Samantha Lee
Claims Director
Charles Taylor plc

Chan Leng Sun, S.C.
Principal
Baker & McKenzie, Wong & Leow

In the October 2009 offshore special edition of the Standard Bulletin, we reviewed one vehicle for settling disputes in Singapore, namely the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA).

In this article, we review the developments that have helped to position Singapore as a regional leader in arbitration. A developed legal infrastructure, modern facilities and focused support from all branches of the government and arbitration practitioners (local and foreign) are some of the key factors in Singapore becoming a regional arbitration centre.

The international arbitration regime in Singapore is governed by the International Arbitration Act (IAA), which gives the force of law to the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (the Model Law) with some modifications. The IAA also gives effect to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (New York Convention).

The domestic arbitration regime is governed by the Arbitration Act (AA). The AA was revised in 2002 so as to harmonise the laws on domestic and international arbitrations. The AA operates as the default regime if an arbitration in Singapore falls outside the reach of the IAA or parties opt out of the IAA. One difference between the IAA and the AA is that the AA permits referral of a question of law to be determined by the courts instead of the tribunal in the course of the arbitration.

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