February 1, 2015
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) recently issued a Practice Note on the appointment of administrative secretaries in recognition of the international arbitration practice of such appointments.
The Practice Note is intended to govern the appointment of administrative secretaries in SIAC administered arbitrations on or after 2 February 2015. Such appointments may be made in appropriate cases and are always subject to parties’ consent.
The administrative secretary is to assist the arbitral tribunal in administrative matters and will be similarly impartial, independent and keep the proceedings confidential. Reasonable expenses of the administrative secretary will be borne by the parities and no fees will be charged if the amount in dispute is under S$15 million at the time the request for an appointment of an administrative secretary is made. If the amount is S$15 million or above, the tribunal and the parties may agree that the parties bear the administrative secretary’s fees, not exceeding S$250 per hour.
In cases where there are multiple parties and/or voluminous documents, the administrative secretary will help to lower the burden such cases place on the arbitral tribunal, freeing the tribunal to focus more on adjudicating the dispute before them instead of diverting attention to and spending time on administrative matters. Coupled with the cap on the administrative secretary’s fees, there is likely to be overall savings in the tribunal’s costs in complex cases.