SINGAPORE: The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) will soon be opening an office in Singapore - the second one outside its headquarters in The Hague and the first in Asia.
It will serve the dispute resolution needs of states and businesses in Asia, announced the Ministry of Law and the PCA in a joint statement on Tuesday (Jul 25).
The PCA office, which will be ready within the next six months, will be housed at Maxwell Chambers, alongside other international dispute resolution institutions. It will move to the new Maxwell Chamber Suites when it is completed in 2019.
"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,” said Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah at the signing ceremony on Tuesday.
"Many treaties and investment agreements designate the PCA as the appointing authority for arbitrators,” she added.
Calling Singapore a “choice destination”, PCA Secretary-General Hugo H Siblesz said the country has gone from strength to strength as a global hub for international dispute settlement.
At least seven PCA cases are expected to be heard in Singapore in 2017 compared to four cases heard in 2015. The new office will provide a base from which PCA can administer the growing number of cases held in Singapore and Asia.
Ms Indranee also highlighted the opportunities available for Singapore to take dispute resolution to the next level. She said that as the world’s "economic centre of gravity” is shifting to Asia, the "centre of gravity for legal activities will follow".
For instance, as Asia ramps up its infrastructure projects because of rapid urbanisation, Ms Indranee noted that these projects will also need legal services, including dispute resolution services, to resolve any matters of concern between businesses.
Between 2014 and 2019, global legal services are projected to grow at 3.3 per cent a year. In Asia Pacific, the rate is much higher at 5.5 per cent.
"This 2.2 percentage point difference is compounded every year ... Any major player planning long-term cannot afford to ignore Asia,” said Ms Indranee, adding that Singapore is well poised to serve this growing demand in Asia.
"We have a trusted legal system. It not only delivers high quality jurisprudence, but one that is neutral and stable."
The PCA is the latest dispute resolution institution to set up shop in Singapore. In June, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce announced it will set up a case management office in Singapore in the first quarter of 2018.