15 May 2017
SIAC-SHIAC Seminar: New Developments in Arbitration in Shanghai and Singapore


Against the backdrop of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and recent arbitration-related developments in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (the “Shanghai FTZ”), on 15 May 2017, SIAC and SHIAC jointly held a seminar titled “New Developments of Arbitration in Shanghai and Singapore”. The seminar attracted many Chinese practitioners, in-house counsel and academics.

Ms. Sophia Feng, Head and Chief Representative of SIAC (China), and Mr. Yao Hongmin, Director of SHIAC Commercial Arbitration Research Center, delivered the welcome addresses.

In the first session, Professor Lawrence Boo, an arbitrator at The Arbitration Chambers, and member of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, spoke on “The Role of the National Court in Investor-State Arbitration”. In his speech, Professor Boo analysed the recent judgment of Singapore’s apex court in Sanum Investments Ltd. v. Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, [2016] SGCA 57 (“Sanum”), which affirmed a Permanent Court of Arbitration award ruling that a bilateral investment treaty between the People’s Republic of China and Laos also applied to Macau. In addition to discussing the role and jurisdiction of Singapore’s national courts in reviewing investor-state arbitration awards, Professor Boo also shared his thoughts on the differences between investor-state arbitration cases and general commercial arbitration cases.

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Members of the audience Left to Right: Chen Luming, Sophia Feng,
Professor Lawrence Boo and Yao Hongmin

In the second session titled “The Evolution of Arbitration Law and Practice in the Shanghai FTZ”, Mr. Yao Hongmin discussed the current approach towards commercial arbitrations in mainland China (in particular the Shanghai FTZ), the Opinions on Providing Judicial Protection for the Construction of Pilot Free Trade Zones (FTZ) (the “Opinions”) issued by the Supreme People’s Court (the “SPC”), and the impact of the Opinions on the approach towards judicial review of FTZ-related arbitration cases.

In the final session, “Major Differences between International Commercial Arbitration and Investment Arbitration: With an Introduction to the New SIAC Investment Arbitration Rules”, Mr Chen Luming (Partner at JunHe LLP), drew from his own experience and his analysis of recent cases to discuss the differences between both regimes, focusing on the areas of governing law, case management, tribunal selection, jurisdiction and transparency. Mr. Chen pointed out that with the rapid development of outbound investment under the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, the number of investment arbitration cases will continue to grow. It is thus imperative that parties familiarise themselves with the features of investment arbitration procedure. In his speech, Mr Chen also touched on the SIAC Investment Arbitration Rules, which came into force on 1 January 2017.

In the interactive Q&A session which followed, the audience posed a range of topical questions to the speakers, from the approach towards judicial review for FTZ-related arbitration cases following the release of the SPC Opinions, the determination of foreign-related elements under the new rules, to the approach towards judicial review of arbitration awards by the Singapore national courts.
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