From recent discussions with the Singapore Maritime Foundation, we understand that the target date for publication of the SSF is early 2011. Between now and then, the Singapore Maritime Foundation is conducting road shows in Asia to publicise the launch of the SSF.
The exact wording of the SSF is not yet publicly available, however the one major known difference between the SSF and the NSF relates to the dispute resolution provisions. Clause 16 of the NSF provides users with three options:
- arbitration in London;
- arbitration in New York; or
- arbitration in another jurisdiction as agreed.
In contrast, the SSF will provide, by default, for disputes to be referred to arbitration in Singapore.
The legal system in Singapore is well-respected, reliable and based on familiar common law principles. Singapore possesses world class arbitration institutions such as the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA). In addition, the Singapore courts are supportive of arbitration and hesitate to interfere in arbitration proceedings except in certain clearly defined circumstances.
The importance of Singapore as a global centre for dispute resolution continues to increase and it is hoped that usage of the SSF will promote this trend, particularly for those buyers and sellers based in Asia for whom Singapore would be a more convenient and familiar venue than London or New York.