Singapore’s ambitious plans for an international commercial court are set to expand upon its success in arbitration, helping it siphon away more legal business from rivals like London and Hong Kong.
The court, announced last December and which could be launched by the end of the year, would also come with a mediation center as Singapore seeks to remake itself as Asia’s one-stop legal city, offering all three types of dispute resolution.
That would help set Singapore apart from Hong Kong which does not have a commercial court, as well as encroach on London’s dominance in litigation for big cross-border corporate spats.
“Among the leading cities for dispute resolution, some are resting on their laurels and others are trying increase their attractiveness to parties – Singapore leads the pack in the latter category,” said Michael McIlwrath, senior litigation counsel for GE Oil & Gas, who is based in Florence, Italy.
Benefiting from the city state’s position as a regional business hub, a strong judicial system and a rise in disputes as Asia-related trade grows rapidly, the number of new cases handled by Singapore’s arbitration center has tripled since its launch in 1991.