The new SIAC Rules 2016 come into force on 1 August 2016. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the new rules will apply to all SIAC arbitrations commenced on or after that date. The new rules include a number of innovative new provisions as well as enhancements to existing procedures designed to fit the needs and expectations of users.
Key features which the SIAC Rules 2016 include:
- The introduction of a new streamlined process to deal with disputes arising out of multiple contracts (Rules 6 and 8). The process gives the claimant the option of filing a single Notice of Arbitration in respect of all the arbitration agreements invoked and that Notice is treated as an application to consolidate all such arbitrations.
- A new procedure for the joinder of additional parties both prior to and after the constitution of the arbitral tribunal (Rule 7).
- A new procedure for the early dismissal of claims and defences (Rule 29). This is a radical new step which is intended to offer parties a mechanism for dealing with claims or defences that are manifestly without legal merit or manifestly outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal. The new procedure has the potential to offer significant savings in time and costs in circumstances where parties are faced with unmeritorious or abusive claims or hopeless defences.
- Delocalising the seat of arbitration (Rule 21). Singapore will no longer be the default seat of arbitration under the SIAC Rules. Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the tribunal will determine the seat of arbitration, having regard to all the circumstances of the case. However, unless the parties have agreed otherwise, Singapore remains the default seat for emergency arbitrator proceedings.
- Expanding the Expedited Procedure (Rule 5). The monetary threshold for the applicability of the Expedited Procedure has been raised from SG $5,000,000 to SG $6,000,000. The new rules also make it clear that the Expedited Procedure will apply even in cases where the arbitration agreement contains contrary terms.
- Arbitrator challenges (Rules 15 and 16). A party challenging an arbitrator is required to pay a challenge fee of SG $8,000. The SIAC Court will issue reasoned decisions on any challenge to an arbitrator