The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) Investment Arbitration (IA) Rules, tailored for investor-state disputes, came into force on 1 January 2017. The IA rules follow certain aspects of the SIAC rules (updated in 2016), which are generally used for commercial arbitration disputes, as well as containing specific features reflecting the nature and practice of investment arbitration. The IA rules can be expected to facilitate further the emergence of Singapore as a popular seat for investor-state disputes (although IA rules arbitrations can be held elsewhere).
The IA rules represent the first bespoke investment arbitration rules designed by a commercial arbitration institution, although the rules of both the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) are provided for in many investment treaties, and those institutions administer such arbitrations.
Alongside the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) arbitration rules, which are the most frequently used rules for investment treaty arbitration, the IA rules can be expected to take their place as another option for investor-state disputes through the agreement of parties (whether in a treaty, contract, statute or other instrument).
Among the notable features of the IA rules are provisions addressing confidentiality, early dismissal of claims, non-disputing party submissions, third-party funding and interim relief by an emergency arbitrator.
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HUSSEIN HAERI is a partner and co-head of international arbitration at Withers in London. DEBORAH BARKER SC, managing partner at Withers Khattarwong in Singapore, contributed to the article