In the case of legal disputes, litigation can be costly, confrontational, and take years to complete. Today more than ever, businesses are more likely to operate on a global scale, and are increasingly partial to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. ADR can result in quicker, non-adversarial outcomes that are enforceable in multiple jurisdictions. The use of ADR has been on the rise, particularly in Asia, with its maturing markets and growing sophistication of businesses.
Singapore is at the forefront of providing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services to international companies. Over the years, Maxwell Chambers in Singapore has registered steady growth in the number of arbitration cases held on its premises, and it is largely due to Singapore becoming an increasingly popular destination for international corporate arbitration in Asia. With the presence of various venues in the region, why choose Singapore for arbitration?
Singapore is ideally and strategically located in the dynamic and fast-growing Asia-Pacific region. It is also closely linked to the major economies of China and India. Singapore is only a short flight away from major Asian cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta, Shanghai, and Tokyo.
Trustworthy legal system
Singapore’s legal system, which is based on the British common law system, is ranked among the best in the world (Political and Economic Risk Consultancy 2012 Report), with a judiciary that offers strong support for arbitration. Singapore’s arbitration regime is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law,
And as Singapore is a party to the New York Convention, arbitration awards made here are enforceable in over 140 countries.
Integrity and transparency
Singapore has established itself as a trusted location for high-quality cross-border dispute resolution. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, Singapore is ranked the most transparent and least corrupt country out of 138 economies. It is well-known internationally for its impartiality and neutrality, and its strong anti-corruption stance.
The “Singapore Advantage”
Non-residents are generally required to hold a valid work pass before they can work in Singapore. However, the provision of arbitration and mediation services in Singapore is categorized as a Work Pass Exempt Activity. As such, non-residents can provide arbitration or mediation services in Singapore for the duration of their Short-Term Visit Passes subject to a maximum of 60 days. On top of that, non-resident arbitrators who are appointed for arbitration work in Singapore are eligible for tax exemption.
Premium legal facilities and services
Maxwell Chambers, Singapore’s only legal hub, prides itself on its world class services and facilities.
Said Gary Born, President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration on the venue, “Maxwell Chambers and its staff set the standard for international dispute resolution venues. Their service and professionalism is unmatched.”
Conveniently located in Singapore’s business district, it is also the first and only one of its kind in the region. It is home to both hearing facilities and top global ADR institutes under one roof, and is equipped with 22 customizable hearing rooms and preparation rooms. The rooms can also be used for corporate functions such as meetings, seminars, and workshops.
Behind Asia’s upcoming legal hub
Q&A with Katherine Yap, Chief Executive, Maxwell Chambers
Tell us about Maxwell Chambers and its expansion plans.
The year ahead will be exciting for us as we are expanding our premises to occupy the adjacent conserved building at 28 Maxwell Road, now named Maxwell Chambers Suites. The expansion will add 120,000 square feet of floor space and triple our current size. This will help to support the growth of dispute resolution institutions in Singapore and capture more opportunities in the sector in Asia. Restoration works began in June 2017 and the estimated date of completion is the first quarter of 2019.
What factors led to the decision to expand the premises?
Singapore is becoming an increasingly popular destination for international corporate arbitration in Asia. Furthermore, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of enquiries on tenancy opportunities at Maxwell Chambers. With this rise in demand for hearing rooms and tenant space, we believed that the expansion of Maxwell Chambers was timely.
What can future tenants and visitors expect from Maxwell Chambers Suites?
The new premises will serve as the region’s one-stop legal hub and a legal ecosystem of sorts. It will house premium office spaces for both top international and local law practitioners, as well as business facilities for tenants.
These facilities include meeting rooms, secretariat services and a 24-hour business centre. One specific feature differentiating the new premises from other office spaces would be the exclusive lounge for tenants, which would provide them with a space to unwind and network. Upon completion of Maxwell Chambers Suites, the current premises at 32 Maxwell Road will be dedicated solely to hearing and preparation rooms for commercial dispute resolution cases.
To ensure ease of access between both buildings, an overhead bridge will be constructed, linking Maxwell Chambers Suites to our main building.
What kind of tenants have already taken up space at the new building, and what are their reasons for doing so?
We received an overwhelming number of enquiries once it was announced that office space is available at Maxwell Chambers Suites. Some of our existing tenants, such as The Arbitration Chambers and One Essex Court, will be doubling their office space to cater to the rising demand for dispute resolution services. Opus 2, an international firm which specializes in transcription and hearing room services, will also be the first ancillary services firm to occupy an office space at Maxwell Chambers Suites. Our new tenants include both local and international institutions, dispute resolution practitioners, chambers and related legal support services who are keen to establish a presence in Maxwell Chambers and in Singapore.
What does Maxwell Chambers have in store in the next few years?
With both the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration (ICC Court) setting up offices here, we anticipate more cases to come to Singapore in the next 1 to 2 years. At Maxwell Chambers, we are fully equipped to meet the challenge, and will continually strive to provide premium facilities and services. Lastly, we are of course very excited about Maxwell Chambers Suites commencing operations in 2019! We are certain that Maxwell Chambers and Maxwell Chambers Suites will complement each other and allow us to firmly establish ourselves as the international arbitration destination.
Maxwell Chambers Suites, located in the heart of Singapore’s business district, is now taking bookings for office space. Tenancy will be for a minimum of 3 years, beginning in 2019. To register your interest, please email [email protected].