts, a discrepancy between the lawyers emerged. Civil law lawyers were accustomed to the idea while common law lawyers found the notion a foreign one.

Ex parte interim relief

The final discussion centred around Article 25 of the DIS Rules, a Rule that allows the arbitral tribunal to grant ex parte interim relief. Moderated by Ms Gerui Lim, this particular topic provoked a robust discussion. In an arbitration seated in Singapore, DIS’ Article 25 would cause a party to lose their recourse to the Singapore court for ex parte interim relief. This is a consequence of the Singaporean court’s stance that its power to grant interim relief is incidental to that of the tribunal. Therefore, it is possible that the Singapore court would not grant ex parte interim relief when such recourse is already available from the tribunal (see NCC International AB v Alliance Concrete Singapore Pte Ltd [2008] 2 SLR (R) 565).

Conclusion

The event closed as the moderators synthesised the discussion points raised by the four groups of participants. The SIAC-DIS speed conferencing session allowed both civil law and common law lawyers to be exposed to the different perspectives they respectively held on various features of international arbitration. This allowed for the cross-pollination of ideas, culminating in a deeper understanding of these two legal systems and a greater harmonisation in international arbitration.

13 April 2019
YSIAC Chennai Advocacy Workshop 2019
By Deepak Narayanan, Partner, BDN Chambers


April 13 2019 marked the dawn of the first YSIAC Advocacy workshop at the Taj Connemara in Chennai, India. The arbitration training workshop aimed to sharpen the skills of young practitioners by constructing a hypothetical dispute. Eminent arbitrators presided over a three-member Tribunal as participants embodied the roles of arbitrator, counsel, and witness in mock cross-examinations. In both the mock cross-examination sessions and the closing panel discussion, the event provided invaluable insights on how to conduct a successful cross-examination in international arbitration.

The workshop commenced with a warm welcome address from Ms. Lim Seok Hui, CEO, SIAC. Ms. Lim Seok Hui shared the objectives of YSIAC – to nurture and provide opportunities for young arbitrators – and spoke about SIAC’s expansion in India.

Mr. Ramesh Selvaraj (Co-Chair, YSIAC Committee and Partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP) then introduced the fictional case scenario - a conflict over a delay in commissioning a nuclear power plant. The underlying contract for the said project provided for a SIAC arbitration clause.

The first cross-examination session was presided over by Ms. Sheila Ahuja (Partner, Allen & Overy LLP), Mr Ganesh Chandru (Executive Partner, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan and Mr Jonathan Choo, Partner, Bird & Bird ATMD LLP) as members of the Tribunal. Mr. Anirudh Krishnan (Partner, AK Law Chambers) acted as the Respondent’s Counsel and Deepak Narayanan (Partner, BDN Chambers) was the Claimant’s first factual witness. In his role as counsel conducting the first cross-examination session, Mr. Krishnan started things off on a serious note with a mixture of open-ended and leading questions. Adding a dash of humour to the proceedings, Mr. Krishnan taunted witness Mr. Narayanan about his former role as a yoga instructor, leading Ms. Sheila Ahuja to comment “Yea, and you should definitely see some of his moves!

Subsequently, the second witness of the Claimant, Mr. Vishnu Mohan (Advocate, Madras High Court), was cross-examined by Respondent’s Counsel, Mr. Tejas Karia (Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co). The session saw relentless questioning by Mr. Karia, who added another dimension of excitement to the proceedings by asking many questions which were not part of the Case Scenario to push the witness to a corner. This certainly made the session very stimulating (and fun for the audience!). The Tribunal also played a more active role and placed their own questions to both the witnesses as well as the Counsel. Nevertheless, Mr. Vishnu (the witness) adroitly tackled the questions and came out unscathed.

In the second session, Ms. Sheila Ahuja swapped her role with Mr. Tejas Karia as the Claimant’s counsel and Mr. Karia took charge as an arbitrator. Mr. Thriyambak J Kannan, (Partner, Assentio Legal), played the part of Respondent’s first witness. Ms. Ahuja – who initially stuck to the traditional method of asking leading questions – varied her tactics to keep the witness guessing and extract favourable answers from him. In return, Mr. Kannan played an excellent witness and tackled all the questions with confidence. The tug of war between the relentless stream of questions from Ms. Ahuja and the intrepid manner in which Mr. Kannan answered them made this session all the more scintillating. Mr Kannan certainly lived up to his Case Scenario stage name – Harvey Spector! Furthermore, the Tribunal continued to be inquisitorial and at a certain time were asking more questions to the witness than Ms. Ahuja.

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Members of the audience

Group photo of speakers at the YSIAC Chennai Advocacy Workshop

The final session included Ms Khushboo Shahdadpuri (Associate, Al Tamimi & Company) playing the part of the Claimant’s Counsel, and Witness Mr P. Giridharan (Advocate, Madras High Court) playing the Respondent’s second witness. Ms. Shahdapuri’s solemn tone of questioning, coupled with Mr. Girish’s rather reassuring disposition, led to a highly realistic rendition of a cross-examination session in arbitration.

A rewarding panel discussion ensued thereafter, consisting of Ms Sheila Ahuja, Mr Ganesh Chandru, Mr Jonathan Choo and Mr Tejas Karia as panellists and Mr. Ramesh Selvaraj as the moderator. Mr. Selvaraj invited the panel to discuss the essentials of cross examination. The panel, in general, emphasised, inter alia, the importance of ‘asking leading questions’, ‘knowing the answer to the question you ask’ and on ‘prepping a witness’. Some notable takeaways from the discussions were Mr. Jonathan Choo’s advice on refraining from arguing with a witness – to avoid putting forth ‘suggestions’ as questions to witnesses. Mr. Chandru re-emphasised the importance of asking leading questions, but further added that there are some circumstances in which open-ended questions can serve to a counsel’s advantage. Ms. Ahuja and Mr. Karia, among others, discussed circumstances in which a Tribunal may overstep by asking many questions as the counsel may lose their flow due to interruptions.

The panel warmly invited questions from the audience in accordance with the interactive nature of the workshop. To a participant’s question on the ways to prep a witness, the Panel explained the importance of going through all the sets of facts in a case with the witness. The Panel also highlighted the danger of over-prepping a witness and noted that over-prepping may make the witness more defensive. This would lead the witness to think of all the legal implications before providing every answer, which would only serve to make the witness lose composure during such cross examination.

As the workshop drew to a close, the organisers thanked the Panel and participants for making themselves available from their busy schedules and making the event a great success. The members of the panel were, however, kind enough to stay back at the venue to provide advice to participants and answer further queries.

Overall, the workshop was a highly enriching experience. The diverse backgrounds of the participants underscored the diversity of international commercial arbitration. Overall, YSIAC’s efforts to organise such an event were highly commended and it is anticipated that the rising popularity of arbitration in India will see many more such events organised in the future.

29 March 2019
YSIAC Advocacy Workshop 2019, Kuala Lumpur
by Joyce Lim Hwee Yin, Associate, Skrine


The Young Singapore International Arbitration Centre (YSIAC) Advocacy Workshop (Workshop) was held on 29 March 2019 in Kuala Lumpur at the KL Bar Auditorium. The Workshop was essentially an arbitration training workshop focused on honing the advocacy skills of young arbitration practitioners.

The Workshop started off with a warm welcome address from Kevin Nash, the Deputy Registrar and Centre Director of SIAC.

Ramesh Selvaraj (Co-Chair of the YSIAC committee and Partner in Allen & Gledhill LLP) then introduced a hypothetical case scenario concerning a dispute involving a contract for the construction of a nuclear power plant. This was followed by Sessions 1 and 2 of the Workshop which featured a mock cross-examination of factual witnesses over the hypothetical case scenario.

PANEL DISCUSSION ON HOW TO CONDUCT A SUCCESSFUL CROSS-EXAMINATION

The panellists were Mr Francis Xavier, SC, PBM (Partner, Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP), Mr Nahendran Navaratnam, Partner, Navaratnam Chambers) and Ms Sharon Chong Tze Ying (Partner, Skrine).

Mr Xavier shared that in the course of cross-examination, counsel should put forth short and leading questions to the witnesses. Showing contradiction in the witness statements would only be useful if the contradiction is helpful to the counsel’s case. On the other hand, counsel should refrain from highlighting any contradiction if to do so would be detrimental to the counsel’s case.

Mr Navaratnam emphasised that counsel should not entirely rely on the witness statements because there may be gaps. Instead, cross-examination should be based on the facts that the counsel would like to emphasis and establish. Counsels are advised to utilise the time given for cross-examination wisely to elicit facts which would support the counsel’s own case and at the same time, gather evidence that would defeat the witness’ own version of the facts. Another tip would be that stopping a witness from completing his/her answers too quickly may result in the opponent having a chance to re-examine the witness.

Ms Chong shared that counsel should study the facts and documentary evidence in preparation of cross-examination carefully and focus on which questions to ask.

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Members of the audience

Group photo with speakers of the YSIAC Advocacy Workshop

Q&A SESSION

An interesting question was put to the panellists: should there be a difference in how counsel approaches cross-examination in arbitration when compared to litigation?

In response, the panellists highlighted that there is much less time for cross-examination in the course of arbitration than during a trial in court. Therefore, in arbitration, counsel should be focused on the points to be established in his/her case and be direct when questioning a witness.

The YSIAC Kuala Lumpur Advocacy Workshop provided an unrivalled opportunity for young arbitration practitioners to hone their advocacy skills, improve legal reasoning and gain pointers on how to conduct a successful cross-examination from experienced practitioners.

Ms Wendy Lin (Co-Chair of the YSIAC Committee and Partner of WongPartnership LLP) in her closing remarks explained that the key objective of the YSIAC Committee is to provide opportunities like these to train young practitioners.

7 March 2019
YSIAC Lunchtime Talk with Gary Born: Choice of Law Issues in International Arbitration
By Jill Ann Koh, Senior Associate, WongPartnership LLP


The YSIAC hosted a lunchtime talk with Mr Gary Born on 7 March 2019 at WongPartnership LLP. The talk was met with an overwhelming response of 350 registrants within just one week, which led Mr Born to express his surprise at the number of “international arbitration geeks” willing to spend lunch discussing the topic at hand – Choice of Law Issues in International Arbitration.

Over the course of an hour, Mr Born discussed the following three categories of choice of law issues.

Law governing international arbitration agreements

The first category arises primarily from the oft-cited presumption of separability, which recognises the arbitration agreement as an autonomous, independent agreement. A consequence of this presumption is the possibility that a different law, and thus a different choice of law analysis, can be applied to the arbitration agreement from that of the underlying contract.

In searching for the applicable choice of law rule, the rules governing the refusal of recognition or enforcement of an arbitral award in the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958) (New York Convention) and the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985, with amendments as adopted in 2006) (Model Law) provide some guidance. These state that an award may be denied recognition or enforcement if the agreement on which the award is based is not valid according to the parties’ chosen law, or failing any indication of this, the law of the country where the award was made. At first glance, this prescribes a seemingly sensible two-stage approach that, in the first stage, gives effect to party autonomy, and in the second stage, applies by default the law of the seat.

Problems can however arise from this.

First, a question arises as to whether a choice of law rule which is to apply at the end of the arbitral process (at the recognition and enforcement stage) can be interpreted to also apply at the start of the arbitral process.

The authorities are divided on this – half take the view that the strict wording of the New York Convention and Model Law does not permit this, and parties should be free to apply any choice of law rule at the beginning of the process. The other half adopt the opposite view that the same choice of law rule should apply at both ends of the arbitral process, as it would otherwise be incongruous that an arbitration agreement can be valid in some circumstances but not others.

The second problem arises from the reality that parties very often do not select a law specifically applicable to the arbitration agreement. Should the general choice of law clause in the underlying contract be interpreted to also extend to parties’ arbitration agreement? Again, the authorities diverge, with half taking the position, quite pragmatically, that the general choice of law clause should also apply to the arbitration agreement, since the separability doctrine would be unheard of to most businessmen.

Mr Born proffered his view of the best approach to take: that of the Swiss courts and legislature in applying a validation principle. This provides that an international arbitration agreement will be valid provided it is valid under either the law applicable to the underlying contract or the law of the seat. Such an approach selects and applies the law which will give effect to the arbitration agreement, which, as Mr Born opined, best comports with parties’ true intention that the arbitration agreement will be a valid and effective means of resolving their dispute.

Law governing the merits of the parties’ dispute

In choosing the law applicable to the substance of the parties’ dispute, Mr Born referred to Article 28 of the Model Law, which provides for a tribunal to apply either the rule of law chosen by the parties (Article 28(1)) or, absent an explicit or implicit choice by the parties, the law chosen by the tribunal (Article 28(2)).

Several observations were made. First, in referring to parties’ choice of a “rule of law” in Article 28(1) as distinguished from the “law” selected by the tribunal in Article 28(2), it is clear that the first limb of Article 28 permits parties to select other non-national rules of law, such as the UNIDROIT principles.

Second, Article 28(2) specifies that the tribunal must conduct a choice of law analysis, and it cannot simply directly apply a national law. Mr Born voiced his support for this approach, as choice of law rules do provide predictability and structure to parties’ relationship.


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Members of the audience

Left to Right: Wendy Lin, Lim Seok Hui, Gary Born and Andre Maniam, SC

Law governing the arbitral process

In contrast, issues relating to the procedural law are much simpler.

While the majority of cases apply the law of the seat as the procedural law of the arbitration, a rare few apply some other law where parties (who are in principle free to do so) have made such a choice.

Mr Born emphasised that as the procedural law governs not just the conduct of the arbitral proceedings but also the relationship between the arbitration and national courts, the selection of a foreign procedural law raises questions about practical application and enforceability, making this, in his view, a terrible choice. Courts have therefore repeatedly strived to reach an interpretation that parties did not intend to select a foreign procedural law.

Conclusion

It appears that a dominant theme in choice of law issues is the tussle between respecting party autonomy and requiring predictability in a structured set of rules. From the Singapore perspective, the Singapore courts’ approach in stipulating a presumption that the substantive law of the contract shall be taken as parties’ implied choice of the law governing the arbitration agreement, which presumption can be rebutted if the substantive law would invalidate the arbitration agreement, is arguably a structured approach to the choice of law governing the arbitration agreement which bears resemblance to the validation principle, and which also gives primacy to party autonomy.

Given the very diverse approaches across the board, it will be interesting to see how tribunals and national courts will continue to develop these issues, and whether the validation principle – with Mr Born as a proponent – will be shown increasing favour.

6 March 2019
SIAC’s 2018 Cases Exceed 400 for Second Year Running, reaffirming its Global Appeal

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce the official release of its 2018 Annual Report.

SIAC's latest case statistics reaffirm its position as a premier global arbitral institution with one of the world’s largest administered caseloads. For the second year running, SIAC received over 400 cases, with total sums in dispute increasing.

In 2018, SIAC received 402 new cases from parties in 65 jurisdictions. SIAC administered 375 (93%) of these new cases, with the remaining 27 (7%) being ad hoc appointments. SIAC has received over 400 cases in each of the last two years, and over the last decade, new case filings at SIAC have increased by more than 4 times.

2018 saw an increase, as compared with 2017, in SIAC’s total sum in dispute for all new case filings to USD 7.06 billion (SGD 9.65 billion).

In 2018, SIAC was ranked the 3rd most preferred arbitral institution in the world by the prestigious Queen Mary University of London and White & Case International Arbitration Survey. The survey findings show that SIAC is the most preferred arbitral institution based in Asia.

The United States topped the foreign user rankings in 2018 for the first time, while India and China both remained strong contributors of cases to SIAC. SIAC’s other top 10 foreign users were from a mix of common and civil law jurisdictions, namely, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, attesting to SIAC's popularity among users all over the world.

SIAC was the first major commercial arbitration centre to introduce the Early Dismissal (ED) procedure for the early dismissal of claims and defences in the SIAC Rules 2016. ED has since become an increasingly popular and effective tool for parties to save time and costs. In 2018, SIAC received 17 ED applications, bringing the total number of ED applications received to 22 as at the end of 2018, since this procedure was first introduced in 2016.

Mr Gary Born, President of the Court of Arbitration of SIAC, commented: “Our 2018 caseload confirms the trend of SIAC’s robust growth. Parties from all around the world select SIAC for its efficiency, expedition and expert case management services, in both ordinary and bet-the-company cases. 2018 saw a substantial increase in the amount in dispute in new SIAC cases as well as US parties becoming SIAC’s top foreign user in 2018. These developments foreshadow even stronger growth in the future.”

Mr Davinder Singh, SC, Chairman of SIAC, said: “SIAC has the potential to grow much more. It will innovate and improve on its offerings and Rules to make Singapore an even more attractive dispute resolution hub.”

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said: “2018 was a year where a broader spectrum of users with higher value disputes entrusted SIAC with their cases. We are deeply grateful to the local and international arbitration communities for their strong support, and will further intensify our stakeholder engagement efforts to expand our market outreach.”


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

21 February 2019
Seminar on “How international should international arbitration be? International standards v. domestic law in international commercial arbitration”
By Mathias Goh, Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright


On Thursday 21 February 2019, the seminar on “How international should international arbitration be? International standards v. domestic law in international commercial arbitration”, hosted by Norton Rose Fulbright in its new offices at Marina One, and jointly organised by SIAC and NYU’s Centre for Transnational Litigation, Arbitration and Commercial Law, attracted more than 100 attendees comprising a number of arbitration and litigation practitioners.

Mr KC Lye (Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright) opened the evening by embarking on a short historical discourse and explaining how the concept of the nation state which first came about some five hundred years ago is a relatively young one when considered against the lineage of ancient civilisations. He explained how globalisation brought about pressures to conform to international standards and trends, resulting in an increasing tendency for nation states to insist on retreating into their respective microcosms. How would the pressures of greater internationalisation play out on the legal plane, specifically in the context of international arbitration? The stage for the ensuing discussions was set.

The panellists included: Prof Lawrence Boo (Member, SIAC Court of Arbitration; Independent Arbitrator, The Arbitration Chambers), Ms Elodie Dulac (Partner, King & Spalding), Prof Franco Ferrari (Professor of Law, NYU; Director, Center for Transnational Litigation, Arbitration and Commercial Law, NYU), Dr Michael Hwang, SC (Chartered Arbitrator, Michael Hwang Chambers LLC) and Dr Friedrich Rosenfeld (Partner, Hanefeld Rechtsanwälte). The seminar took the form of a panel discussion moderated by Mr Kevin Nash (Deputy Registrar & Centre Director, SIAC).

After a short introduction of the profile of speakers by Mr Nash, Professor Ferrari started by putting forward his proposition that while international arbitration processes should aspire to be as international as possible, they are fundamentally subject to the confines and limits of domestic rules (which in turn may themselves be subject to international instruments). He brought the house on a brief tour of how certain international arbitration instruments could be interpreted from this perspective, and cited a number of examples to buttress his point.

The next speaker Ms Dulac sought to address the debate through a special lens: the practice of nation states using national laws (in domestic litigation proceedings) to either support anti-arbitration injunctions or grant orders which would have the effect of frustrating arbitration proceedings. Drawing from her own experience, Ms Dulac queried the effect of such attempts on the practice of international arbitration, and whether they eroded the "international" in "international arbitration".

Taking over from Ms Dulac, Dr Rosenfeld shifted the discussion to the law and practice of legal privilege in international arbitrations and considered the debate from the point of view of what substantive law applies to privilege issues.

He explained that there were at present two dominant approaches to legal privilege: the law of the seat of the arbitration, or the law of one the parties’ ‘home’ jurisdictions (e.g. nationality of that party). Dr Rosenfeld set out briefly his arguments in favour of an approach where amongst these possible contenders, it would be the law which is most in favour of protecting communications between a party and its lawyers from being disclosed. He also demonstrated how the divergence between common law and civilian law approaches on the law of legal privilege made this issue a complex and multi-faceted one. As the subsequent question and answer session would demonstrate, this was an issue which piqued the interest of a number of attendees.

1111-(00000003) audience
Left to Right: Prof Franco Ferrari, Dr Michael Hwang, SC, Elodie Dulac, Dr Friedrich Rosenfeld, Prof Lawrence Boo and Kevin Nash

Members of the audience

This was followed by Dr Hwang, who sought to approach the debate from a unique vantage point: that of an emergency arbitrator. More specifically, he focussed on the granting of interim relief by arbitrators in emergency arbitrations and drew upon his experience in an emergency arbitrator application filed about two months ago. This writer suspects it was probably not an experience many of the attendees could directly relate to. To the amusement of the audience, Dr Hwang recounted the somewhat exasperating experience of having to look up decisions cited in the footnotes in a leading arbitration text (a certain "Chapter 17") and questioning the progeny of some of the decisions cited. Dr Hwang advocated a view where these issues should be determined largely by reference to the law of the seat of the arbitration, and gave reasons in support of this view.

Coming up as last speaker, Professor Boo advanced the view that arbitral tribunals could afford to take more guidance from international instruments and norms on issues where the relevant national rules were either silent on or stopped short of providing an adequate answer. For example, he queried whether emergency awards could comfortably fit within the regime of the UNCITRAL Model Law bearing in mind that the concept of emergency awards may not conceivably have been in the mind of the drafters of that instrument at the material time. In the process of his presentation, Professor Boo also responded to some of the views Professor Ferrari and Dr Hwang propounded earlier in their presentations. From this writer's viewpoint, an eight minute discussion frankly could not have done justice to the complexity of those issues. Perhaps a follow-up seminar would be in order, SIAC?

As with every well-executed seminar, the "Question & Answer" segment came up last. Questions were posed to all of the speakers, including questions on how issues of limitations and legal privilege might be considered against this international / national divergence. The topic of legal privilege, in particular, proved to be a lightning rod for questions and Dr Rosenfeld was asked for his views on how he thought tribunals should respond when faced with two different standards of legal privilege. Which standard should trump? Needless to say, there were forceful submissions which could be advocated for either side.

This writer suspects many attendees walked away from the seminar that night with more questions than answers (some with much redder faces than when they showed up). If anything, that evening suggested that the issues canvassed were far from straightforward and are likely to remain ripe for future debate and discussions.

15 February 2019
SIAC Welcomes New YSIAC Committee


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to welcome the following members of the new Young SIAC (YSIAC) Committee:

Name Law Firm / Chambers
Country
1. Ms Wendy Lin (Co-Chair) WongPartnership LLP Singapore
2. Mr Ramesh Selvaraj (Co-Chair) Allen & Gledhill LLP Singapore
3. Ms Kate Apostolova Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Singapore
4. Mr Daryl Chew Shearman & Sterling LLP Singapore
5. Ms Lijun Chui Clifford Chance Singapore
6. Ms Gerui Lim Drew & Napier LLC Singapore
7. Mr Benson Lim Hogan Lovells Lee & Lee Singapore
8. Ms Loh Jen Wei Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP Singapore
9. Ms Julie Raneda Schellenberg Wittmer Singapore
10. Mr Paul Tan Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP Singapore
11. Ms Kirsten Teo Eversheds Harry Elias Singapore
12. Ms Adriana Uson Norton Rose Fulbright Singapore
13. Mr Sergio Nascimento Sergio Bermudes Advogados Brazil
14. Mr David Gu Tiantong & Partners China
15. Ms Vicky Zhao AnJie Law Firm China
16. Mr Zhao Yuxian Haiwen & Partners China
17. Ms Sherlin Tung CMS Hasche Sigle, Hong Kong LLP Hong Kong SAR
18. Mr Bharat Chugh L&L Partners Law Offices India
19. Mr Moazzam Khan Nishith Desai Associates India
20. Ms Sonali Mathur AZB & Partners India
21. Mr Lomesh Kiran Nidumuri IndusLaw India
22. Mr Alvin Ambardy Assegaf Hamzah & Partners Indonesia
23. Mr Yutaro Kawabata Nishimura & Asahi Japan
24. Ms Sharon Chong Skrine Malaysia
25. Ms Marina Zenkova White & Case LLC Russia
26. Ms Khushboo Shahdadpuri Al Tamimi & Company Qatar
27. Ms Wonyoung (Karyn) Yoo Kim & Chang South Korea
28. Mr Warathorn Wongsawangsiri Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners Ltd. Thailand
29. Mr Kartikey Mahajan Kirkland & Ellis International LLP UK
30. Ms Dharshini Prasad Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP UK
31. Ms Tan Liang-Ying Herbert Smith Freehills LLP USA

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “We are delighted to welcome a set of dynamic, energetic and motivated young lawyers from diverse legal systems and cultures to the YSIAC Committee. YSIAC seeks to nurture and provide opportunities to young arbitration practitioners all over the world as counsel, arbitrators, tribunal secretaries and speakers at SIAC events, and is an excellent networking platform. Under the stewardship of the previous Committee, the YSIAC community has seen its numbers grow steadily to over 3,000 members from 99 jurisdictions. We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the outgoing co-chairs, Mr Ankit Goyal and Ms Koh Swee Yen, and the former Committee, for their hard work and dedication, and look forward to working closely with the new Committee to take YSIAC to the next level.”


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

13 February 2019
SIAC Announces the Appointment of New Head (South Asia)

ShwethaBidhuri

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is pleased to announce that Ms Shwetha Bidhuri has been appointed to the position of Head (South Asia). Shwetha succeeds Mr Pranav Mago who has left SIAC to pursue other career opportunities.

As Head (South Asia), Shwetha will be based in Mumbai, India, and will oversee SIAC’s liaison offices in Mumbai and GIFT City, Gujarat.

Prior to joining SIAC, Shwetha worked in the dispute resolution practice of a leading law firm in New Delhi for 9 years, with a focus on investment treaty arbitration as well as commercial litigation cases.

Ms Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC, said, “We are delighted to welcome Shwetha to the SIAC team. Her investment arbitration experience brings a unique perspective to her role, and will further enhance our relationships with our valued Indian users as we continue to expand our outreach within the Indian market.”


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_logo_final_with_wordmark
SIAC Year in Review 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 New Vice President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration

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

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



Prof Lucy Reed

3 SIAC Congress Week 2018

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

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

2.IMG_8880 3.IMG_9154
The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Supreme Court of Singapore, at the SIAC Congress 2018

Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance, Singapore, at the SIAC Congress 2018

4.Indranee-Congress 5.Group-shot-Congress
Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education, Singapore, at the SIAC Congress 2018 Gala Dinner Left to Right: Mr Davinder Singh, SC, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Ms Indranee Rajah, SC, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education, Singapore, Ms Lim Seok Hui, Mr Chelva Rajah, SC and Mr Chong Yee Leong at the SIAC Congress 2018 Gala Dinner

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

6.Multiplicity-Group 7.Colloquium
Members of the audience at the “Multiplicity - Managing Parallel Proceedings under Multiple Instruments” seminar

Dr Jean Ho at the SIAC-CIL Academic-Practitioner Colloquium

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

8.SIAC-CIArb-Debate 9.Congress
Left to Right: Dr Eun Young Park, Mr V K Rajah, SC,
Mr Paul Friedland, Mr Chou Sean Yu, Ms Loretta Malintoppi, Mr Thio Shen Yi, SC, Dr Claudia Annacker and Mr Stephen Moriarty QC at the SIAC-CIArb Debate

Members of the audience at the SIAC Congress 2018

10.IBA-Arb-40-Toolkit 11.Twilight
Left to Right: Mr Daryl Chew, Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka,
Mr Richard Tan and Ms Koh Swee Yen at the SIAC-YSIAC Workshop: IBA Arb40 Toolkit for Award Writing
Left to Right: Mr KC Lye, Prof Lawrence Boo,
Dr Michael Pryles AO PBM and Prof George Bermann at the “Twilight Issues in International Arbitration” seminar

4 SIAC Academy Goes Global

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

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

12.Tokyo-Academy 13.Beijing-Academy
Left to Right: Ms Yoshimi Ohara, Mr Yoshimasa Furuta and Mr Alan J. Thambiayah at the SIAC Academy
Tokyo 2018
Left to Right: Mr Chen Luming, Mr Gary Born,
Mr Zhang Libin and Mr Craig Celniker at the SIAC Academy Beijing 2018

14.Mumbai-Academy 15.Seoul-Academy
Left to Right: Mr Gopal Subramanium, SA and Mr Naresh Thacker at the SIAC Academy Mumbai 2018 Left to Right: Mr Young Seok Lee, Mr Paul Teo and
Mr Jun Hee Kim at the SIAC Academy Seoul 2018

5 Launch of SIAC and Institutional Arbitration Module at NUS Law

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

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

17.NUS-Module 16.NUS-Module
Left to Right: Mr Chahat Chawla, Mr Piyush Prasad,
Mr Christopher Bloch and Ms Aliona Bitkivskaja at the networking lunch of the “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” module

Networking lunch of the “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” module

6 SIAC Conferences and Partnerships

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

18.Beijing-Conference 19.Mumbai-Conference
Panellists at the SIAC-CIETAC Beijing Conference Members of the audience at the SIAC Mumbai Conference

20.Tokyo-Conf 21.Seoul-Conf
Members of the audience at the SIAC-JAA Tokyo Conference Left to Right: Ms Jeonghye Sophie Ahn, Dr Christopher Boog, Ms Myung-Ahn Kim and Mr Steven Lim at the SIAC Seoul Conference

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

22.Inside-Track 23.Inside-Track
Members of the audience at the “Arbitration at the
SIAC: The Inside Track” workshop
Left to Right: Mr Timothy Cooke, Ms Khyati Raniwala, Mr Kevin Nash and Ms Qian Wu at the “Arbitration at the SIAC: The Inside Track” workshop

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

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

7 YSIAC Workshops and Events

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

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

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

24.YSIAC-India 25.YSIAC-Seoul
Left to Right: Mr Pranav Mago, Dr Rishab Gupta,
Mr Toby Landau QC, Mr Gaurav Pachnanda, SA, Ms Ila Kapoor and Mr Moazzam Khan at the YSIAC Lunchtime Event titled “The Advocate and The Arbitrator”

Mock Hearing on Document Requests at the YSIAC Seoul Workshop

8 Relaunch of Asian International Arbitration Journal

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

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

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

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



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


With best regards,
The SIAC Team

Press Releases

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Public Consultation on Draft SIAC Arbitration Rules

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