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Blog Category: Arbitration

Singapore’s Maxwell Chambers Among World’s Leading Venues for International Arbitration

By Tom Feissner

Maxwell Chambers Facade - Image by Tom Feissner

Maxwell Chambers Facade – Image by Tom Feissner

According to a 2013 survey conducted by Global Arbitration Review, Singapore’s Maxwell Chambers alternative dispute resolution center is considered one of the top three ADR venues in the world by international arbitration attorneys. This comes as no surprise to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who first announced his country’s intention to become a hub of international arbitration back in 2002. At that time, Singapore already enjoyed a number of advantages over other ADR venues. Namely, it was one of few countries in Asia whose official language was English and whose legal system was based on English common law. In addition, Singapore was an early adopter of the 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, having signed on in 1994.

What Singapore lacked, however, was the infrastructure necessary to encourage the world’s preeminent ADR organizations to maintain a presence within its jurisdiction.  In 2005, the challenge of creating a suitable forum for international arbitration was taken up by the Singaporean Ministry of Law, which endeavored to create a facility that was not only functional and aesthetically pleasing, but also reflected Singapore’s unique culture and history. Today, Maxwell Chambers is home to a number of ADR organizations, including the American Arbitration Association, the ICC Court of Arbitration, and the Singapore International Arbitration Center.

Maxwell Chambers Breakout Room - Image by Tom Feissner

Maxwell Chambers Breakout Room – Image by Tom Feissner

One reason Maxwell Chambers has been described as the standard against which all other ADR facilities are judged is its commitment to functionality.  Among its many amenities, the center boasts 12 arbitration rooms with an additional 12 breakout rooms, a fully equipped business center, an arbitrators’ lounge, videoconferencing facilities, and realtime translation and transcription of testimony. It also hosts no less than seven food and beverage outlets on the premises. Whatever Maxwell Chambers does not provide, such as transportation and hotel accommodations, can be obtained from one of the many local service providers with which the center has partnered. In this way, Maxwell Chambers ensures that all visitors to the center enjoy an experience that is both pleasant and productive.

What really makes Maxwell Chambers the jewel in the crown of ADR facilities, however, is not its commitment to functionality and comfort, but rather the sense of authority and dignity it imparts to the proceedings taking place within its time-honored halls.  Built in the 1930s during the British colonial era, Maxwell Chambers is steeped in the history and tradition of Singapore, and served as the headquarters of the Department of Customs and Excise for over 60 years.

Maxwell Chambers Meeting Room - Image by Tom Feissner

Maxwell Chambers Meeting Room – Image by Tom Feissner

Now completely refurbished and renamed, Maxwell Chambers has been recognized for its exceptional architecture and design. The center was awarded the International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design in 2010 by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. Two years later, the building was also awarded an Architectural Heritage Award by Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority. By seamlessly incorporating the best of Singapore’s history and tradition with the very latest in modern litigation support technology, Maxwell Chambers is sure to remain one of the world’s most preferred arbitration venues for many years to come. For more information about Maxwell Chambers, please visit their website at http://maxwellchambers.com/ To schedule a court reporter for an arbitration in Singapore, please contact us at (888) 433-3767 or fill out our international request form.

Make Asia Your Preferred Venue and Planet Depos Your Preferred Court Reporting Service for Your International Arbitration

By Tom & Lisa Feissner

The experienced Planet Depos teams, located at our headquarters in Washington, D.C. and throughout Asia stand ready to help you navigate the issues related to holding your international arbitration in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea, or anywhere in the Asia-Pacific region.  All you have to decide is the location, and we will help you take care of the rest.  There are two factors which attorneys must decide when an international arbitration hearing is to be held: seat and venue.  The seat determines which country’s arbitration rules will be followed; the venue is simply the location where the arbitration hearing will be held.  While the two often are the same, it is not required, and parties may find it beneficial to venue an arbitration at a neutral location or simply at a location which is mutually convenient for travel.

Bukchon, Seoul by Thomas Feissner

Bukchon, Seoul by Thomas Feissner

The seat is typically pre-determined by the arbitration clause of the contract at issue in the dispute; however, sometimes the seat is not specified, or there may be flexibility built into the arbitration clause.  Currently, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore are the most favored seats in Asia, while London is a top choice in Europe.  Regardless of where the matter is seated, participants are generally free to choose any venue which is deemed mutually agreeable, for reasons of cost, convenience, or neutrality.

The Seoul International Dispute Resolution Center (SIDRC) offers parties a modern, high-tech facility, with built-in videoconferencing equipment, tablets at every seat, projection screens for viewing documents and other evidence, and a ready-to-use simultaneous interpretation setup.  The spacious facilities house two hearing rooms, two breakout rooms for parties, and a lounge for arbitrators.  The SIDRC is located in Jongno-gu, a truly cross-cultural district in Seoul, home to both major business centers and historic sites such as Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Shrine.  The SIDRC is poised to become one of Asia’s premier venues for international arbitrations.

So whether you decide to venue your next international arbitration in Seoul, Hong Kong, Australia, or anywhere around the world, call Planet Depos at (888) 433-3767 or contact us at international@planetdepos.com.

Korean Dignitaries Promote Seoul as Hub of International Arbitration at 2014 Summit

By Tom and Lisa Feissner

Amending the Korean International Arbitration Act to make it more consistent with the latest revision of the UNCITRAL Model Act is the latest step toward Korea’s goal of making Seoul the venue of choice for international arbitration in the Asia-Pacific region.  This was the message expressed by In-Chang Jung, Deputy Minister of the Korean Ministry of Justice, in his welcoming remarks at the Third Annual Korean International Arbitration Summit.  Representatives from Planet Depos were on hand for this three-day event, which took place in Seoul on November 19-21, 2014, and had an opportunity to meet with the Korean dignitaries invited to speak at the conference.

Deputy Minister Jung stated that strong economic growth in Asia has led to an unprecedented demand for arbitration services in the region, and that the Korean Ministry of Justice is therefore committed to increasing its support of Korean arbitration agencies in order to take advantage of this growing opportunity.  He noted that the opening of the UNCITRAL RCAP (Regional Center for Asia and the Pacific) in 2012 and the opening of the Seoul International Dispute Resolution Center in 2013 are tangible demonstrations of the Korean government’s commitment to strengthening the Korean arbitration industry.

Daisoo Kweon, President of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board, agreed with Deputy Minister Jung.  In his welcoming remarks to the assembly, Mr. Kweon emphasized that a revised Korean Arbitration Act, together with Korea’s cutting-edge infrastructure, sophisticated legal system, and modern facilities, give Seoul the capacity to become the next hub of international arbitration.

Young-Joon Mok, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of Korea, likewise remarked in his keynote address that Korea’s common law and statutory law traditions, convenient geographic location, and reputation for judicial fairness give it the potential to become a world-class arbitration venue.  He praised both the Korean Ministry of Justice and Korea’s academic institutions for their ability to work together in furtherance of this goal.For information about how Planet Depos can help you venue your next international arbitration in Seoul, call us at (888) 433-3767 or contact us at international@planetdepos.com.

Don’t Be Outgunned at Arbitration

Making the best decision on how to handle documents and exhibits in a document-intensive arbitration or trial is not easy.  Recently, one of our clients was involved in a two-week arbitration and, to save costs, the decision was made to manage the documents without the use of trial presentation software.  Shortly after the arbitration began, it became clear that this wasn’t the most effective method to access the documents, as counsel was unable to quickly focus the attention of the panel on the sentence or paragraph in question.  This situation was made worse by the fact that the other side had a paralegal who had been trained on and was using Sanction to manage their documents.

At the conclusion of the third day, a Thursday, counsel contacted us, lamenting that they were “being outgunned” by opposing counsel and needed the help of one of our experienced trial technicians.   Our trial technician met with the attorneys the next day, at which point the clients provided an overview of the case and a thumb drive of the 800 or so exhibits in PDF format.

The trial technician spent the weekend renaming, organizing, and importing the files into a TrialDirector database and also became familiar with the key documents.  By Monday morning at 9:15 am, we were ready to go and the trial technician quickly got in sync with the attorneys, easily pulling up documents, highlighting, zooming in, creating “tear-outs,” lines, and other such annotations on demand.  Particularly effective was pulling up a chart of names on one side and the document related to each name, one at a time, on the other, complete with tear-outs and highlights.

After five days of effective trial presentation, our clients were no longer feeling “outgunned.”

International Arbitrations in Japan

Recently Planet Depos’ on-the-ground U.S.-Certified court reporters provided realtime services for arbitrations before the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (JCAA).  Each proceeding was a multi-day matter involving highly technical terminology requiring immediate delivery of the rough, uncertified transcript with the final, certified transcript delivered via email nightly.

Our tech-savvy court reporters set up 12  laptops and tablets so that all of the parties present were able to view the proceedings in realtime, eliminating the need for an on-site technician, the cost of which is usually passed along to the parties by other court reporting agencies. This setup allowed users to annotate and search the raw feed from the court reporter, which assisted with their questioning of the witnesses.

The parties also requested multiple hardbound copies of the transcript of the previous day’s proceedings be delivered before the following day’s testimony began. This was made possible by the simultaneous streaming of the realtime proceedings to the court reporter’s editor with meticulous coordination among the Planet Depos-American Realtime Case Manager, on-the-ground liaison, and local document vendor, to ensure timely transcript delivery.

The demands of a complex cross-border dispute require talented and experienced legal teams.  As your international arbitration partner, Planet Depos is able to meet those demands around the clock and deliver beyond your expectations, even when you are thousands of miles away from your office.

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