Singapore Arbitration Centre to open office at GIFT City

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) will establish a representative office at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), which is India’s first international financial services centre (IFSC), to resolve international commercial disputes. (TheHindu)

At an international arbitration centre, disputes arising out of commercial agreements from sectors like insurance, shipping, construction, private equity and other trades are handled. Arbitration is different from court litigation and is typically less time-consuming. It is done in private between lawyers representing the aggrieved parties. SIAC has signed an MoU with Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Company Limited (GIFTCL) and GIFT SEZ Limited (GIFT SEZ), according to a statement by GIFT City.

As per the terms of the agreement, GIFTCL, GIFT SEZ and SIAC will collaborate to promote the use of arbitration, mediation and other dispute resolution mechanisms, including the innovative ‘Arb-Med-Arb’ service offered by SIAC and the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC), according to the statement.

Further, SIAC will establish a representative office at GIFT City to promote its international arbitration services to Indian users. Incidentally, Indian parties have consistently ranked amongst the top five foreign users of SIAC in the past five years, and India was the top foreign user of SIAC in 2013 and 2015. “Any successful IFSC requires an efficient dispute resolution mechanism, and in this regard, SIAC is the choice partner for IFSC-GIFT,” said Ajay Pandey, Managing Director and Group CEO of GIFT City. “India has always been an important market for SIAC and this (agreement) reflects our continuous commitment to maintain and strengthen our relationship with our Indian users,” said Lim Seok Hui, CEO of SIAC and SIMC.

Every agreement has a dispute redressal clause, which lays down the ways in which a dispute can be resolved. The options could be going to a court of law, mutually appointing an arbitrator or going to an institution like MCIA for instance.

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act lays down a time frame of 18 months for the disputes to be resolved. The aggrieved parties can appoint a mutually acceptable judge. The rulings are binding though they can be challenged in a court of law if any of the parties desire so. The leading IACs are located at London, Hong Kong and Singapore. While the arbitration centres of Singapore and London have established offices in India, those are only liaison centres.