S'pore 'ideal' for resolving disputes

Singapore is the place to be to settle commercial and wealth-related disputes, said Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah yesterday.

She noted Singapore has set up various legal structures in the areas of arbitration and mediation in recent years that firms and well-to-do families can tap.

The idea is to grow an ecosystem of professionals who work together to solve disputes, said Ms Indranee at the Step Asia conference at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

The event covers wealth structuring, family inheritance and succession planning.

She said: "It's not just about having the lawyers or wealth management companies. It is really a whole ecosystem where you have got... the accountants, judges, financial institutions, all with the relevant degrees of expertise."

The centres needed "in order to promote the resolution of disputes" are ready, she added.

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre was set up in 1991, the Singapore International Mediation Centre was set up last November, and the Singapore International Commercial Court was set up in January.

Ms Indranee said: "These structures would lend themselves particularly well to the resolution of wealth management, family related disputes."

She added that wealth management planning is not complete without considering scenarios where mental capacity is lost.

Ms Indranee reminded Singaporeans to make plans using the Lasting Power of Attorney - a legal instrument to allow another person to act on someone's behalf if he loses mental capacity.

She also urged the audience to convey the message to clients and the wider local community.

Ms Indranee also noted that the Ministry of Social and Family Development plans to refine the legislation, to protect people who lack mental capacity. She said a public consultation will be sought soon, and urged the audience to provide their feedback.

Rachael Boon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2015, with the headline 'S'pore 'ideal' for resolving disputes'. Print Edition | Subscribe