New independently-run mediation centre to grow legal services here: Shanmugam

K. Shanmugam, minister of foreign affairs of Singapore, addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, Sept 28, 2013. Singapore will look to take advantage of growth in the region - with Asian econom
K. Shanmugam, minister of foreign affairs of Singapore, addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, Sept 28, 2013. Singapore will look to take advantage of growth in the region - with Asian economies expected to triple to almost US$35 trillion (S$43 trillion) by 2020 - by growing its international dispute resolution framework, said Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Tuesday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

Singapore will look to take advantage of growth in the region - with Asian economies expected to triple to almost US$35 trillion (S$43 trillion) by 2020 - by growing its international dispute resolution framework, said Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Tuesday.

The move will meet a growing demand for legal services in the region and will be done namely through the setting up of an independently-run mediation centre and a Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC).

"Singapore is a focal point in Asia for many international transactions, be it trade, investment or financial and other services. Our dispute resolution sector supports those services," Mr Shanmugam said at the 26th LawAsia Conference held at the Suntec convention centre.

"In doing so, we seek to serve the region, expand the work that Asia is attracting, by the provision of a neutral venue for every kind of dispute resolution."

A Working Group on International Commercial Mediation, which has been tasked to explore developing the sector here, is looking into the setting up of the mediation centre.

The centre will be helmed by a panel of international mediation experts.

Close work is also being done with the Singapore Mediation Centre and other industry stakeholders, said Mr Shanmugam.

He also shared that the previously announced SICC is being looked into by a committee chaired by Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah and Judge of Appeal V. K. Rajah. It will fill a "huge lacuna" that Asia currently lacks to deal with cross-border commercial disputes.