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Permanent Court of Arbitration to set up facility in Singapore

Permanent Court of Arbitration to set up facility in Singapore

By Satish Cheney, Channel NewsAsia

10 September 2007

SINGAPORE : The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) will be setting up a facility in Singapore - its first branch in Asia.

This will enable affected parties to settle their disputes here instead of having to travel to the Hague where it is headquartered.

The PCA is an intergovernmental organisation that was established in 1899 in The Hague to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between States.

These disputes often relate to international issues such as multilateral and bilateral territorial, environmental and investment matters.

PCA has also recently set up facilities in South Africa, Lebanon and Costa Rica.

With rapid growth in the Asian economies, it is inevitable that legal issues and disputes to matters like investment treaties will arise as more and more parties enter into cross-border contracts and agreements.

Singapore is increasingly becoming a venue for international arbitration hearings, and the government has embarked on various initiatives to support the industry.

Professor S Jayakumar, Deputy Prime Minister and Law Minister, Singapore, said, "These include the establishment of a purpose-built complex to cater specifically for arbitration activities as well a tax incentive for firms handling international arbitration cases with hearings in Singapore.

"I hope that when these efforts come to fruition in the near future, they will contribute to making Singapore an even more attractive place for arbitration."

So the establishment of the PCA’s Singapore facility is both positive and timely.

The PCA was set up in 1899 and since then, it has handled many politically significant cases and it says about 20 percent of its arbitration cases arise from Asia.

Tjaco Van Den Hout, Secretary General, Permanent Court of Arbitration, said, "The decision to set up a facility here is the response to a more general request from the membership of our organisation to conduct an outreach to the region, and the choice of Singapore we considered a natural one because it is arbitration friendly and in itself has a flourishing arbitration industry."

Come next month, Singapore will be hosting the Commission of Arbitration Meeting of The International Court of International Chamber of Commerce.

This will be the first time the meeting will be held outside of Paris.

In another boost, the American Arbitration Association will be setting up a joint office with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.

 source: Channel News Asia