The Singapore International Arbitration Centre, or SIAC, is a leading arbitration institution that provides a neutral and independent dispute resolution platform to businesses around the world and especially those involved in business in Asia.
The SIAC’s main mission is to provide arbitration case management services to parties involved in arbitration proceedings from all over the world.
The SIAC’s objective is to be the top institution “where the world arbitrates”. Its mission is to be “acknowledged as a truly international arbitration institute dedicated to providing world-class quality and efficient service, promoting arbitration as a preferred mode of dispute resolution”.
It has largely succeeded, and along with the ICC in Paris, the SIAC is a hotbed of international arbitration.
In 2017, the SIAC registered 452 new arbitrations, which places it well behind the ICC with 810 new cases, but well ahead of the LCIA with 285 newly registered arbitrations and the SCC with 108 new cases in 2017 as well as HKIAC with 262 new arbitration in 2016.
The average value of the arbitrations administered by the SIAC was about USD 16 million, far lower than the average value in dispute of USD 137 million reported by the ICC in 2017. 83% of arbitrations were international in nature, with parties from 58 jurisdictions. In arbitrations registered in 2017, there were 176 parties from India, 77 Chinese parties, 72 parties from Switzerland, 70 parties from the United States and 68 from Germany. Five of the arbitrations registered in 2017 involved sovereign States.
The SIAC’s Functions
The Court of Arbitration of the SIAC appoints arbitrators and oversees case administration. The SIAC has a panel of over 400 arbitrators from 40 jurisdictions on which to draw to decide disputes. It also supervises and monitors progress of cases.
The SIAC’s staff also manage all financial aspects of the arbitration, including:
- Regular rendering of accounts;
- Collecting deposits towards the costs of arbitration; and
- Processing the fees and expenses of the Arbitral Tribunal
The SIAC’s set of arbitration rules is composed of:
- The SIAC Arbitration Rules, usually referred to as the “SIAC Rules 2016”. These are the current rules of arbitration at the SIAC and came into force on 1 August 2016 (they are the 6th Edition of the rules);
- Investment Arbitration Rules of the SIAC or the “SIAC IA Rules 2017” is a specialised set of rules to address the issues present in the conduct of international investment arbitrations. The young SIAC IA Rules 2017 are effective as from 1 January 2017;
- SIAC SGX-DT Arbitration Rules (1st Edition, 1 July 2005) and the SIAC SGX-DC Arbitration Rules (1st Edition, 27 March 2006) are designed for the conduct of expedited arbitration for disputes arising from derivative trading (on the Exchange) and derivative clearing.
- The UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules may also be chosen for the conduct of arbitration at the SIAC, in a similar manner as to how the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) administers UNCITRAL arbitrations.
How Can an Arbitration Be Administered by the SIAC?
An arbitration can be administered by the SIAC if the parties agree to this. Most often consent is given in an arbitration agreement (also called an arbitration clause) signed in the Parties’ underlying contract before a dispute has arisen. The SIAC recommends the following model arbitration clause:
“Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract, including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC Rules”) for the time being in force, which rules are deemed to be incorporated by reference in this clause. The seat of the arbitration shall be … [Singapore or any other city]. The Tribunal shall consist of … [one or three] arbitrator(s). The language of the arbitration shall be … .”
If the arbitration clause provides for ad hoc arbitration, i.e., without referring to an institution to administer the arbitration, the parties may still reach agreement to have the SIAC administer the arbitration proceedings after a dispute has arisen.
How Much Does It Cost to Have an Arbitration Administered by the SIAC?
SIAC administrative fees are calculated based on the amount in dispute in accordance with the Administrative Fees Schedule. For example, for an arbitration with an amount in dispute of USD 1,000,000, the administrative fees will be about USD 12,500. As with other international arbitrations, the largest cost component is typically composed of legal fees.