Speech by Senior Minister of State for Law and Education, Indranee Rajah at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Singapore) Evening Event
30 May 2013 Posted in Speeches
Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration (CIArb) Singapore Branch, Mr Richard Tan;
Mr Neil Block QC of Thirty Nine Essex Street Chambers;
Ladies and gentlemen,
- Growth of Arbitration and Intellectual Property as a Promising Growth Area
I should mention that Singapore has positioned itself as an arbitration hub and arbitration has grown significantly in Singapore. It’s now, I think, fair to say that Singapore is globally recognised as one of the preferred seats of arbitration. More firms are using Singapore as a base for their arbitration work here and in the region. Clients are using both local firms as well as international firms to arbitrate here which is a very good sign. International firms such as Shearman & Sterling, DLA Piper and Ashurst have all set up arbitration teams here.
More parties are coming to Singapore to have their cases arbitrated. Our flagship arbitration centre – the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) – saw an increase in its caseload and total sum of disputes arbitration in 2012 . In fact, just last month, I was in Mumbai for an event to mark the opening of the SIAC office there, and the sense I got from the Indian practitioners as well as the in-house counsel was that there was a very real need for an administering authority for arbitration and there’s obviously quite a lot of potential for work there, so arbitrators and lawyers in the audience should take note of that.
- Many factors have actually contributed to the growth of the international arbitration scene here. Some of these factors include:
- A legislative framework. We took a lot of care to ensure that we put in a strong legislative framework that was aligned with best practices internationally.
- We’re very grateful that we have a judiciary that is supportive of arbitration, which has allowed it to take off in a manner that is aligned also with global practice.
- We have a strong local Bar as well as participation by foreign law firms.
- We wanted an atmosphere where there is freedom on the part of the parties to engage lawyers from any country and use any governing law.
- Also of course, having a premier international arbitration administering institution like the SIAC, and a well-run flagship arbitration facility centre at Maxwell Chambers.
- It was more than a decade ago actually, 2002 to be precise, that we identified arbitration as a growth area and worked to put in place the necessary policies, legislative framework as well as the infrastructure to develop Singapore into the arbitration hub that it is today. It is a work in progress, and we will continue to see how we can improve our arbitration ecosystem, and how we can grow the arbitration pie. We welcome feedback from all of you, arbitrators and practitioners, to see how we can do better.
- More recently, we have identified Intellectual Property (IP) as a promising area of growth. Not too long ago, I announced the government’s plan to make Singapore as an IP hub in Asia.
- We’ve noticed that patent and trademark filings are increasing worldwide, but especially so in Asia. Global royalty and licensing revenues have also risen significantly. IP is becoming an important asset class and a key driver of growth in the knowledge economy.
- What is also growing is the number of IP disputes. In our recent announcement of the IP Hub Master Plan, we said that we want to grow Singapore as a hub for IP dispute resolution. We hope to build on the success we’ve had so far in international arbitration, and position ourselves to add IP arbitration to our range of offerings.
- In particular, we would like to establish a panel of top international IP arbitrators in Singapore. Our intention is to enhance the international profile of our IP arbitration capabilities, and to attract more IP-related cases here. Hopefully, this will contribute to the growth of legal services in Singapore.
- CIArb in Singapore
- CIArb plays an important role in the training and development of arbitrators worldwide in this arbitration ecosystem. I understand that CIArb today, has about 12,500 members globally, and it counts many prominent members of the arbitration community among them.
- The Singapore branch, which was set up two years ago, now has about 370 members and the number of members continues to grow rapidly.
- This is indicative of the rising levels of arbitration activity not just in Singapore, but in Asia, and all of you are well placed to ride this wave of growth.
- Given these opportunities, I would encourage the younger ones in the audience to consider arbitration as an area of specialisation, if you have not already done so.
- Winning essays on regulatory framework for arbitrators
- On to the essays. Today, I have the privilege of announcing the winners of the CIArb Singapore Young Members 2013 Essay Competition. I understand that over 10 entries were received.
- The inspiration was our Chief Justice’s key note address. Our Chief Justice is great at putting these ideas out there and stirring up a lot of responses, but in this case, I think regulation and arbitration and the role of standards of conduct not just for arbitrators but also for counsel, are topics which have attracted increasing attention. It is important for the arbitration community to be involved and engaged in discussing the issues affecting it. CIArb can play a role in providing platforms for discussion and promoting thought leadership.
- I am glad to see the Singapore branch of CIArb together with Thirty Nine Essex Street Chambers, actively engaging the young members of the legal profession in discussing the topics of the day.
- I know some of you who submitted entries are eagerly awaiting the results so let me not stand between you and that.
- In order of placing, third place: Miss Sapna Jhangiani of Clasis LLC;
- Second place, Miss Aurora Villacellino of Ince and Co;
- And lest you are wondering, the first prize winner is also a lady. The first prize and winner of the CIArb Young Members 2013 Essay Competition: Miss Harpreet Kaur Dhillon of the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore.
The total number of new cases handled by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has increased from 99 cases in 2008 to 235 cases in 2012. In addition, the total sum of disputes arbitrated in SIAC in 2012 was S$3.61 billion, more than the total sum of disputes in 2010 (S$1.35 billion) and 2011 (S$1.32 billion) combined.
Last updated on 31 May 2013