Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers are increasingly
finding themselves resolving disputes through international
arbitration. After London, Singapore is now arguably the second
most important arbitration center in the world, meaning the
Singapore International Arbitration Centre's (SIAC) new
arbitration rules, which were due to come into effect on June 1,
2016, but will now come into effect shortly, should be of
particular interest to global life sciences companies.
Here are some of the changes companies arbitrating through SIAC
will see under the new rules:
Improvements to expedited
procedure. SIAC offers an expedited procedure that allows
parties to significantly cut down on the arbitration timeframe
under certain circumstances. Under a new amendment to the SAIC
rules, the maximum total value in dispute that can seek to utilize
the expedited procedure is now SGD6 million (approximately US $4.35
million as of today's exchange rates).
disputes. Multi-contract disputes are increasingly common
in international arbitration and they have at times proved
difficult to manage efficiently. Through new amendments, SIAC is
now letting claimants either (1) file a notice of arbitration for
each contract and at the same time submit an application for
consolidation of the arbitrations, or (2) file a single notice of
arbitration for all the contracts, in which case it will be deemed
to have commenced multiple arbitrations, albeit the notice of
arbitration will be considered to be an application to consolidate
all of those arbitrations.
Joinder/intervention. Multi-contract and
multi-party disputes are common in international arbitration. The
SIAC Rules 2016 now enable both parties and non-parties to apply
for either joinder or intervention. In addition, such application
can be made either prior to the appointment of any arbitrator or
following the constitution of the Tribunal.
Reasoning in relation to
arbitrator challenges. SIAC has supplemented its existing
procedure for challenging arbitrators, and now the Court of
Arbitration of SIAC will provide reasoned decisions on challenges
brought against arbitrators. The administrative fees for bringing
an arbitrator challenge are now fixed at SGD8,000.
Seat of the
arbitration. The seat of an arbitration determines the
procedural law which applies to the conduct of the arbitration and,
normally, any appeal process in the courts of the jurisdiction in
question. Under the SIAC Rules 2016, Singapore will no longer be
the default seat of the arbitration. The Tribunal will now have the
power to determine the seat of the arbitration, unless it has
already been agreed upon by the parties.
Reimbursement for deposits
paid as a result of another party's default. The SIAC
Rules 2016 now give the Tribunal the power to make an order or
award that gives reimbursement of unpaid deposits towards the costs
of the arbitration where one party has had to pay the other's
share of the deposits. (This situation occurs often in arbitrations
when the respondent refuses and/or fails to pay its share of the
costs of the arbitration.)
Early dismissal of claim(s)
and defense(s). Under the SIAC Rules 2016, there will be a
procedure akin to a summary judgment and/or strike-out application.
Parties can now apply for a dismissal of a claim(s) or defense(s)
within 30 days of the constitution of the Tribunal. The Tribunal
will issue its decision on the application for dismissal within 60
days of the filing of the application.
Improvements in the
efficiency of the Emergency Arbitration procedure. The
SIAC Rules 2016 now provide that an Emergency Arbitrator will be
appointed within just one day of receipt by the Registrar of the
application for emergency interim relief, and the requisite fees
and deposits. In addition, the award of interim relief must now be
delivered within 14 days of the appointment of the Emergency
Singhania & Partners LLP, Solicitors and Advocates
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