App to aid hearings at Maxwell Chambers

Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah getting a roast chicken sandwich, which she had ordered remotely using the mobile app, from Max the robot.
Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah getting a roast chicken sandwich, which she had ordered remotely using the mobile app, from Max the robot.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

It allows users to check into hearing rooms, request secretarial services and order food

There is a mobile phone application for everything, and now one for dispute-resolution hearings in Singapore.

Not content with being the world's first integrated dispute-resolution complex, Maxwell Chambers is now gearing up to become the world's first smart hearing facility by the end of this year.

The app can be used as an electronic key to get through the turnstile, securely check into hearing rooms and offices, and make requests for secretarial services. It also gives users access to participating eateries in the area for food deliveries.

And for good measure, a robot named Max will deliver files and food within the building, which will incorporate other elements of smart technology.

In a demonstration of the technology's capacities, Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah remotely ordered a roast chicken sandwich using the mobile app, which Max promptly delivered.

The technology will be rolled out as part of a "Smart Maxwell" initiative launched yesterday by Maxwell Chambers and the Ministry of Law (MinLaw).

Ms Indranee said the initiative would leverage technology to "enhance convenience, comfort and security for users", and will generate more business opportunities for the legal industry in Singapore.

"Smart Maxwell is also in line with Singapore's Smart Nation effort," she added.

Smart technology will help speed up administrative and finance-related functions and boost productivity, potentially saving over $500,000 a year, said MinLaw.

It will be made available to tenants at no additional cost. However, if they prefer, tenants will be able to opt out of using the technology.

Jointly developed with local tech start-ups Habitap and Techmetics, the technology will also be extended to the adjacent Maxwell Chambers Suites, a 120,000 sq ft expansion that will be housed in the Red Dot Traffic Building when the building is completed next year.

As of now, tenancy figures for the new building remain unchanged from June 2017 at 65 per cent, said a MinLaw spokesman.

Maxwell Chambers houses a number of top firms involved in dispute resolution, which is offered as an alternative to litigation. Last year, a record number of 204 cases were heard at the complex. The Singapore International Arbitration Centre, a frequent user, saw 452 new cases involving some US$4.07 billion (S$5.55 billion) filed last year from parties in 58 countries.

Mr David Bateman, an international arbitrator at long-time tenant 39 Essex Chambers, said: "We require that kind of up-to-date technology in the building for our day-to-day work... but some early-stage wrinkles might need to be ironed out first."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2018, with the headline 'App to aid hearings at Maxwell Chambers'. Print Edition | Subscribe