13 July 2016

Singapore International Arbitration Centre releases new arbitration rules

The SIAC announced the official release of the sixth edition of its arbitration rules.  The release of the new rules marks the SIAC’s 25th anniversary and confirms a commitment to providing the highest standard of efficient, professional case management for international arbitration. Key innovations are the new multi-party and multi-contract provisions, and the procedure for early dismissal of claims and defences. These changes are a welcome development in a world of increasingly complex international commercial disputes. The SIAC Rules 2016 will come into effect on 1 August 2016 and are available on the SIAC website. Click on read more for a summary of all important changes.

Key changes

The SIAC Rules 2016 are aimed at further ensuring the timely, efficient and cost-effective resolution of disputes:

  • Multiple contracts and consolidation: a streamlined process is introduced for parties to resolve disputes arising out of or in connection with multiple contracts or multiple arbitration agreements. Two or more arbitrations pending under the SIAC rules may be consolidated into a single arbitration, provided that certain criteria are satisfied. These criteria include all parties having consented to the consolidation, or all the claims in the arbitrations being made under the same arbitration agreement.
  • Joinder of additional parties: the parties to the dispute as well as non-parties are allowed to apply for an additional party to be joined in the proceedings, and the application may be made before or after the constitution of the arbitration tribunal. Unless the additional party to be joined is bound by the arbitration agreement, all parties involved have to consent to the joinder.
  • Early dismissal of claims and defences: a party may file for the early dismissal of a claim or defence within 30 days of the constitution of the tribunal, and the tribunal issues its order or award within 60 days of the filing. The SIAC is the first among the world’s major commercial arbitration centres to adopt this provision in its rules.
  • Delocalising the seat of the arbitration: instead of Singapore being the default seat of arbitration, the seat will be determined by the tribunal unless the parties have agreed otherwise.
  • Remedy against a non-paying party: the tribunal will have the power to issue an order or award for the reimbursement of unpaid deposits towards the costs of the arbitration.
  • Enhancing the emergency arbitrator proceedings: shorter times for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator are introduced, and an order or award of interim relief must be issued within 14 days after appointment of the emergency arbitrator. The fees of an emergency arbitrator are fixed at SGD 25,000.
  • Expanding and refining the expedited procedure: to allow for more cases to make use of this mechanism, the monetary threshold for applicability has been raised from SGD 5,000,000 to SGD 6,000,000. The Tribunal may determine that a case conducted under the expedited procedure is to be decided on the basis of documentary evidence only.
  • Arbitrator challenges: the Court of Arbitration of SIAC will issue reasoned decisions on all challenges to arbitrators. The administrative fees payable for arbitrator challenges are fixed at SGD 8,000.

Investment arbitration rules

The SIAC also announced the imminent launch of its Investment Arbitration Rules in September 2016. More details on these rules will follow as soon as the new rules have been revealed.

SIAC Users Council

The SIAC Users Council, of which De Brauw partners Bommel van der Bend and Edward van Geuns are a member, played a key role in the revision process. In December 2015, the SIAC Rules Revision Executive Committee released a preliminary draft of the new Arbitration Rules, and invited the SIAC Users Council to provide feedback. De Brauw took this opportunity to be involved in the consultation process.