The end of November saw SIArb’s flagship Commercial Arbitration Symposium and Annual Dinner held, as in the previous year, on the same day, enabling members and guests to engage in an afternoon of debate on the latest arbitration developments followed by an evening of sociable networking with friends and colleagues.

Commercial Arbitration Symposium

Held again in the Old Parliamentary debating chamber at The Arts House, the Symposium attracted a range of practitioners from Singapore, Asia and further afield.  As always, it took the format of a free-flowing discussion of questions and topics submitted in advance by participants, which they were called upon to introduce and which then were opened to the floor for comment.  The Symposium was split into three sessions, each moderated by a pair of eminent co-chairs. 

Session 1, chaired by Ms Lucy Reed (independent arbitrator and President of the SIAC Court) and Mr Peter Yuen (Fangda Partners) included, amongst other things, a range of topics on procedural approaches under arbitral rules, including dealing with civil law claims under rules drafted by institutions based in common law jurisdictions and how pro-active tribunals should be; as well as a discussion of cybersecurity risks.

The ever-accelerating pace of technological change sparked a glut of questions on the role of artificial intelligence in arbitration in Session 2, chaired by Mr Tom Glasgow (Omni Bridgeway) and Ms SeungMin Lee (Peter & Kim), with some questions focusing on how AI can assist counsel and arbitrators to do their jobs, and others querying the extent to which it is proper for arbitrators to use AI tools or whether such use requires disclosure. 

Session 3, chaired by Ms Marina Chin SC (TKQP) and Mr Jonathan Lim (WilmerHale), focused mainly on arbitration and the courts and saw exchanges on recent case law from Singapore and elsewhere on matters such as subject-matter arbitrability, set-aside applications and confidentiality of tribunals’ deliberations.  There was also a discussion of law reform proposals in England and the recognition and management of enforcement risk.  

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Annual Dinner

The Symposium was followed by the SIArb Annual Dinner.

The Annual Dinner was held at Empress located at the iconic Asian Civilisation Museum by the Singapore River, a short walk from The Arts House. Offering spectacular views of the Singapore River and CBD skyline, the restaurant provided a vibrant setting for friends and colleagues to celebrate the fellowship and camaraderie of the arbitration community in Singapore. 

 The Guest of Honour this year was Mr Quentin Loh SC. In his address, Mr Loh took stock of the development of international arbitration in Singapore to date, and then went on to look at the challenges, opportunities and other anticipated changes which arbitration practitioners might see in the journey ahead. Finally, he also offered his views on how SIArb could contribute to this future arbitration landscape.

The dinner provided an occasion to announce the winner of the prize for the best award written by a candidate in the Institute’s Fellowship Assessment Course. The prize-winner, for 2023’s best award, was Ms Shamala Devi Balasundaram, partner at the Malaysian law firm of M/s Chooi & Company.

We would like to thank the sponsors (Braddell Brothers and Drees & Sommer) and everyone who attended the Annual Dinner and made it a memorable evening for one and all.

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Reported by Andrew Pullen - Chair, CPD Committee and Yeo Boon Tat - Chair, Activities Committee

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