Three Leading Dispute bodies forge alliance to make Singapore a dispute resolution hub
Three leading dispute bodies of Singapore have joined hands to promote Singapore as a favourable location for dispute resolution.
They have introduced two new initiatives that aim to provide businesses with an integrated approach to resolving disputes in Singapore, which is one of the most popular dispute-resolution hubs in Asia.
The Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) recently hosted a joint event with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) to launch the two initiatives.
SIAC has announced the introduction of a model jurisdiction clause for international arbitrations in Singapore with the SICC's support. It is meant to be used in contracts requiring a SIAC dispute resolution clause. This will enable the SICC to act as the supervisory court instead of the High Court of Singapore.
The new clause aims to promote SICC as the city-state's arbitral jurisdiction of choice, given its superior ability to manage business swiftly, deliver faster judgments, and assign judges well-versed in arbitration, thereby delivering potential cost savings.
Practitioners from Singaporean, US and UK law firms such as Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), Rajah & Tann, and Drew & Napier contributed to the scheme along with India's Nishith Desai Associates, King & Wood Mallesons, Japan's Anderson Mori & Tomotsune and South Korea's Peter & Kim.
"The prior position of limited costs recovery was damaging Singapore's popularity," he said. "This model language and recent SICC decisions give users certainty over cost recovery, bolstering Singapore's position as a top seat," HSF Singapore disputes partner Tomas Furlong said.
According to Gloria Lim, SIAC's chief executive officer, the move would give the centre's users the advantage of having their cases heard before SICC's international judges with rules designed with international cases in mind.
The second initiative relates to a Litigation-Mediation-Litigation Protocol introduced jointly by SICC and SIMC.
It is a move that intends to enhance ADR, which in 2019 launched the Singapore Convention on Mediation on the enforceability of settlement agreements.
The model clause can also be used in contract negotiations or by agreement after allowing parties to mediate at the SIMC after the SICC has been asked to adjudicate.
Chuan Wee Meng, SIMC's chief executive officer, termed said that the new mechanism was in line with international trends in mixed-mode dispute resolution.
According to Meng, it allows for mediation's confidentiality, practicality and creative solutions with reciprocal recognition and registration, plus the enforceability of an international commercial court order.
Fountain Court barrister Andrew Pullen has drawn parallels between similar protocols agreed between SIAC and the SIMC as both have made provision for a stay of proceedings to allow for mediation, with the option for any settlement reached to be recorded as a court order or arbitral award respectively.
"These elements of flexibility are welcome and perhaps should inspire SIAC and SIMC to consider protocol to similar effect," Pullen said.