Asian Legal Business

ALB NOVEMBER 2016

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SPONSORED ARTICLE 15 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM : @ALB_Magazine : Asian Legal Business SCHELLENBERG WITTMER On 1 August 2016, the revised Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre ("SIAC Rules") entered into force. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the new SIAC Rules apply to arbitrations commenced on or after 1 August 2016. Since commencing operations in 1991, SIAC ar- bitration has experienced phenomenal growth. In 2015, SIAC recorded the highest ever number of cases filed, highest ever number of administered cases and highest ever total sum in dispute in the history of SIAC. 1 SIAC's case filings have increased by over 250 per cent in the past ten years. 2 While SIAC has a proven track record of provid- ing quality and neutral arbitration services in a very pro-arbitration and stable jurisdiction, there was a common desire of users and practitioners alike to update the 2013 SIAC Rules, not only to reflect current trends in international arbitration, but to set new standards. The revision process was run by the SIAC Rules Revision Executive Committee in collaboration with a number of subcommittees. They were sup- ported by the SIAC Users' Council, composed of arbitration practitioners and corporate counsel from over 30 jurisdictions. Finally, in order to al- low the broadest possible input from users around the globe, draft Rules were released in December 2015 for an extensive 6-month public consultation process. The most remarkable amendment to the SIAC Rules is the introduction of a procedure for the early dismissal of claims and defences. The ab- sence of explicit provisions regarding summary judgment procedures in international arbitration is a concern for businesses across industries. SIAC has now addressed this concern. In line with its pioneering role in international arbitration, SIAC is the first major arbitration centre to provide for such a procedure in international commercial arbi- tration. The new provision has the potential of sig- nificantly reducing time and costs in arbitrations conducted under the SIAC Rules. It also sets the SIAC Rules apart from other institutional rules and will serve as another selling point for SIAC arbitra- tion. Furthermore, the revised SIAC Rules take into account the increasing number of complex dis- putes involving multiple contracts and/or multiple parties. The new provisions concerning claims deriving from multiple contracts, joinder of ad- ditional parties and consolidation of two or more arbitrations generally reflect current best practice in international arbitration, but are noteworthy in that they in some aspects go beyond what other institutions offer and grant parties to SIAC arbi- trations greater flexibility in dealing with complex arbitrations than other sets of arbitration rules do. The 2016 SIAC Rules have also introduced a number of changes aimed at further optimizing the arbitral process under the SIAC Rules. These changes relate, inter alia, to improvements to the existing emergency arbitrator and expedited pro- cedures, for instance by shortening the overall schedule of the emergency arbitrator proceedings so as to allow parties to SIAC arbitrations to obtain urgent interim relief even more efficiently than un- der the 2013 Rules; or by allowing more cases to be submitted to the popular expedited procedure under the SIAC Rules, by raising the monetary threshold for the applicability of that procedure from SGD 5 million to SGD 6 million. Moreover, by clarifying that the seat of the arbi- tration need not be in Singapore, the revised Rules underscore SIAC's role as more than a regional, but rather a truly international arbitral institution, operating alongside other leading arbitral insti- tutions and providing truly international dispute resolution services. Finally, it is worth noting that the 2016 revi- sion of the SIAC Rules will be accompanied by an entirely new set of rules specifically designed for investment disputes: the SIAC Investment Arbi- tration Rules. These are based on the SIAC Rules but are tailored to the particularities of investment arbitration. At the time of writing, the consultation process is in its final stages and the SIAC Invest- ment Arbitration Rules are expected to enter into force at the end of 2016. In sum, with the adoption of the 2016 SIAC Rules, SIAC successfully tackles the growing com- plexity of disputes subject to international arbitra- tion. Moreover, the new SIAC Rules contain inno- vative changes that confirm SIAC's role as one of the world's leading international arbitration cen- tres. The SIAC Rules now enable parties to resolve, where appropriate, all relevant disputes in a single arbitration, preventing the duplication of work and the risk of contradictory or conflicting results. SIAC has also made state-of-the-art changes to improve time efficiency and cost effectiveness of the arbi- tral process. By introducing an innovative manner to allow for the early dismissal of claims and de- fences – and soon a whole new set of Investment Arbitration Rules – SIAC positions itself not only as a leading arbitral institution but as a pioneer in the development of international arbitration practice. THE 2016 SIAC RULES – FOR AN EVEN MORE EFFICIENT ARBITRAL PROCESS Dr. Christopher Boog Managing Director/Partner (65) 6580 2248 christopher.boog@swlegal.sg 1 SIAC Annual Report 2015 available at www.siac.org.sg/2013-09-18- 01-57-20/2013-09-22-00-27-02/annual-report. 2 SIAC Annual Report 2015 available at www.siac.org.sg/2013-09-18- 01-57-20/2013-09-22-00-27-02/annual-report. Julie Raneda Counsel (65) 6580 2249 julie.raneda@swlegal.sg A: 6 Battery Road, # 37-02, Singapore 04990 T: (65) 6580 2240 F: (65) 6580 2241 W: www.swlegal.sg

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