Singapore is fast becoming the Asia-Pacific region's one
stop shop for international commercial dispute resolution. Many
multinational corporations base their Asia-Pacific operations in or
around Singapore, which makes it a logical choice for parties
looking to deal with disputes close to the source. In response to
this growing trend, the Singapore International Mediation Centre
(SIMC) will open in November 2014, and the
Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) is
set to open in coming months.
The SIMC arises out of the Recommendations of the International
Commercial Mediation Working Group, formed by the Singapore
Ministry of Law.
The key recommendations include:
"deal making service" where a mediator supports
parties contemplating making a major deal, to avoid potential
issues which may lead to disputes;
"post-merger facilitation" where a mediator is
engaged to maximise cooperation and mutual benefit for
a "dispute process design service", to assist users
to develop processes to manage disputes;
online dispute resolution services; and
establishing a professional body to certify mediators, enforce
ethics, and oversee continuing professional development.
The SIMC will be housed at Maxwell Chambers, together with the
Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).
Mediation using the SIMC may be used as an alternative to a SIAC
arbitration. The existing Singapore Mediation Centre will remain
associated with the Singapore courts.
The Working Group recommends mediation for disputes in
industries including construction, mining, oil & gas,
manufacturing, shipping, aerospace, intellectual property, and
The target markets for promoting mediation include international
markets such as the Middle East, China, India, Japan, Indonesia,
and South Korea, and emerging regional markets such as the Pacific
Islands, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Brunei, and
The SICC is set to open in early 2015, after legislative changes
were tabled in Parliament in October 2014. The SICC will target
cases such as cross-border commercial transactions which are
governed by foreign law.
The Court will be established as a division of the Singapore
High Court, and part of the Supreme Court of Singapore. Both
Singapore lawyers and foreign lawyers will be licensed to appear in
the court, and disputes will be heard by Singapore judges and
Parties will be able to make submissions on any law, rather than
solely Singapore law.
The Court will be available to parties who agree to use the SICC
post-dispute, or where the parties have agreed under a contract to
give the SICC jurisdiction of any disputes arising out of the
contract. The Chief Justice of the Singapore High Court may also
transfer cases to the SICC, without the parties' consent.
Within all three categories of cases, the SICC will be able to join
third parties to proceedings, with or without consent.
A decision of the SICC will be enforceable outside of Singapore
under the international network of treaties and through reciprocal
enforcement provisions. SICC decisions would also be appealable to
a Court of Appeal, except for where parties have contractually
excluded the right to do so.
The increase in commercial transactions in Asia has seen an
increase in the number and complexity of cross-border disputes. The
SIMC and SICC will help to meet the growing need in the
international business community for neutral venues to efficiently
handle disputes, and will add to the success of the SIAC. The SIAC
has increased its new cases by over 400% since 2003, with an active
caseload of 619 cases in 2013. Singapore's geographical
location sees it well positioned as a desirable choice for
international dispute resolution.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The TPP could have a significant positive impact on the investment and financial services of Australia and Singapore.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).