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Permanent Court of Arbitration to set up office in Singapore

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is to set up an office in Singapore within six months to manage hearings held in Singapore and Asia.27 Jul 2017

The Singapore office will be the PCA’s first office in Asia, and the second outside its Hague headquarters, Singapore's Ministry of Law said

The number of PCA cases held in Singapore and Asia has been growing, with at least seven in Singapore this year. This is almost double the number of cases heard in 2015, the Ministry said.

The office will be housed alongside other international dispute resolution institutions including the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Court). 

The PCA and the Ministry of Law have signed a host country agreement on setting up the office. This replaces a facility agreement between the Court and Singapore which was put in place ten years ago to allow the PCA to hold dispute resolution hearings in Singapore on an ad-hoc basis, without a staffed office. These cases were administered from the PCA's headquarters in The Hague.

The ICC Court announced last month that it will set up a case management office in Singapore in the first quarter of 2018. Singapore is one of the world’s top five seats of arbitration and has been the top seat of arbitration in Asia for ICC-administered cases for the last seven years, the Ministry said.

Indranee Rajah, Singapore’s senior minister of state for the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance, said: "The setting up of the PCA office will further augment Singapore’s position as an international hub for dispute resolution, particularly in the new area of investment dispute resolution. The growing number of PCA cases heard in Singapore is testament to the expertise Singapore offers." 

Arbitration expert Nicholas Brown of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind said: "The PCA is a dynamic organisation in many ways, and so the establishment of a permanently staffed office in Asia, to my mind, represents one further step toward diversifying the organisation's very impressive array of international dispute resolution services."

"This decision may even promote a greater understanding of the PCA’s relevance and unique selling points within the Asian region. This is really quite an exciting time to be offering cross-border dispute resolution services from Singapore," Brown said.