Arbitration centre here sees record 1,080 cases

Cases filed at SIAC more than double from 2019; they involve disputes totalling $11.25b

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre, which is housed in Maxwell Chambers, is an independent and non-profit institution that provides arbitration services to the global business community. ST FILE PHOTO
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre, which is housed in Maxwell Chambers, is an independent and non-profit institution that provides arbitration services to the global business community. ST FILE PHOTO

A record 1,080 cases involving disputes totalling $11.25 billion were filed with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) last year.

That was the first year the centre's caseload crossed the 1,000 mark, and it represented a 125 per cent increase from the 479 cases filed in 2019.

The SIAC, an independent and non-profit institution that provides arbitration services to the global business community, released these figures yesterday in its annual report.

The president of the centre's court of arbitration, Mr Gary Born, said: "These numbers are exceptional and will spur us to work even harder on improving the quality and efficiency of SIAC's case administration, to fulfil our goal of being the leading choice of users all over the world."

The 30-year-old SIAC is steered by a board of directors chaired by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh.

Mr Singh said: "We are deeply grateful for this immense support which is a clear reaffirmation of the international community's trust in SIAC's neutrality, integrity, independence, and time and cost efficiency, and of the world's regard for our best-in-class judiciary and a Government which sets the legislative pace."

The centre's chief executive, Ms Lim Seok Hui, said the new milestone was reached through careful planning and hard work.

Of the 1,080 filings, 94 per cent were international cases. The highest disputed sum for a single case was $1.23 billion.

Parties from 60 jurisdictions chose to arbitrate at SIAC last year, with India, the United States and China topping the foreign user rankings. The claims covered a range of sectors, mainly trade, corporate and commercial, maritime and shipping, and construction and engineering.

Arbitrators appointed last year by SIAC came from diverse jurisdictions, including Singapore, Britain, India, France, Lebanon, China and Germany.

Mr Chou Sean Yu, head of litigation and dispute resolution at WongPartnership, attributed the growth in cases to factors such as the continued recognition of SIAC as a world-class institution, the sophisticated legal infrastructure backed by a supportive judiciary and the presence of top legal practitioners.

"The diverse users of SIAC... further reflect why Singapore is now one of the most preferred seats for arbitration in the world," he said.

Mr Adrian Tan from TSMP Law Corp said: "Singapore is growing in stature as a neutral arbitration venue which... has a transparent legal system and is efficient."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2021, with the headline 'Arbitration centre here sees record 1,080 cases'. Subscribe