16 December 2019
December is upon us. It is a fitting time to look back at what 2019 has brought us.
On 26 Nov 2019, we launched the Singapore Arbitration Journal, a joint initiative with the Singapore Academy of Law. Members will all receive complimentary copies. I would like to congratulate the General Editor Mohan Pillay, Editor Chan Leng Sun SC and Publishing Editor Yeo Boon Tat for seeing this vision through from conception to delivery. We are also very grateful to the advisory board of VK Rajah SC, Toby Landau QC, Loretta Malintoppi and Prof Lawrence Boo for taking time to guide us. Not to be forgotten are the invaluable team of Assistant Editors, Ramandeep Kaur, Matthew Koh, Janice Lee, Mahesh Rai, Tan Hai Song, Benjamin Tham, and Derric Yeoh. The aspiration behind the journal was to produce a world class platform for thought leadership on global arbitration issues yet with a Singapore focus. I believe we have achieved that with this first issue and work is already underway to continue this. I hope the journal inspires you to consider making future contributions.
This year we also launched the SIArb Annual Lecture. We were very privileged to have Toby Landau QC with us to speak on “Arbitral Groundhog Day: The Problem of Repeat Claims and Issues in Arbitration”. I understand that Toby will be publishing a paper on this in the next edition of the Singapore Arbitration Journal so we look forward to that.
7 August 2019 will be a day etched forever in our memories. The Singapore Mediation Convention progressed from a dream to reality. Singapore now offers a tripartite solution for dispute resolution through International Arbitration, Mediation and the SICC. Some may be concerned about competition from within. I however believe these 3 offerings complement each other and provide end users a choice which hopefully leads them to Singapore. Competition if any can only be good as we strive to constantly improve and innovate.
The Queen Mary survey results on International Arbitration was released in March this year. Congratulations are in order for SIAC who were ranked the 3rd most preferred arbitral institution in the world. Singapore was ranked the third most preferred seat in the world and the top seat in Asia. The Singapore brand of arbitration excellence is certainly making its mark and we at SIArb must also play our part in ensuring its continued success. One issue that we will continue to raise is ethics in international arbitration. This is the subject of a paper by Michael Hwang SC and Adriana Uson in the journal and I urge you all to reflect on the issues and proposals made. We had kicked off 2019 with a panel session chaired by Leng Sun on the issue of ethics and got to hear views from VK Rajah, Gary Born, Michael Hwang and Professor Lucy Reed. I believe that ethics is the foundation for legal practice. If we lose focus on ethics, we are at risk of losing our status as professionals. The lack of a consistent and uniform enforceable ethical standard is a concern we must pay attention to. SIArb remains committed to widening this conversation.
It remains for me to congratulate our Council members and Committee chairs for all the excellent work they have done. I wish all members a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!