More legal practitioners in Asia prefer Singapore as venue to resolve disputes: Survey

According to the survey, 63 per cent of respondents picked Singapore as their preferred venue for dispute resolution, compared to 52 per cent in 2015.
According to the survey, 63 per cent of respondents picked Singapore as their preferred venue for dispute resolution, compared to 52 per cent in 2015.ST PHOTO: JOSEPH CHUA

SINGAPORE - More legal practitioners in Asia now prefer to resolve disputes in the Republic, according to survey results that suggest Singapore's status as a dispute resolution hub has strengthened over the past few years.

The survey, published on Wednesday (April 17), was commissioned by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) and conducted by research company Ipsos in the first quarter of this year..

Among more than 600 legal practitioners and in-house counsel who engage in cross-border transactions in Asia who were polled, 63 per cent of respondents picked Singapore as their preferred venue for dispute resolution, compared to 52 per cent in 2015.

Of the respondents, about half were based in Singapore, while the rest were in jurisdictions including India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The survey also found that familiarity with Singapore's arbitration services remained high, with 82 per cent of respondents saying they were either "very familiar" or "quite familiar" with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.

Meanwhile, more respondents - 35 per cent - said they were "very familiar" or "quite familiar" with the Singapore International Commercial Court, compared with 29 per cent in 2015.

However, familiarity with the Singapore International Mediation Centre dipped slightly, from 36 per cent in 2015 to 34 per cent this year.

The survey also found that while English law was still the most frequently used governing law in cross-border transactions in Asia, the use of Singapore law was increasing, from 25 per cent in 2015 to 29 per cent this year.

In contrast, the adoption of English law has fallen, from 48 per cent in 2015 to 43 per cent this year.

The top two reasons cited for choosing Singapore law as the governing law in cross-border contracts were the established legal system and jurisprudence, as well as respondents' familiarity with the law.

Chairman of SAL's Promotion of Singapore Law Committee, Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy, said in a statement that the survey results highlight the "great strides" Singapore law has made in its short history.

He added: "Our law provides a business-friendly framework and includes an established and well-developed body of commercial law equipped to deal with cross-border transactions. It is well placed to serve the needs of businesses in Asia."