SIAC’s Dramatic New Case Statistics Clarified by Singapore Ministry of Law

Jun 2021


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We commented in April on the release of SIAC’s arbitration statistics for 2020 – as highlighted, the statistics illustrate a dramatic and record increase in new cases being filed at SIAC with 1080 filed in 2020, up from the 479 new cases filed in 2019.  This huge jump in new case filings helped catapult SIAC to the top of the rankings for international arbitral institutes, pushing the ICC (with 946 new cases) into second place for the first time ever.

However, a report from today’s Straits Times quotes a spokesperson from Singapore’s Ministry of Law in sounding a note of caution regarding SIAC’s record statistics.  While acknowledging that SIAC’s performance over the last decade has been impressive, the Ministry of Law sought to put the recent figures into perspective by clarifying that of the total number of new cases filed, there were two sets of associated cases which accounted for a substantial percentage of the increase.  That is, out of the 1080 new cases filed, there were two sub-sets involving 261 and 145 related cases respectively.  Therefore, if the total figure is revised to take into account these associated cases, it drops to an adjusted total of 674 new cases received in 2020.

This is still a significant increase on SIAC’s figure for 2019 of 479 new cases.  This number is higher than new cases received in 2020 by LCIA (444) and HKIAC (318).  However, it does drop SIAC back into second place in the rankings behind the ICC and helps to explain why despite such a significant increase in new cases, the number of new arbitrator appointments at SIAC fell in 2020 to 288 from 297 in 2019.

The Ministry of Law attributes the increase in new cases across the board for arbitral institutes to a response by parties to the financial impact of the COVID pandemic noting that, “We do not expect this trend to be permanent. Parties will learn to adapt to the new normal and exercise greater flexibility in their business dealings. Covid-19-related disputes may then tail off…[and for Singapore and other arbitral seats to continue to grow]…we will need to retain and grow our niche, play to our strengths, and do the best that we can, to stay relevant to the market and provide high-quality facilities and services.”

A link to the report may be seen here.



Amanda leads KWM’s Dispute Resolution Team in South East Asia. Amanda enjoys getting stuck into knotty legal problems and learning all about her client’s businesses and industries. Based in Singapore since 2012, Amanda is at home in hawker markets as much as the arbitration centre at Maxwell Chambers. When not reading arbitration cases or drafting arbitration awards, pre-Covid Amanda used to love travelling with her family across Asia to clamber over temples, spot tigers, watch cricket and get harassed by monkeys. She is still getting harassed by monkeys hiking around Singapore. Amanda is proud her adopted home has the world’s best airport (Changi) and hopes to be flying again very soon.

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