Posts tagged: SIAC

London remains key arbitration centre

A report published by The City UK demonstrates that arbitration is alive and well in London. A comparison of data from 2007 and 2009 shows that ICC arbitrations with a seat in London increased by 26% whereas LCIA arbitrations increased by a massive 85% and LMAA by a no less credible 66%.  London will need to retain its attractiveness especially with newer centres such as Dubai coming to the fore and other seasoned seats, such as Singapore, picking up work from the expanding Chinese and Indian markets.

At a more domestic level the CIArb appointments increased by 62%.

CEDr mediations were fairly flat and the Panel of Independent Mediators reported a modest rise but ‘other’ mediations reported a massive rise of over 200%.  This probably reflects maturity in the case of CEDr and finite capacity at PIM allowing new institutions to enter the market.

SIAC Rule Changes

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has issued new procedural rules effective from 1 July 2010.

The revisions aim to improve the speed and efficiency of arbitration and reflect best practice in international arbitration.

Key amendments include:

New expedited procedure. The new Rules introduce an expedited procedure which a party can apply for if the amount in dispute does not exceed S$5m, or if all parties agree, or in cases of exceptional urgency. If the SIAC Chairman agrees that the expedited procedure may be used, then:

  • the SIAC Registrar has the power to shorten any time limits under the Rules;
  • the case shall be referred to a sole arbitrator (unless the Chairman decides otherwise);
  • the award shall be made within six months from the date the Tribunal is constituted; and
  • the Tribunal will only state the reasons for the award in summary form.

Other institutions, including the AAA and the WIPO include similar provisions for an expedited process. This is in part to address the growing concern that the traditional benefits of arbitration, namely speed, cost and efficiency, have been diminished.

New Emergency Arbitrator procedure. In order to assist parties in obtaining emergency relief, the new Rules allow a party to apply for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator concurrent with, or following, the filing of a Notice of Arbitration but prior to the constitution of the Tribunal. An Emergency Arbitrator will be appointed by the SIAC Chairman within one business day of receipt of an application for emergency relief and must establish a schedule for consideration of the application within two business days of appointment. The Emergency Arbitrator shall have the powers of the Tribunal and may order any interim relief he deems necessary. After the Tribunal is constituted, the Emergency Arbitrator shall have no further power to act, and the Tribunal may alter any interim relief granted by the Emergency Arbitrator. Any order issued by the Emergency Arbitrator will cease to be binding if the Tribunal is not constituted within 90 days of the order, or when the Tribunal makes a final award.

Provisions to improve speed and efficiency. Various further amendments have been introduced to assist with the speed and efficiency of arbitrations. For example, the time period by which a party must nominate an arbitrator has been shortened from 21 to 14 days if three arbitrators are to be appointed. There is also a revised procedure for appointment of three arbitrators where there are more than two parties to an arbitration. The amendment provides a more defined and efficient process to follow and is in line with the multiple party provisions for the appointment of three arbitrators in the ICC Rules.

New Tribunal powers. The new Rules give the Tribunal various new powers, some of which have been transferred from the Registrar. For example, the Tribunal, rather than the Registrar, will decide the seat of arbitration where the parties do not agree. Further, the Tribunal may now choose to hold a hearing for the presentation of evidence and/or for oral submissions, on its own initiative as well as at the request of the parties. The powers of the Tribunal set out in Rule 24 have also been expanded and clarified.

Removal of Memorandum of Issues. The requirement for a Memorandum of Issues defining the issues to be determined in the arbitration has been removed. This will shorten the timetable of some arbitrations. However, the use of a Memorandum of Issues can sometimes assist in clarifying the issues to be decided so might still be useful in some arbitrations.

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