Maxwell Chambers Suites Officially Opens Today Giving Yet Another Boost to Singapore’s Legal Hub Position

The world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, and three of the four largest economies in Asia, China, India and South Korea, along with 46 States met in Singapore today and inked a new international treaty on mediation that will enable the enforcement of mediated settlement agreements amongst the signatory countries. Singapore was the first signatory of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, also known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation, when it opened for signature in Singapore today.

Ministers and Senior Officials representing 70 countries attended the Singapore Convention Signing Ceremony and Conference to give their support to the new international treaty. To mark the historic signing, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam, SC and the United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Stephen Mathias jointly named an orchid, “Aranda Singapore Convention on Mediation”. This is the first time an orchid is named after a United Nations (UN) Treaty.

Singapore Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam, SC today officially opened Maxwell Chambers Suites, the new extension of Maxwell Chambers. He was joined by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education Indranee Rajah and Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong, as well as ministers and senior officials from 12 countries, and more than 350 guests from the government, judiciary, law firms, dispute resolution institutions, law associations, businesses and academia.

The opening of Maxwell Chambers Suites will further enhance Singapore’s status as an international legal hub. It follows the opening of INSOL’s Asia hub on 5 August 2019 and the signing of the Singapore Convention on Mediation on 7 August 2019.  In his keynote speech at the opening of Maxwell Chambers Suites, Minister Shanmugam announced yet another two boosts to Singapore’s leading position:

First, the American Arbitration Association International Centre for Dispute Resolution (AAA-ICDR) will set up its Asia headquarters and case management centre at Maxwell Chambers Suites. AAA-ICDR will be the 6th dispute resolution institution to establish its case management office there, making it home to the highest concentration of case management offices in the world. AAA-ICDR joins INSOL which announced the launch of its Asia hub in Singapore on 5 August 2019. Maxwell Chambers Suites will house at least 11 international institutions (Annex A) and 20 disputes chambers and practices from 11 countries (Annex B).
Second, to meet growing demand for dispute resolution services in Asia, Maxwell Chambers will also be expanding its hearing facilities. 15 more hearing and preparation rooms will be added to its current 22 rooms, bringing the total to 37, a 60% increase. The new hearing facilities will be operational in August 2019. Maxwell Chambers will also offer six specially-designed executive suites for short-term rental to arbitrators, mediators and counsel who are based overseas but fly in and out of Singapore for dispute resolution.
Explaining the significance, Minister Shanmugam said, “This week, two top international institutions, INSOL which is based in London and AAA-ICDR based in New York, announced setting up their respective Asia Hubs in Singapore. We are happy that they have chosen Singapore, it shows their assessment of the opportunities in Asia, and that Singapore can help tap into those opportunities.” Maxwell Chambers Chairman, Philip Jeyaretnam SC said, “Maxwell Chambers, which will house more hearing facilities and international institutions and a record number of case management offices, is a tangible expression of the capability we have built up over the years, which will power our ambition to be the top international legal hub, in Asia and the world. Maxwell Chambers is the place to be, for many dispute practitioners. Their cases are heard here, in purpose-built facilities designed to support their work, and there are synergies to be gained from being part of a community and an entire eco-system in Singapore, not found anywhere else in the world. We have seen rising caseload and are operating near maximum capacity on some days. The new hearing facilities and executive suites are opportunities for us not just to meet demand, but to set new frontiers and continue to be the global standard-bearer.”

For arbitration, in 2018, Singapore was ranked as the top arbitration seat in the Asia-Pacific, and third in the world, after London and Paris. Singapore was also ranked within the top four in all regions of the world, except Latin America, including Europe, North America, Africa and Middle East. Singapore was the only Asia-Pacific jurisdiction to be ranked within top four outside the Asia-Pacific. For mediation, in December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a new international treaty on mediation, and agreed for it to be named after Singapore. Ministers and other senior officials from [xx] countries attended the signing ceremony yesterday to support the Singapore Convention on Mediation. Maxwell Chambers is the world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex, housing both best-in-class hearing facilities and top international dispute resolution institutions. Since its establishment in 2010, Maxwell Chambers has quickly become one of the most preferred hearing facilities in the world. The new Maxwell Chambers Suites adds 120,000 square feet of floor space, allowing Maxwell Chambers to triple its current size.

INSOL, established in London in 1982, is a worldwide federation of 44 member associations, with over 10,500 restructuring and insolvency professionals as members. It is at the forefront of education and technical training for practitioners, and assists in the development of countries’ restructuring and insolvency systems. The AAA-ICDR, established in New York in 1996, is the largest international provider of arbitral and dispute resolution services. It provided dispute resolution services for 993 international cases filed in 2018. The ICDR serves parties in more than 90 countries, with a staff fluent in over a dozen languages. Through more than 725 independent arbitrators and mediators, the ICDR provides a flexible, party centred process over a broad range of industries and geopolitical issues.

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