Sarbjit Singh Chopra discusses the merits of Singapore’s dispute resolution offerings

The need to resolve legal disputes cost-effectively, efficiently and confidentially provides the impetus for litigants to choose arbitration over the more orthodox dispute resolution mediums. Thus far, Singapore has modelled itself – by enacting arbitration-friendly laws and reiterating its pro-enforcement stance on foreign arbitral awards – to reap the bountiful benefits of being regarded as an international arbitration centre. However, as the old adage goes, “all that glitters is not gold”. There are some in the legal industry who cite high costs and prolonged determinations as factors that weigh against arbitration.

Bearing these criticisms in mind, Singapore has taken steps to ensure that dispute resolution options in Singapore, be it arbitration or court proceedings, remain ahead of the competition.

A recent example is the prospective establishment of the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC), which when viewed against the backdrop of the recent reforms to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), is “nothing short of a savvy attempt to win the trifecta of international commercial dispute resolution”, as Michael Mcllwrath, associate general counsel for litigation at GE Oil & Gas, has put it.

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Sarbjit Singh Chopra is the director and head of the dispute resolution practice at Duane Morris & Selvam. Babita Ambekar, head of the firm’s India international investments practice, and Jamie Benson, head of the India capital markets practice, provided additional editorial input.