The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) opened a representative office for the Americas in New York last week, with a record-breaking announcement that its caseload this year had crossed the 1,000 mark.
It registered 1,005 cases for the first 10 months of this year, which was more than double the annual caseload of over 400 in each of the last few years.
The new office, its fifth outside Singapore, will also further bolster its reputation as an international arbitration institution that will have a global reach, lawyers told The Straits Times yesterday.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said as much at the virtual launch of the New York office, noting that among the biggest users of the SIAC are parties from the United States. The largest number of cases in 2018 came from US parties, he said, pointing out that they have consistently been one of SIAC's top 10 foreign users in the last five years.
"It has been SIAC's intention for some time to open an office in the US. There is significant demand, as seen from the caseload breakdown since 2014."
He also said that "in this part of the world, arbitration has become an extremely important means of resolving disputes which may arise from investments. If you look around Asia, I think most people would agree SIAC is considered the top arbitral institution".
SIAC counsel Adriana Uson will head the New York office, which will serve as a springboard to foster deeper ties with users in the Americas, who will benefit from real-time access to SIAC.
SIAC Court of Arbitration president Gary Born said the US was picked for the centre's first office outside Asia as American users have found SIAC arbitration conducive for resolving business disputes.
"This year, more than 500 US parties already have arbitrated their disputes under the SIAC arbitration rules. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the US and Latin America," he added.
Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, chairman of the SIAC board of directors, said the choice of New York is an acknowledgement that the Americas will be shaping much of the future of international arbitration.
"The opening of our New York office is our way of showing our many friends and supporters in the Americas that they matter to us," he added.
SIAC chief executive Lim Seok Hui said that the opening of the office coupled with the crossing of the symbolic 1,000-case threshold and a record number of US parties at SIAC "will firmly motivate us to do better".
Industry players say the New York office underscored SIAC's continuing prominence as an international arbitration institution with a global reach.
Mr Chou Sean Yu, head of litigation and dispute resolution at WongPartnership, said: "The New York opening is in line with SIAC's remarkable landmark in recording over 1,000 cases this year and potentially overtaking other premier international arbitration institutions."