CD: How would you describe the arbitration landscape in Asia? What factors are driving its rising popularity in the region?

Inglis: Asia is, and has been for some time now, an attractive place to arbitrate. Singapore and Hong Kong, the region’s leading examples, are now firmly established as world-class international arbitration centres, recognised for their strong legislative frameworks, supportive judiciaries and high quality institutions. Other centres are also developing, sometimes specialising in particular categories of dispute such as the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration’s (KLRCA’s) i-Arbitration Rules for arbitrating commercial disputes using Islamic principles. In addition to this infrastructure, the region has an experienced pool of local and international legal practitioners and other professional service providers with extensive knowledge of the local markets. For these reasons, international arbitration in Asia offers an appealing means of dispute resolution to many parties, both Asian and non-Asian.

Murumkar: Asia is very diverse in terms of legal systems like common law, civil law, mix of common and civil law and personal laws. That makes it very challenging for the companies, and in-house counsels, who are doing businesses in multiple countries in Asia. But the development of arbitration centres in Asia – apart from the well-established Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC) – which are the KLRCA, the Japanese Commercial Arbitration Association, the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board and the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), add to the prominence of institutional arbitration in Asia. Apart from these well-developed or developing economies, the launch of Cambodia’s first arbitration venue, the National Arbitration Centre (NAC), in Phnom Penh indicates that arbitration is catching up across Asia as a possible avenue for dispute resolution. Most of the Asian countries are signatory to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (New York Convention). Therefore, technically enforcement of foreign awards becomes relatively easier. Accordingly, growing economies and enforceability of awards are driving the popularity of arbitration in Asia.

Oct-Dec 2015 issue

John Deere

FTI Consulting

Norton Rose Fulbright

Rio Tinto