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14 July 2020

ANNOUNCEMENT

Dear Members,

Covid-19 has caused the landscape for international arbitration to change completely. We have all had to step up to the challenge of virtual hearings. On one level, I have been pleasantly surprised by the options modern technology provide us. Virtual hearings may well remain the preferred option for directions hearings and applications that do not require witnesses.

However, the challenge for all of us relates to issues involving multiple days of hearing across time zones. Throw in the need for translation and/or transcription and we run the risk of compromising due process unless sufficient safeguards are first put in place. As Counsel, we have a duty to be proactive in taking preparatory steps to ensure the quality and reliability of the video-conferencing facilities and document management tools that are employed so as to achieve a fair hearing. I urge members to read the decisions in Sino Dragon Trading Ltd v Noble Resources International Pte Ltd [2016] FCA 1131 (Federal Court of Australia) and Anil Singh Gurm v J.S. Yeh & Co [2020] 1 SLR 555 (Singapore Court of Appeal) which discuss various permutations as to what could go wrong in a virtual hearing. These issues are relevant to us as both counsel and arbitrator towards ensuring final awards that are not susceptible to being set aside on challenges based on natural justice.

SIArb has also adapted and some of you would have attended virtual seminars hosted by us. Please do keep an eye on our website and sign up for the next one. While we look forward to returning to in person seminars, the experience has proven positive that we will likely retain some virtual seminars post-Covid as this will enable those overseas to participate as well.

My congratulations to the team working on the Singapore Arbitration Journal. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, our second issue was issued last month and we trust members have received their copies.

Meanwhile, stay safe. Take care of yourselves, your loved ones and your neighbours.

Dinesh Dhillon
President,
SIArb 2017-2021

6 April 2020

COVID-19 Announcement

Further to the Singapore Government’s announcement on 3 April 2020 regarding further tightening the restrictions on movements and gathering of people with effect from 7 April 2020 until further notice, please be informed that our office be closed with effect from 7 April 2020 to comply with this restriction.

However, our Business Continuity Plan will be activated as our Secretariat team members will work from home. We are still reachable through the Secretariat email addresses and office telephone number between the hours of 10am-5pm.

During this period, we will do our utmost best to respond to your queries and concerns though we seek your kind understanding that our response may be slower at times.

We will continue to monitor the situation as we progress through this period, and we will update you of further changes.


Covid-19 has caused the landscape for international arbitration to change completely.  We have all had to step up to the challenge of virtual hearings.  On one level, I have been pleasantly surprised by the options modern technology provide us.  Virtual hearings may well remain the preferred option for directions hearings and applications that do not require witnesses. 

However, the challenge for all of us relates to issues involving multiple days of hearing across time zones.  Throw in the need for translation and/or transcription and we run the risk of compromising due process unless sufficient safeguards are first put in place.  As Counsel, we have a duty to be proactive in taking preparatory steps to ensure the quality and reliability of the video-conferencing facilities and document management tools that are employed so as to achieve a fair hearing.  I urge members to read the decisions in Sino Dragon Trading Ltd v Noble Resources International Pte Ltd [2016] FCA 1131 (Federal Court of Australia) and Anil Singh Gurm v J.S. Yeh & Co [2020] 1 SLR 555 (Singapore Court of Appeal) which discuss various permutations as to what could go wrong in a virtual hearing.  These issues are relevant to us as both counsel and arbitrator towards ensuring final awards that are not susceptible to being set aside on challenges based on natural justice.

SIArb has also adapted and some of you would have attended virtual seminars hosted by us.  Please do keep an eye on our website and sign up for the next one.  While we look forward to returning to in person seminars, the experience has proven positive that we will likely retain some virtual seminars post-Covid as this will enable those overseas to participate as well.

My congratulations to the team working on the Singapore Arbitration Journal.  Despite the challenges of Covid-19, our second issue was issued last month and we trust members have received their copies.

Meanwhile, stay safe.  Take care of yourselves, your loved ones and your neighbours.

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