08 Jul 2010

Changes to SIAC Arbitration Rules

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has released a revision of its SIAC Arbitration Rules (SIAC Rules). This is the first major revision of the SIAC Rules since 2007. The revised SIAC Rules took effect on 1 July 2010 and will apply to any arbitration commenced under SIAC Rules on or after 1 July 2010, unless the parties expressly agreed otherwise.

The changes include:

  • Expedited arbitration procedure (Rule 5) upon application of a party if any of the following conditions is fulfilled: (a) the amount in dispute is below S$5million; (b) in cases of exceptional urgency; or (c) if the parties agree.

  • Under the expedited procedure the arbitrator shall make an award within six months from the constitution of the tribunal. Reasons of the award may be in "summary form" under the expedited procedure.
  • Right of either party to challenge an arbitrator if he or she refuses or fails to act or is not fulfilling his/her functions in accordance with the Rules or within prescribed time limits. The Chairman of SIAC further has a discretionary right to remove an arbitrator for that reason (Rule 14).
  • Additional protection of confidentiality by allowing the tribunal to impose sanctions in case of a breach of confidentiality obligations (Rule 35.4).
  • New rules dealing with appointment of arbitrators in multi-party proceedings and joinder of third parties to proceedings (Rule 9 and Rule 24(b)).

  • Express prohibition of ex-parte communication with president of the tribunal or a candidate for the same (Rule 10.7).
  • Clarification on the nature and content of any written submissions required to be made under the SIAC Rules (Rule 17).
  • New "Additional Powers" for arbitrators to decide on issues of legal privilege (Rule 24(o)) and to issue an award on unpaid costs (Rule 24(h)) of arbitration.
  • Establishment of a committee of the SIAC board to decide on jurisdictional challenges when the other party does not agree to the challenge and the arbitrator who is being challenged does not withdraw voluntarily within 7 days of a notice of challenge.
  • New rule on interim and emergency relief through an emergency arbitrator (Rule 26) prior to the constitution of the tribunal.
  • Revised rule on the applicable substantive law (Rule 27) clarifying that arbitrators may only act ex aequo et bono and as amiable compositeur if expressly authorised by the parties.

It is important to consider whether and how these changes will influence future arbitration proceedings under the SIAC Rules and when drafting arbitration clauses incorporating the SIAC Rules.

In the meantime, please contact our international arbitration team if you have any questions regarding these changes.

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