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SIAC reports another record-breaking year

4 April 2018

This article is produced by CMS Holborn Asia, a formal law alliance between CMS Singapore and Holborn Law LLC.

On 7 March 2018, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) announced the release of its 2017 Annual Report (the “Annual Report”). The Annual Report sets out detailed statistics for yet another record-breaking year for SIAC in terms of both new cases handled by the SIAC as well as the total number of SIAC-administered cases (SIAC’s third year-on-year increase since 2014 and the highest number of new case filings and administered cases in SIAC’s 27-year history).

Key Takeaways

New records:

  • Highest number of cases filed: 452 (32% increase from 2016 and a 67% increase from 2015) – SIAC has seen its new case filings increase by more than 5 times over the last decade.
  • Highest number of administered cases: 421 (37% increase from 2016 and a 72.5% increase from 2015).

Increasing international reach:

  • 83% of the new cases were international in nature (i.e. where one or both parties were not Singaporean) compared to 80% in 2016.
  • Cases involved parties from 58 jurisdictions (compared to 56 jurisdictions in 2016).
  • Significant increase in the number of parties from Germany (68 in 2017 compared to 5 in 2015), Japan (27 in 2017 compared to 13 in 2016), Switzerland (72 in 2017 compared to 15 in 2016), the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) (34 in 2017 compared to 13 in 2017) and the United States of America (“USA”) (70 in 2017 compared to 42 in 2016).
  • Top 5 foreign users were India, China, Switzerland, USA and Germany in that order (parties from India and China remained the top 2 foreign users of SIAC respectively with Switzerland (3rd place), Germany (5th place), UAE (7th place) and Japan (joint 9th place) being new entrants in the list of top 10 foreign users).

Increasing use of SIAC procedures:

  • All 19 Emergency Arbitrator applications in 2017 were accepted. This is an increase from 6 Emergency Arbitrator applications in 2016 (all of which were accepted).
  • SIAC introduced the Early Dismissal (“ED”) procedure in 2016, making SIAC the first among the world’s major international commercial arbitration centres to adopt such a procedure. In 2017, SIAC received 5 ED applications – 4 applications were allowed to proceed with 1 application pending as of 31 December 2017.
  • Increase in both the number of Expedited Procedure (“EP”) applications (107 in 2017 compared to 70 in 2016) as well as in the percentage of applications accepted (51% acceptance rate in 2017 compared to 40% in 2016).

Singapore law remains the governing law of choice:

  • Singapore law continues to be the most popular choice of governing law followed by English law.
  • Increase in Singapore law as the governing law of choice (12% increase from 2016).
  • Slight increase in English law as the governing law of choice (2% increase from 2016).

Continued growth and thought leadership

In August 2017, SIAC announced the opening of its second representative office in India (after its Mumbai representative office, which was established in 2013) in the International Financial Services Centre in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT IFSC). The opening of a second SIAC office in India will deepen SIAC’s existing ties with the legal and business communities in India.

SIAC’s commitment to improving the arbitral process for users is further evident in SIAC’s proposal on cross-institution co-operation for the consolidation of international arbitration proceedings.

Our summary and comments on SIAC’s proposal can be accessed here.