What is your role at the SIAC and how large is your
Rachel Foxton heads the business development team at the
Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) while I am
part of the case management team and also head India
The SIAC team is about 20 strong and consists of lawyers
qualified in various jurisdictions including Singapore, India,
the UK, Belgium, Malaysia and Canada.
As part of the business development team, Rachel and I
market the SIAC's capabilities in different jurisdictions and
we carry the message on the need for international
institutional arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism to
legal and business communities in developing jurisdictions. We
also train and create awareness on jurisprudence on
international arbitration law and practice across
What have been the most important dispute resolution
developments in India recently?
Indian courts, in recent times, have been more supportive of
foreign seated arbitrations, and have been reluctant to
exercise jurisdiction in such cases.
As readers will be aware, in early 2012, a five-judge Bench
of the Supreme Court of India carried out an audit of some of
the controversial Indian court decisions on the scope of powers
of the Indian courts in relation to international arbitration.
A decision is expected soon. On invitation from the Court, the
SIAC filed an intervention before the five-Judge Bench to share
the Singapore judicial and legislative experience with similar
issues on the interpretation of the Model Law.
These are very promising developments for the future of
international arbitration involving Indian parties.
What are the greatest challenges for foreign investors
engaged in litigation matters in India?
Much like Singapore, India has a robust legal system and a
strong judiciary guided by the rule of law.
Having said that, the feedback that we have received from
our users is that delay remains a challenge in the resolution
of disputes by Indian courts and the primary reason why they
have turned to dispute resolution outside India.
Why do you think foreign investors are resolving their
Indian disputes in Singapore?
Singapore is in a unique global position in as much it is an
established centre for outbound and inbound investment between
Asia and the rest of the world. Its growth as a preferred
international dispute resolution destination is borne out of
several factors including its neutrality and the excellent
infrastructure available for arbitration. Singapore's legal
system has constantly and strongly supported international
arbitration, party autonomy and the finality of arbitral
awards. Singapore nurtures a liberal market that freely permits
foreign counsel and arbitrators to participate in arbitral
proceedings. Singapore's judiciary is viewed as one that
understands and encourages commercial enterprise and is
independent from influence. Singapore is also a naturally
neutral seat, a global city and is geographically well located
in relation to India and the rest of the region.
In addition to the above, Singapore enjoys a unique
advantage in relation to Indian disputes due to its familiarity
for Indian parties. Singapore is also one of 45 jurisdictions
notified by the Government of India as being New York
Convention territories from which Indian courts will recognise
and enforce arbitral awards.
Our experience has also been that costs, timelines and the
availability of certain unique procedures under our Rules have
been factors that have contributed to parties choosing to
arbitrate at the SIAC and in Singapore, in preference to other
jurisdictions and institutions, particularly in India related
What issues do investors face when resolving disputes in
While investors in the region are familiar with the SIAC and
Singapore as a dispute resolution destination, many financial
institutions in Europe and the US are not as well acquainted
with the knowledge and expertise that is available here. We
therefore have a strong need to reach out to them, particularly
in connection with Asia related disputes.
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