By Fabian Chiang
On the 28th of June 2017, the SLR was honoured to be invited to the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) 3rd Asia Conference on International Arbitration where the ICC conducted talks and training programmes on the arbitration and its impact on international business. The conference featured an illustrious register of senior lawyers, corporate counsels, arbitrators, and eminent academics, with the opening Keynote delivered by Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law, Ms. Indranee Rajah. The SLR sent two of its members to the conference.
The talks covered topics such as developments in third party funding, expedited arbitration mechanisms and investment arbitration. Of particular interest was the talk on third party funding, given Singapore’s recent changes under the Civil Law (Amendment) Bill 2016 which introduced third party funding in Singapore. The changes also apply to international arbitration proceedings, thereby abolishing the common law tort of maintenance and champerty. No doubt, the passing of the amendments would strengthen Singapore's ongoing pursuit of becoming an international arbitration hub since third party funding is a common practice in other major arbitration centres. These changes are also closely watched, with Hong Kong having just passed a similar amendment bill in June 2017 to allow the practice. The discussion was led by a distinguished panel of international lawyers from France, Hong Kong and Singapore. With the changes having only recently taken effect in Januarythis year, one can see the adaptability and dynamism required of lawyers and arbitrators in this rapidly expanding field.
Arbitration aside, we note too that amendments were also made to the Legal Profession Act such that lawyers are now allowed to introduce or refer third party funding to their clients so long as they do not receive any direct financial benefit in the process. The practical ramifications of these changes across jurisdictions, along with other sea changes in arbitration, were tabled and discussed by practitioners and guests. Convening to share their insights, the discussants brought together a plethora of experiences from across the globe.
The significance of recent developments and innovations in arbitration cannot be understated; arbitration’s importance has grown beyond merely being an alternative for dispute resolution to being a competitive and viable one. While we were regrettably unable to attend the talks themselves, the SLR’s members anchored on the opportunity at the conference to speak and learn from various legal and business professionals, including a Deputy Solicitor General of Hong Kong. These interactions have certainly been fruitful to us, and we similarly hope that the guests have become more familiar with the SLR’s work and our Singaporean legal landscape.
The 4th ICC Asia Conference on International Arbitration will be held on 26-28 June 2018 in Hong Kong. Do click on this link (or on the preview below) to find out more, and mark down the upcoming Conference on your agenda.
The SLR would once again like to thank the ICC for inviting us to the conference. We look forward to expanding our working partnership in the future if possible and hope to publish more arbitration related papers in our publication in the future.
Writer: Fabian Chiang
Photo Credits: ICC