SIAC Year in Review 2020

Happy New Year from all of us at SIAC and best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2021.

As we welcome the new year, we look back fondly at some of the key highlights of 2020.

1 Launch of SIAC Americas Office in New York, USA and Announcement of New Record Caseload

In early December 2020, SIAC announced the opening of the SIAC Americas representative office in New York, USA.

This is SIAC’s first representative office outside of Asia, and SIAC’s fifth overseas representative office.

The official launch of the SIAC Americas office was commemorated by a virtual launch ceremony which featured a keynote speech by Minister K Shanmugam, SC, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law of Singapore.

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Minister K Shanmugam, SC
In his keynote speech at the launch ceremony, Minister Shanmugam announced that SIAC had set a new record in 2020, with 1005 new cases as of 30 October 2020, which included two sets of related cases. SIAC’s full caseload for 2020 will be announced sometime in the first half of 2021.

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Left to Right: Mr Davinder Singh, SC, and Mr Gary Born at the SIAC Americas virtual launch ceremony
As part of the official launch of the SIAC Americas office, three online panel sessions moderated by SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, were broadcasted, focusing on perspectives from the East Coast and West Coast of the USA, as well as Latin America.

The online panels featured arbitration luminaries, including SIAC Court Vice Presidents, Mr Cavinder Bull, SC, and Ms Lucy Reed, SIAC Court members, Ms Catherine Amirfar, Ms Julie Bédard, Mr Nigel Blackaby QC, and Ms Abby Cohen Smutny, as well as SIAC Deputy Chairman, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, and SIAC Board member, Mr Chong Yee Leong.

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Left to Right: Mr Cavinder Bull, SC, Ms Lucy Reed, Ms Catherine Amirfar, Ms Julie Bédard, Mr Nigel Blackaby QC, and Ms Abby Cohen Smutny at the SIAC Americas virtual launch
2 New SIAC Overseas Representatives for for Americas and China

In 2020, SIAC welcomed new overseas representatives for its New York and Shanghai offices.

Mr Zhang Cunyuan was appointed Chief Representative for China and Deputy Head (China). He oversees SIAC’s activities in China with the assistance of Ms Sophia Liu Jianying, Deputy Head (China).

Ms Adriana Uson was appointed Head (Americas) for the newly launched SIAC Americas office.

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Left to Right: Mr Zhang Cunyuan and Ms Adriana Uson
3 Promotions and New Hires in the SIAC Secretariat and Business Development Team

In 2020, SIAC strengthened its Secretariat workforce with two new Associate Counsel hires bringing the total number of lawyers in the Secretariat to fourteen. Our new colleagues are Ms Lynnette Lee and Mr Jayden Zhao, who are both qualified in Singapore.

SIAC Secretariat, Ms Lim Shi Jean, Ms Pauline Low, Mr Piyush Prasad, Mr Kendista Wantah, and Ms Angela Yap, were promoted to Counsel in the SIAC Secretariat in 2020, bringing the total number of Counsel in the Secretariat to seven.

Ms Mah Sue Ann and Ms Perry Wong, who are disputes lawyers qualified in Malaysia and Singapore respectively, joined the business development team at SIAC as Business Development Managers (Legal).

4 SIAC Virtual Congress 2020

In light of the pandemic, SIAC’s flagship event, the SIAC Congress, was held virtually in September 2020 and brought together distinguished members of the judiciary, the SIAC Board of Directors, the SIAC Court of Arbitration, and other leading international arbitration experts.

The SIAC Virtual Congress attracted over 1000 participants from 6 continents.

Special highlights of the Congress programme included a keynote speech by the Honourable the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Singapore, Mr Sundaresh Menon, on international arbitration and the rule of law, as well as a plenary session titled “International Arbitration: The Challenges and Changing Landscape”.

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The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon
The panellists for the plenary session were Chief Justice Menon, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Singapore, Mr Edwin Tong SC, the Honourable Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court, Justice Anselmo Reyes, SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, SIAC Court member, Prof Lawrence Boo, and Deputy Senior State Counsel, Attorney-General’s Chambers of Singapore, Ms Natalie Y. Morris-Sharma. SIAC Court member, Mr Toby Landau QC, moderated the session.

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Minister Edwin Tong SC
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The Honourable Justice Anselmo Reyes
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Left to Right: Prof Lawrence Boo, Mr Toby Landau QC, and Ms Natalie Y. Morris-Sharma at the SIAC Virtual Congress 2020
The plenary session was followed by a Lunchtime Chat, a Debate on whether virtual hearings are just as effective as in-person hearings, and a Virtual Hearing Demonstration.

5 SIAC Academy Goes Virtual

Both editions of the SIAC Academy were held virtually this year.

The first edition of the SIAC Academy, titled “Time and Cost Savers at SIAC: Emergency Arbitration, Expedited Procedure and Early Dismissal” was conducted for the SIAC Indochina Academy on 15-16 October 2020.

The teaching faculty was chaired by SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, and featured SIAC Court member, Ms K. Shanti Mogan, as well as leading arbitration practitioners and arbitrators from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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Ms K. Shanti Mogan, Mr Edmund J. Kronenburg, Mr Pisut Attakamol, Dr Hop Dang, Mr Minn Naing Oo, Mr K. Luan Tran, Ms Delphine Ho, and Mr Kevin Nash at the SIAC Indochina Academy
The second edition of the SIAC Academy, titled “The Making of an Advocate and an Arbitrator”, was conducted for the SIAC China Academy on 20-21 August 2020, the SIAC North East Asia Academy on 10-11 September 2020 and the SIAC South Asia Academy on 6-7 November 2020.

The teaching faculties were chaired by SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, and featured SIAC Board and Court members, YSIAC Committee members, as well as leading arbitration practitioners and arbitrators from those regions.

The SIAC Board and Court members who participated in the SIAC China Academy were Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Prof Lawrence Boo, Mr Cao Lijun, and Ms Jessica Fei.

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Left to Right: Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, Mr Cao Lijun, Ms Jessica Fei, Dr Helena Chen, Dr Michael Hwang, SC, and Mr Thio Shen Yi, SC, at the SIAC China Academy
The SIAC Board and Court members who participated in the SIAC North East Asia Academy were Mr Chong Yee Leong, Mr John P. Bang, Dr Eun Young Park, Mr Toby Landau QC, Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka, and Mr Alan Thambiayah.

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Left to Right: Mr John P. Bang, Dr Eun Young Park, Mr Hiroyuki Tezuka, Mr Alan Thambiayah, Mr Chong Yee Leong, and Ms Yoshimi Ohara at the SIAC North East Asia Academy
The SIAC Court members who participated in the SIAC South Asia Academy were Prof Bernard Hanotiau, Mr Tejas Karia, Mr Darius J. Khambata, SC, and Ms Shaneen Parikh.

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Left to Right: The Honourable Justice A.K. Sikri (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India; International Judge, Singapore International Commercial Court), Prof Bernard Hanotiau, Mr Darius J. Khambata, SC, Mr Tejas Karia, Ms Shaneen Parikh and Mr Ajmalul Hossain QC at the SIAC South Asia Academy
6 “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” Module Goes Global

For the third year running, the “SIAC and Institutional Arbitration” module was conducted at the National University of Singapore (NUS) law faculty in September.

For the first time, a joint edition of the SIAC module was conducted in China in collaboration with Fudan University Law School (Fudan)and East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL)in October.

The SIAC module was also conducted in India at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University of Law, Hyderabad in November.

Online editions of the modules were held in light of the pandemic and involved SIAC Board and Court members based in multiple time zones. The SIAC module introduced participants to the role and function of arbitral institutions in guiding and shaping the practice and development of international arbitration, and to the complex issues that arbitral institutions face in the administration of arbitrations, including, among others, the appointment of arbitrators and the issuance of arbitral rules and practice notes.

SIAC Court President, Mr Gary Born, was the course convenor for all three SIAC modules.

The lecturers for the module at NUS were SIAC Chairman, Mr Davinder Singh, SC, SIAC Deputy Chairman, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, SIAC Board member, Mr Chong Yee Leong, SIAC Court Vice President, Ms Lucy Reed, SIAC Court members, Dr Claudia Annacker and Prof Lawrence Boo, as well as the SIAC Secretariat.

The lecturers for the SIAC module at Fudan and ECUPL included SIAC Deputy Chairman, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, SIAC Board member, Mr David Liu Dali, SIAC Court members, Dr Claudia Annacker, Ms Julie Bédard, Prof Lawrence Boo and Mr Cao Lijun.

The lecturers for the SIAC module at NALSAR included SIAC Board member, Mr Chong Yee Leong, SIAC Court members, Dr Claudia Annacker, Prof Lawrence Boo, Mr Tejas Karia, Mr Darius J. Khambata, SC, and Ms Shaneen Parikh.

In addition to the SIAC module, guest lectures were also conducted remotely at ECUPL, Fudan, Gujarat National Law University, Keio University, Kyushu University, NALSAR, National Law School, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Thammasat University (TU), and Yonsei University.

7 SIAC International Arbitration Webinar Series and Partnerships

In April 2020, at the start of the circuit breaker in Singapore, SIAC launched the SIAC International Arbitration Webinar Series. 60 webinars have since been held in 2020.

These webinars include webinars on virtual hearings and related issues, webinars with the SIAC Secretariat on SIAC case administration during COVID-19, as well as topical legal issues.

In addition to the above webinar series, a number of joint webinars were held with the Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC), Beijing Arbitration Commission/Beijing International Arbitration Centre (BAC/BIAC), China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA),KCAB International, New York University School of Law, and New York International Arbitration Centre (NYIAC).

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Left to Right: Justice Francesco Cortesi (Judge, Italian Supreme Court), Mr Alvin Yeo, SC, Prof Gary F. Bell, Prof Franco Ferrari, Dr Friedrich Rosenfeld, and Prof Marco Torsello at the joint SIAC-NYU School of Law webinar titled, “CISG in International Arbitration”

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Left to Right: Mr Thomas R. Snider, Mr Reza Mohtashami QC, Prof Dr Nayla Comair-Obeid, Mr Adrian Tan, and Mr Ian de Vaz at the SIAC Middle East Webinar, “Post-COVID: The Future of International Arbitration”
SIAC also held a hybrid event with the Japan International Dispute Resolution Center (JIDRC) in December 2020 that offered participants the option to participate virtually or to attend physically at JIDRC’s premises in Tokyo.

Prior to the pandemic, in February 2020, SIAC held the SIAC-ADGM Arbitration Conference in Abu Dhabi.

These events and webinars featured members of the SIAC Board and Court, SIAC Secretariat, as well as other eminent international arbitration experts.

In 2020, SIAC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each of the Hainan International Arbitration Court (HIAC) and the Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC). MOUs were also signed with Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Law, Fudan, Keio University Law School and TU Faculty of Law.

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Left to Right: Mr Lin Ningbo, Mr Li Yongli, Mr Wang Xuelin, Mr Alex Fan, Dr Ellis See, and Ms Lim Seok Hui at the SIAC-HIAC Signing Ceremony
8 YSIAC Writing Competition, Workshops and Events

Instead of the annual essay competition, the inaugural YSIAC Writing Competition 2020 was held. This new format required participants to prepare written submissions for a mock arbitration. 84 entries from 25 jurisdictions were received.

The prize winners for Best Claimant, Mr Alvin Tan, and Best Respondent, Mr Choo Hao Ren, Lyndon, were given the opportunity to role play as mock counsel, and presented their winning submissions at a YSIAC webinar before a mock Tribunal, comprising SIAC Deputy Chairman, Mr Chan Leng Sun, SC, SIAC Court member, Ms Julie Bédard, and Mr Joaquin P. Terceño, Counsel, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Tokyo).

YSIAC also held various webinars under the banner of the SIAC International Arbitration Webinar Series. These webinars included a mock arbitration, a debate on whether artificial intelligence will eventually replace arbitral tribunals, and panel discussions. Panel session topics included “Professional Development and Building Your Brand in Uncertain Times”, and “On Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings”.

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Left to Right: The Honourable Justice Kumar Kamal (Acting Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Fiji), Ms Gloria Lim, Ms Christina Pak, Mr Jonathan Lim and Mr Paul Tan at the YSIAC Webinar titled “Capacity Building in International Arbitration: The South Pacific Experience”
Joint webinars were held with the Equal Representation in Arbitration (ERA) group, Japan In-House Lawyers Association (JILA), Young ICSID, and the Young Quantity Surveyor (YQS) of the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) Quantity Surveyor Division.

In February 2020, the YSIAC-ADGM Advocacy Workshop was held in-person in Abu Dhabi, and featured a mock cross-examination of witnesses.
We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to members of the SIAC Board, SIAC Court and the YSIAC Committee as well as all of our partners and friends in the local and international legal and business communities for their invaluable contributions and continued support.

With best regards,
The SIAC Team
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