Speech by DPM Prof S Jayakumar at the Singapore-Permanent Court of Arbitration Signing Ceremony
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Law Prof S Jayakumar and and
the Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Mr
Tjaco Van den Hout have signed an Agreement to establish a facility
of the PCA in Singapore.
Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Mr
Tjaco Van den Hout,
Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong,
His Excellency Dr Mohamad Amin Kurdi, Ambassdor, Saudi Arabia and Dean of Diplomatic Corps
Attorney-General Chao Hick Tin,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The signing of the Singapore-PCA Agreement today is significant.
2. Arbitration is growing internationally as an effective and viable means of resolving disputes. With more and more parties entering into cross-border contracts and agreements, arbitration has increased in popularity for the neutrality that it offers, as well as the benefits of confidentiality as well as and an enforceable award. In Singapore, the number of arbitration cases heard in recent years has also been increasing. We believe this is because Singapore is viewed as a neutral venue, is readily accessible to all major economies in both the East and the West, and possesses a legal system that is efficient, reliable and supportive of arbitration. Increasingly, Singapore is becoming a convenient locale for legal services. With our Commonwealth heritage and common law tradition, as well as cosmopolitan legal fraternity, there is no difficulty finding extremely high quality counsel for arbitrations using New York or English law. Singapore law has also become the preferred choice of law for many parties familiar with the common law tradition.
3. The Singapore Government fully supports the growth of international arbitration work in Singapore and has embarked on various initiatives to support the growth of our arbitration industry. These include the establishment of a purpose-built complex to cater specifically for arbitration activities, as well as a tax incentive for firms handling international arbitration cases with hearings in Singapore. I hope that when these efforts come to fruition in the very near future, they will contribute to making Singapore an even more attractive place for arbitration.
4. We are already seeing positive signs. The American Arbitration Association has committed to setting up a joint office with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre in Singapore. The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce will be holding its Commission on Arbitration Meeting in Singapore in October this year. This is the first time in the long history of the ICC that the Commission Meeting will be held outside Paris. We are proud and privileged to be the venue for this significant event.
5. These developments are indications that Singapore is increasingly being regarded as the location of choice, both for the setting up of regional office and for the convening of major arbitration meetings by top international arbitration institutions.
6. The Agreement to be signed this morning will establish a Permanent Court of Arbitration Facility in Singapore to handle cases arising out of Asia. Through this arrangement, the PCA will be able to offer their expertise in dispute resolution to countries in this region in a more effective manner.
7. As you know, the PCA was established in 1899. In the many years since then, it has handled many politically significant and interesting cases. It has become a premier institution for the resolution of international disputes involving States, State entities, Inter-Governmental Organizations as well as private entities. The alternative dispute resolution services that it provides and the international issues that it handles are wide-ranging. There is much that the PCA can offer by way of its expertise and experience built over so many years.
8. The establishment of the PCA's Singapore Facility is a positive and timely development. Asia is growing economically at a rapid pace driven by the growth of China and India. Our South-East Asian neighbours are also showing good growth. At a stage of such brisk growth, it will be inevitable that legal issues and disputes pertaining to matters such as investment treaties could arise. These issues will need to be resolved promptly in a manner acceptable to all parties. It is thus timely that an Asian PCA Facility is established to serve the region. We are gratified and honoured that the Permanent Court of Arbitration has chosen to site its first Asian office in Singapore. The choice of Singapore will definitely give a further boost to Singapore's status as a leading arbitration centre in Asia.
9. I am confident that this collaboration between Singapore and PCA will be a successful one, and I look forward to a productive and fruitful relationship.