Singapore arbitration centre revamps governance structure

Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has revamped its governance structure, with Allen & Gledhill senior partner Lucien Wong appointed to chair its new board of directors.

A new Court of Arbitration has been created to oversee the case administration and arbitral appointment functions of SIAC. At the same time, the centre has appointed a new board of directors to manage its corporate and business development functions.

The new board is chaired by Wong and comprises a total of 11 lawyers and business leaders from China, India, Korea, the UK and Singapore. It will be principally concerned with the operation and development of SIAC’s business and its compliance with applicable laws.

Drew & Napier director Cavinder Bull will continue to serve as deputy chair of the board. Other reappointed board members include managing partner of Indian firm Nishith Desai Associates Nishith Desai, managing partner of Singaporean firm Tan Rajah & Cheah Chelva Rajah and King & Spalding partner John Savage. They were last appointed in March 2009.

The newly appointed members include Jun He managing partner David Liu, Blackstone Singapore chairman Gautam Banerjee and Jardine Matheson Group general counsel Giles White.

The newly created SIAC Court of Arbitration comprises 16 arbitration lawyers from around the world and  is led by founder president Michael Pryles, who was previously chairman of the board.

The main functions of the court include the appointment of arbitrators, the determination of challenges to arbitrations and case administration. Board members Bull and Savage will also serve as vice-presidents of the court concurrently.

A spokesperson for SIAC noted that the change in structure was a result of soaring workloads relating to case administration. “Previously the board of directors was in charge of corporate governance and case administration, but the workload on case administration alone has quadrupled since 2008. So it has now made sense to segregate the functions and appoint an international court of some of the world’s leading experts to supervise the case administration function,” she said.

According to an SIAC report, the centre handled 235 new cases in 2012, a 25 per cent increase on the previous year, while the total sums in dispute for the same year reached a new record of S$3.6bn (£2bn) (25 March 2013).