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Singapore Announces Establishment of New International Commercial Court

Friday, December, 6, 2013


Seeking to both boost its image as a leading destination for international arbitration and other legal redress as well as to smooth relations in the increasingly competitive and confusing economic situation of Asia, Singapore announced the establishment of a new International Commercial Court that will seek to leverage the arbitration strengths and reputation that Singapore enjoys.


Singapore has long been regarded as a secure and fair place to bring international disputes.  The Singapore International Arbitration Centre was established in 1991 and handles hundreds of international disputes annually with a total value of nearly $3 billion.  Singapore is usually ranked fourth in the world for arbitration destinations, behind New York, Paris, and London, but is the leading Asian destination for these disputes.


Asia’s gross domestic product is expected to be nearly $35 trillion by 2020, and disputes between nations are becoming more common and more valuable.  Following in the lead of the recent Israeli-Palestinian arbitration Centre, Singapore hopes to encourage its neighbors to regard it as the leading arbitration destination for all of Asia.  The arbitration process at the new Court would involve recognized third-party arbitrators from outside the court and would be operated in a transparent and efficient manner, valuing fairness and speed above all else.  This would obviously be attractive to all Asian markets seeking to quickly resolve disputes and get back to their business activities.


Singapore is perhaps the only Asian nation with the reputation and trust factor to make this move.  While other Asian nations are stable and have a good rating with international agencies, none have established an arbitration-friendly culture in the way that Singapore has managed to do so.

Similar commercial courts have already been established in London and Dubai with great success, leading to a lot of optimism regarding Singapore’s announcement.