James Rogers, a Partner in our London office, and Lim Seok Hui, CEO of the SIAC and SIMC, discuss the new SIAC Arbitration rules which came into force on 1 August 2016.
James Rogers: Welcome Seok Hui. Thank you for joining us here in London today to talk about the new SIAC Arbitration Rules which I believe were effective as of 1 August this year. The most exciting change in the Rules is the adoption of an early dismissal procedure. Can you tell us a little about that?
Lim Seok Hui: You are right, we have been on a global roadshow now for a couple of months and that early dismissal procedure has generated the most buzz. Basically it’s an early dismissal of a claim or a defence, so either the claimant or the respondent can apply to use it. It was our proactive response to the common complaint in arbitration - certainly for common law practitioners - that there wasn’t an equivalent of the summary judgment or striking-out procedure that you get in court litigation. So we are hoping that users will see this as an additional tool in the practitioners’ toolkit for them to save time and costs and enable parties to narrow down disputes to bone fide claims and counterclaims and thereby quicken the resolution of a dispute.
James Rogers: I understand one area of change to the Rules was in the expedited procedure provisions. Can you tell me about those?
Lim Seok Hui: Under the new provisions we made a couple of tweaks to enhance the process. So what we have done is to raise the monetary threshold from SGD $5million to SGD $6million and we have also allowed for documents-only proceedings again to help expedite the process. We have included an express provision that if parties agree to use the SIAC Rules then they would be deemed to have agreed to the expedited procedure, including the sole arbitrator over a say three member tribunal. But we will exercise discretion, obviously, on a case by case basis.
James Rogers: Another area of change was to the emergency arbitrator provisions. What were those changes?
Lim Seok Hui: We are a world leader in this field - we have just completed our 51st emergency arbitrator case; that one was under the new 2016 Rules. Thankfully we met the 14 day timeline for issuance of the emergency arbitrator’s award. Very tight, very compressed timeframe - what we have done is to remove “business” from “business day” so now everything is done in either one day or two days under these new provisions.
James Rogers: Lastly, what’s next for the SIAC?
Lim Seok Hui: The investment arbitration rules – watch this space. Out in a couple of months fingers crossed.