International arbitration body to open office here

A new case-management office for international arbitration will start operations in the first quarter of next year at Maxwell Chambers.

It will be set up by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration (ICC Court) – the first international arbitral institution to set up a case-management office and team here.

The Singapore office will be ICC Court’s fourth overseas case-management office, after Hong Kong, New York and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Paris-headquartered institution administered almost 1,000 arbitration cases from around the world last year.

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This is the latest in a series of developments on international arbitration here. In January, changes to the law were made to allow businesses involved in international commercial arbitration cases here to get funding from third parties.

The latest move was announced by the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and ICC Court at the third ICC Asia Conference yesterday.

“It means that ICC is also bringing substantive case management here, which it had not done previously,” said Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah, speaking to reporters at the conference.

“(Before that), what we were really doing was just providing venue, or space,” she said, noting that there is a higher likelihood of more cases coming to Singapore for resolution now.

Ms Indranee added that she looks forward to working with the ICC to deepen arbitration expertise and build up a younger generation of arbitrators and counsel.

Yesterday, MinLaw deputy secretary Han Kok Juan and ICC Court president Alexis Mourre signed a memorandum of understanding. Said Mr Mourre: “With its two case-management teams in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as its representative office in Shanghai, the court is now able to offer a unique international arbitration platform across the entire Asian continent.”

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre registered 343 cases last year. The sum involved in last year’s new cases was $17.13 billion, the highest amount in dispute it has registered.

ICC Court’s new office here will take up about 2,000 sq ft in the new Maxwell Chambers Suites, which will be an expansion of Maxwell Chambers. Maxwell Chambers Suites, expected to be completed in 2019, will have four floors of about 50 offices for dispute resolution institutions, arbitration chambers, law firms and other ancillary service providers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2017, with the headline 'International arbitration body to open office here'. Print Edition | Subscribe