12 July 2019

Singapore ratchets up arbritration offering

WongPartnership and A&G among firms backing ICC Singapore Arbitration Group launch as new lead highlights “unparalleled diversity.”

By Dr David Cowan

Smitha Rajan Menon WongPartnership

In a bid to  raise the city-state’s Singapore’s profile further in international arbitration and dispute resolution, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) has established the ICC Singapore Arbitration Group.

International platform

The group will be chaired by Smitha Rajan Menon, a partner at WongPartnership and the Singapore representative to the ICC International Court of Arbitration. Andrew Yeo, a partner at Allen & Gledhill, will be the vice-chair. Other members include locally based Singaporean and foreign arbitration practitioners, Singaporean arbitration practitioners based overseas, academics and corporate counsels. The SBF said the group will work to represent the Singapore business community in support of the work of the ICC Policy Commission on Arbitration and ADR; promote ICC arbitration and other dispute resolution services in the region; and further develop the expertise of the regional dispute resolution community through capacity building activities. Chair of the Arbitration Group and Singapore court member in the ICC International Court of Arbitration, Ms Smitha Rajan Menon, stated that “The ICC brings a truly international platform and forward-looking ideology to the Singapore arbitration landscape, given its unstinting dedication towards diversity and nurturing young talent.”

“Unparalleled diversity”

Last year, the ICC ranked Singapore 11th in the list of number of arbitrators by nationality, with 35 Singaporean arbitrators having been confirmed or appointed to ICC arbitral tribunals. The ICC Arbitration Case Management Office in Singapore, set up in April 2018, has already administered its first 100 cases. Ho Meng Kit, ceo of SBF, said “Singapore continues to be one of the top ten places in the world for arbitration. SBF is proud to launch the ICC Singapore Arbitration Group, which will give a further boost to ICC arbitration here.” Mr Ho added, “It is our hope that with the establishment of this Group, we can contribute to Singapore’s efforts to bolster our position as an international hub for commercial dispute resolution.” On diversity, Ms Menon explained “In 2018, the ICC achieved full gender parity and unparalleled diversity in its Court of Arbitration, with more than half its members being below 50, 40 percent of the Court being between 41 and 50 and more than 15 percent being younger than 40. The development of younger practitioners is integral to sustaining long-term dynamic growth in international arbitration, and the ICC continues to ‘walk the talk’ in pursuing this.”

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