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Government Welcomes Recommendations to Establish Singapore International Commercial Court

Posted in Press releases


1.            The Government welcomes the recommendations by the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) Committee.


2.            The continued growth in trade and investment in Asia has led to a significant rise in commercial transactions in the region.  Against this backdrop, the number and complexity of cross-border disputes is expected to increase, enabling the legal services sector in the Asia Pacific to grow significantly [1].  Building on the success of the Arbitration sector in Singapore, the proposed international commercial court will make Singapore an even more attractive venue for dispute resolution in Asia and beyond.


Recommendations by the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) Committee


3.         The SICC Committee submitted its report to the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) on 29 November 2013.  Its key recommendations are as follows:


(i)            The establishment of SICC as a division of the High Court, to hear international commercial disputes. It will offer litigants the option to have their disputes heard by specialist commercial judges in Singapore;


(ii)          The constitution of an SICC panel of judges which could include eminent international jurists;


(iii)         The SICC will hear cases governed by Singapore law and by foreign law, with the court taking judicial notice of the foreign law;


(iv)         The SICC will hear cases where parties have consented to use the SICC or where cases are transferred to the SICC from the Singapore High Court by the Chief Justice;


(v)          Decisions of the SICC will be appealable to the Court of Appeal [2];


(vi)         Foreign counsel may appear in proceedings in certain circumstances [3]; and


(vii)        The creation of a set of rules and practice directions to govern proceedings in the SICC, which should be sensitive to the commercial needs of SICC’s users and follow international best practices for commercial dispute resolution.


4.         “Singapore’s well-developed and business-friendly legal system, its respected judiciary, and the strong presence here of experienced commercial lawyers, both local and foreign, will enable the SICC to provide a unique service to users beyond Singapore”, says Co-chair of the SICC Committee, Senior Minister of State for Law, Ms Indranee Rajah SC.


5.         Co-Chair of the SICC Committee, Judge of Appeal, Justice V K Rajah said, “The SICC could attract cases which otherwise have no connection to Singapore, and provide litigants engaged in cross border disputes in Asia with a forum that has a closer geographical nexus to the dispute than traditional neutral choice of courts, which are outside Asia.”


6.         The Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam have expressed their appreciation to the Committee for the work and effort put into this review. MinLaw and the Supreme Court will carefully consider the recommendations as well as the issues raised within.  The SICC Committee’s report is attached in Annex A.


Public Consultation on SICC Committee Report


7.         Interested parties are invited to provide their views and feedback on the SICC Committee’s report.  The consultation period is from 3 December 2013 to 31 January 2014.  The public can view the report on www.mlaw.gov.sg and www.reach.gov.sg.  Your feedback may be submitted in electronic or hard copy form to:


Ministry of Law

Policy Advisory Division

100 High Street

#08-02, The Treasury

Singapore 179434

Fax: 63328842

Email: [email protected]


Background


8.         In May 2013, a 19-member Committee, co-chaired by Ms Indranee Rajah SC, Senior Minister of State for Law, and Judge of Appeal, Justice V K Rajah, was formed to study the viability of developing a framework for establishing the SICC. The SICC Committee comprised international and local members to provide a wide range of expertise and views.  



Annex A: SICC Committee Report



[1] Source: MarketLine Industry Profile – “Legal Services in Asia-Pacific”, October 2012. From 2012 to 2016, the legal services sector in Asia-Pacific is projected to increase by 33.8%, from USD$90.6 billion to USD$121.2 billion.


[2] Whose coram will comprise international jurists from the SICC Panel and/or the Singapore Court of Appeal’s judges.  


[3] Where the case has no substantial connection to Singapore (for example, where Singapore law is not the governing law or the choice of Singapore law is the sole connection to Singapore). 

Last updated on 13 Dec 2013