SIAC Annual Appreciation Event 2014

The Westin, Singapore
Asia Square Tower 2
18 February 2014

Over 150 guests attended SIAC’s Annual Appreciation Event on 18 February 2014 at The Westin, Singapore. Mr Lucien Wong (Chairman of SIAC) delivered opening remarks and announced SIAC’s new caseload and total sum in dispute for 2013, followed by Ms Lim Seok Hui (CEO of SIAC) who provided a summary of key events and an overview of plans for 2014. Professor Michael Pryles (Founder President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration) went on to present SIAC's detailed results for 2013 to the assembled guests, who were comprised mainly of local and overseas based arbitrators and practitioners.

siac_annual_app_event_2014-4Mr Lucien Wong said that 2013 was a transformative year for SIAC. SIAC announced a new governance structure with effect from 1 April 2013 and the publication of a revised edition of the SIAC Rules of Arbitration, viz. the SIAC Rules 2013. The new Board of Directors, which he chairs, assumed office on 1 April 2013. As part of the new governance structure, the SIAC Court of Arbitration was established on 1 April 2013, and is led by its Founder President, Professor Michael Pryles. In June 2013, Ms Lim Seok Hui assumed the role of CEO and Ms Tan Ai Leen assumed the role of Registrar. The transition worked well. New case filings increased by a further 10% from 235 new cases received in 2012 to 259 new cases received in 2013. For new cases filed in 2013, the total sum in dispute amounted to S$6.06 billion. The highest claim amount for 2013 was S$3.5 billion, contrasting with the highest claim amount of S$1.5 billion in 2012.

Mr Wong congratulated Professor Michael Pryles who was conferred the Public Service Medal - “Friends of Singapore” award by the President of the Republic of Singapore. The “Friends of Singapore” award is one of Singapore’s most prestigious awards for international business leaders who have contributed significantly to Singapore’s economic growth, and promoted Singapore’s interest in both their professional and personal capacities.

siac_annual_app_event_2014-5Ms Lim Seok Hui stated that it was a significant year for the Centre in many respects. 2013 saw SIAC explore new frontiers with the opening of its first overseas liaison office in Mumbai, India, followed by the opening of a second overseas liaison office at the new International Dispute Resolution Centre in Seoul, South Korea. The new offices provide SIAC with the unique opportunity to interact more closely and share information on a regular basis with the Centre’s current and potential users in these important jurisdictions. Ms Lim said that SIAC will continue to work closely with law firms, in-house counsel teams and industry associations in the major regional markets of China, India, Japan, Southeast Asia and South Korea. In addition, in 2013, SIAC made new forays into the USA, UK and Australia. In the coming year, the Centre expects to develop and consolidate its market share across a diverse portfolio of industries and sectors relevant to these markets.

Turning to major projects for 2014, Ms Lim said that SIAC is developing a training video which is produced and directed by award winning Singaporean film director Eric Khoo’s team. The video will showcase Singapore as a preferred seat and venue for international arbitration, and depict the workings of SIAC as a leading international arbitral institution. At the same time, SIAC will be organising the inaugural edition of its annual signature event, SIAC Congress 2014 on 6 June 2014. The SIAC video will be officially launched at the Gala Dinner of the SIAC Congress.

siac_annual_app_event_2014-6In his presentation, Professor Michael Pryles noted that the Centre currently handles some of the largest and most complex arbitrations. In particular, the highest claim amount for 2013 was S$3.5 billion, contrasting with the highest claim amount of S$1.5 billion in 2012. A diverse range of claims was filed at SIAC in 2013, with the key areas remaining the same as in previous years, namely, international trade and general commercial, corporate and joint venture, and construction and shipping disputes.

As a truly global provider, 86% of new cases filed with SIAC in 2013 were international in nature, and 48% had no connection with Singapore. Apart from Singaporean parties which continued to be the largest contributor of cases in 2013 with 135 new cases, Indian parties topped the list of foreign nationalities last year for the highest number of case filings with 85 cases, remaining as one of the strongest contributors of cases to SIAC over the past 4 years. Other key contributors included Chinese, Indonesian, Hong Kong and American parties. Professor Pryles added that disputes arising from contracts entered into from 2011 to 2013 accounted for 61% of new case filings.

On Special Procedures, Professor Pryles shared that in 2013, SIAC received a new record number of 19 applications to appoint an emergency arbitrator and it accepted all 19 requests, taking the total number of emergency arbitrator applications received and handled by SIAC to 30 as at 31 December 2013. SIAC also received 36 requests for the application of the Expedited Procedure and accepted 22 requests. As at 31 December 2013, SIAC had received a total of 115 applications (of which 83 were accepted) for the Expedited Procedure since the introduction of these provisions in July 2010.

Professor Pryles concluded his presentation by thanking the international legal and business communities for their continued support which has been key to SIAC’s success.

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