February 1, 2013
The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, recently appointed to the highest judicial office in Singapore, announced at the opening of the new legal year the possibility of establishing a Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC). Describing this as one of his major priorities, he described the SICC as a tremendous opportunity "for the profession in Singapore to service a wider region".
Menon CJ noted the great success in efforts thus far to promote Singapore as a hub for international arbitration. Although the disputes emanate from abroad, nonetheless arbitral parties chose Singapore as the seat or venue of arbitration, basing their choice on many factors. These factors may prove to be the same ones that make the SICC viable.
Menon CJ mentioned a strong interest expressed by the Asia-based community of legal corporations in his preliminary consultations with them. After discussions with the Minister for Law, Justice V K Rajah, together with the Senior Minister of State for Law, will lead a group including other Judges of the Supreme Court, representatives from the Ministry of Law and other stakeholders, to study the feasibility of developing a framework for the SICC.
Menon CJ believes the SICC will be an "exciting and important step for Singapore in the growth of its legal services sector and the internationalisation and export of Singapore law. Together with Menon CJ and the legal community, Starboard looks forward to the detailed recommendations of the working group that will soon be established.
Will shipping work in Singapore be one of those areas of law that will be a feature of the SICC? As ever, Starboard will be the first to bring you more news when it is available.