SIAC released draft revised rules for public comment on 18 January 2016.

The latest revision to the 2013 SIAC Arbitration Rules  aims to introduce “state-of-the-art” changes to take into account recent developments in international arbitration practice and the evolving needs of SIAC’s users.

An Overview of Key Proposed Changes

  • Multi-contract arbitration (Draft Rule 4) : A claimant may commence a single arbitration concerning disputes arising out of or in connection with multiple contracts subject to:
    • The parties’ consent; or
    • The compatibility of the arbitration agreements.
  • Joinder and Intervention (Draft Rule 7): Additional parties may be added upon the application by a party or non-party to the arbitration prior to the appointment of any arbitrators provided:
    • The additional party is a party to the arbitration agreement; or
    • If the additional party is not a party to the arbitration agreement, all parties including the additional party, consent to the joinder.
  • Consolidation (Draft Rule 8): Two or more pending arbitrations may be consolidated upon a party’s application where:
    • All parties consent to the consolidation; or
    • All the claims are made under the same arbitration agreement; or
    • The arbitration agreements are compatible.
  • Decision on Challenge (Draft Rule 16.1): If an arbitrator is challenged, the SIAC Court of Arbitration or Registrar hearing the challenge may request for the parties and the arbitrator to provide comments and/or submissions and may set a schedule for these comments and/or submissions to be made.
  • Replacement of Arbitrator (Draft Rule 17.3): The SIAC’s President may remove an arbitrator at his own initiative if the arbitrator does not conduct or participate in the arbitration:
    • With due diligence; and/or
    • In a manner that ensures the fair, expeditious and economical determination of the dispute.
  • Party Representatives (Draft Rule 22):
    • The Registrar and/or Tribunal may require proof of the authority of any party representatives;
    • Any party seeking to add to or change its representatives shall notify all parties promptly in writing; and
    • Any party seeking to change or add to its representatives after the full constitution of the Tribunal shall ensure that it does not engage a representative that may impact the composition of the Tribunal and/or the finality of any award that will be made by the Tribunal.
  • Tribunal’s commitment to closure of proceedings and draft award delivery (Draft Rule 30.1):
    • The Tribunal shall declare the proceedings closed no later than 30 days after the last hearing concerning matters to be decided in the award or the filing of the last Tribunal-directed submissions;
    • The Tribunal’s declaration of the closure shall be copied to the parties and the Registrar; and
    • If the Tribunal re-opens the proceedings (before any award is made), its shall seek a 30-day extension of the timeline to close the proceedings, if necessary .
  • Confidentiality of awards (Draft Rule 30.10):
    • The consent of the parties and the Tribunal is required before the publication of any award (the requirement that the names of the parties and other identifying information should be redacted remains).
  • Confidentiality of deliberations and discussions (Draft Rules 37.1 and 38.1):
    • The Tribunal’s deliberations shall be confidential.
    • The SIAC Court of Arbitration’s discussions and deliberations shall be confidential, unless the Court decides otherwise.
  • Waiver of right to object (Rule 39.4):
    • If a party proceeds with the arbitration without raising any objection to:
      • a failure to comply with any provision of the SIAC Rules or any other rules applicable to the proceedings; or
      • any direction given by the Tribunal; or
      • any requirement under the arbitration agreement relating to the Tribunal’s constitution; or
      • the conduct of the proceedings;

the party is deemed to have waived its right to object.

Emergency arbitration:

  • Seat of Emergency Arbitration (Draft Schedule 1, Rule 3):
    • If the parties have agreed on the seat of arbitration, this shall also be the seat of the proceedings for emergency interim reliefs.
    • In the absence of an agreement, the seat of emergency interim relief proceedings shall be Singapore, without prejudice to the Tribunal’s power to determine a more appropriate seat based on the circumstances of the case.
  • Expanded powers for Emergency Arbitrators (Draft Schedule 1, Rule 7):
    • Emergency Arbitrators shall have the power to award preliminary orders (in addition to interim reliefs).
  • Expanded scope of Registrar’s power (Draft Schedule 1, Rule 13):
    • The Registrar may shorten any time limits for interim and emergency relief proceedings.
  • Emergency Arbitrator’s fees (Draft Schedule of Fees, Clause 2):
    • The Emergency Arbitrator’s fees and expenses are capped at S$25,000 unless the Registrar determines otherwise.*

The public consultation period ended on 29 February 2016. The revised verson of the SIAC Arbitration Rules is expected to be effective in mid-2016.

On 1 February 2016, SIAC released its draft Investment Arbitration Rules for public consultation. This is a significant step by the SIAC to create a comprehensive set of specialised rules for investor-state arbitrations and a potential alternative to the ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules.

* The Emergency Arbitrator’s fees (excluding expenses) were previously capped at 20% of a Sole Arbitrator’s maximum fees.

About Lakshanthi Fernando

International Dispute resolution and Arbitration lawyer
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