In December 2017, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre launched a consultation process for the introduction of a protocol pursuant to which arbitral institutions would agree on the consolidation of claims which are otherwise related but which, on the terms of the relevant dispute resolution provisions in their contracts, are required to be heard in separate institutional processes. See SIAC press release here.
Philippa Charles spoke to CDR Magazine following Singapore International Arbitration Centre’s proposal for consolidation of compatible arbitrations.
The CDR article states:
“While on the face of it, the protocol is aimed at saving time and cost in multiple proceedings, as well as reducing the risk of inconsistent awards arising out of parallel proceedings – important issues to some parties, Philippa Charles, a partner and head of arbitration at Stewarts, says “the reality is that in many dispute situations, a party’s interests will vary depending on the strength of its claim or defence, and there are parties which may tactically wish to take advantage of the time/cost/delay/risk of inconsistency as a commercial driver to settlement, if not as an outright guerrilla tactic”.”
“Further, Charles outlines that by affording institutions the power to determine on what basis a consolidated claim should proceed, party autonomy in the conduct of their disputes could be at risk.
“It is entirely unclear from the proposals how it is intended the competing institutions should determine which of them should have the future conduct of the matter, and whether or not the parties are to have any part in that process,” she says – a concern echoed by Clarke who suggests that an opt-out mechanism for parties may be desirable.”
Philippa continues to be quoted around the issues of enforcement of awards administered by non-local institutions. She says this “would have to be a factor in the institutional discussions, too, to avoid a process of consolidation ultimately undermining the validity and enforceability of the resultant award”.
To read the full article, please visit the CDR website: SIAC proposes ‘ground-breaking’ consolidation protocol (payment required)
Matthew Knowles, a partner in the International Arbitration team, has written a more in-depth analysis of the SIAC proposal which can be found here: SIAC’s proposal for a protocol on cross-institutional consolidation of arbitrations: too much complexity to be beneficial?
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