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A Comprehensive Analysis of SIAC's 7th Edition Rules

Navigating the New Frontier: A Deep Dive into the Revised SIAC Rules


The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) holds a prominent position in the world of international arbitration, renowned for its user-friendliness and progressive approach. On 7 July 2020, SIAC announced its intention to revise the SIAC Arbitration Rules through a Rules Revision Executive Committee and Subcommittees. Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration stated that “SIAC’s Arbitration Rules are the most progressive and user-friendly in the world. The Rules revision process will ensure that SIAC remains at the forefront of developments in the law and practice of international arbitration. We will be consulting widely with SIAC users, arbitration practitioners and arbitrators during the Rules revision. We also invite comments from all those interested in SIAC’s work.”[1]

August 2023 marked a milestone for the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) with the unveiling of its 7th Edition Rules. More than just a routine update, these revisions signify a conscious and proactive evolution, solidifying SIAC's position as a trailblazer in the ever-changing landscape of international arbitration. This article delves deep into the key modifications, analysing their potential impact and showcasing how they cater to the evolving needs of users in a globalized and technology-driven world.

Streamlining Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness

One of the most prominent themes of the revised rules is the focus on expedited and cost-efficient proceedings. Recognizing the ever-increasing pressure on budgets and timelines, SIAC has introduced several measures aimed at achieving swift and affordable dispute resolution:

Commencement of Arbitration and Constitution of the Tribunal:

The rules regarding the Notice of Arbitration and Response have been modified. Now, it's not obligatory to provide a copy of the contract and the arbitration agreement. Instead, a brief "description" suffices (Rules 6.3(d) and (e)).

The requirement for parties to nominate an arbitrator or propose a sole arbitrator in the Notice of Arbitration and the Response has been eliminated. Parties are now expected to provide "any comment as to… the number of arbitrators and procedure for the constitution of the Tribunal" (Rules 6.3(g), 7.1(e)).

Appointment Procedure:

In the Draft 7th Edition, when a sole arbitrator is needed, both parties can jointly nominate within 21 days (Rule 21.1). If three arbitrators are required, each party nominates one within the same period. These changes alter the strategy in SIAC arbitrations, allowing more flexibility in the nomination process.

Enhanced Expedited Procedure: 

Expanding the scope of disputes eligible for the Expedited Procedure allows for rapid resolution of specific claims under a fast-track timeline (typically within 6 months). The Expedited Procedure threshold also increases to S$10 million (Rule 14.1). This caters to situations where parties prioritize speed and predictability, particularly in smaller or straightforward disputes.

Technology Embrace: 

Recognizing the transformative power of technology, the revised rules explicitly permit virtual hearings and document submissions (Article 22). This not only reduces costs associated with travel and physical documentation but also improves accessibility and flexibility for users across diverse geographical locations. New provisions require parties, the Tribunal, and the SIAC Secretariat to upload communications to the SIAC Gateway, a digital solution for centralized case filing (Rules 4.2 and 4.3).

The rules confirm the flexibility of hearing formats, allowing in-person, hybrid, or electronic communication methods (Rule 39.2). The Tribunal is mandated to discuss information security measures proposed by the parties (Rule 61).

Early Dismissal Mechanism:

Refining existing provisions for early dismissal of unmeritorious claims or defences empowers tribunals to efficiently allocate resources and expedite the resolution of disputes by eliminating frivolous claims at an early stage. A new Rule allows parties to apply for a preliminary determination of any issue on a preliminary basis (Rule 46). This codifies a procedural device that can accelerate dispute resolution.

Enhancing Flexibility and Adaptability: Tailored Solutions for Diverse Needs

Understanding that one size doesn't fit all, the revised rules offer increased flexibility to adapt to the unique intricacies of each dispute:

Multiple Contracts & Consolidation: 

Streamlined procedures for consolidating arbitrations arising from multiple related contracts or for joining additional parties offer significant benefits. The Draft 7th Edition streamlines consolidation and joinder provisions. A new provision allows consolidation under two or more arbitrations pending "under SIAC's administration." The grounds for consolidation now include the compatibility of arbitration agreements and the existence of a common question of law or fact (Rule 16.1, 16.1(c)). Coordinated arbitrations can be heard together with separate awards issued for each (Rule 17). This not only avoids conflicting outcomes but also streamlines proceedings and potentially reduces overall costs.

Emergency Arbitrator: 

Empowering parties to seek swift interim relief from an emergency arbitrator appointed even before the constitution of the tribunal (Article 12) addresses urgent needs, protecting parties' interests before substantive proceedings commence. An applicant can now apply the notice of Arbitration, with a 5-day deadline. Time limits for challenges and the Emergency Arbitrator's award are significantly reduced (Schedule 1, paras 2, 6, 9, 17). This provision is particularly valuable in situations involving threatened asset dissipation or immediate action to preserve evidence.

Upholding Impartiality and Transparency: Building Trust and Confidence

Maintaining the cornerstone of fairness, the revised rules emphasize transparency and impartial dispute resolution through several key revisions:

Tribunal Secretaries and Third-Party Funding:

New provisions regulate the appointment of Tribunal Secretaries, no longer requiring the agreement of the parties (Rules 24.5 and 24.6). A new rule on Third-Party Funding mandates disclosure of any agreement and the identity of the funder, allowing the Tribunal to order further details (Rule 38).

Streamlined Challenge Procedures:

 Recognizing the importance of addressing concerns about impartiality swiftly and effectively, the revised rules streamline procedures for challenging arbitrators based on such concerns.  Protocols for challenges against arbitrators who are SIAC Board or Court members are established (Rule 28.6). In case of arbitrator resignations or removals in a tribunal of three arbitrators, the SIAC Court or President may allow the remaining arbitrators to proceed without appointing a substitute arbitrator (Rule 30.3). Expanded provisions on non-participation and non-compliance empower the Tribunal to proceed and impose sanctions for violations (Rule 44.3).

Tribunal Composition:

To enhance the Tribunal's constitution process, a new Rule allows the SIAC to use a list procedure upon a party's request. The President provides an identical list of arbitrator candidates, and parties rank their preferences. The President then appoints the arbitrator "by the mutual order of preference of the parties" (Rule 19.8). This change aims to give parties a more significant stake in the constitution of the Tribunal.

Other New Provisions

Numerous new provisions include rules on party representation changes, sustainability considerations, identifying issues for determination, witness interviews, security for costs and claims, publication of awards, and document retention. These additions aim to address various aspects of the arbitration process, ensuring fairness, efficiency, and modernization.


The revised SIAC Rules demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement and adaptability. By prioritizing efficiency, flexibility, and transparency, the revised framework enhances the user experience and positions SIAC as a forerunner in the evolving landscape of international arbitration. The focus on technology adoption, expedited procedures, and increased party autonomy makes SIAC particularly attractive for parties seeking swift, cost-effective, and adaptable resolution of their disputes. As the revised rules are put into practice, it will be fascinating to observe their impact on user preferences and the future trajectory of SIAC's success in the global arbitration arena.


  • A paradigm shift in international arbitration, emphasizing efficiency with streamlined procedures, virtual hearings, and a focus on cost-effective dispute resolution.
  • The revised rules prioritize impartiality through streamlined challenge procedures, enhanced tribunal composition methods, and mandatory disclosure of third-party funding agreements.
  • SIAC's commitment to user-friendly arbitration is evident in the 7th Edition, offering tailored solutions for diverse needs, embracing technology, and reinforcing its position as a global arbitration


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