On 1 December 2021, the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA), Singapore’s bespoke maritime arbitration body, launched the fourth edition of its arbitration rules.
n fact, these new rules will apply to an arbitration commenced on or after 1 January 2022. According to Justice Chao Hick Tin, Chairman of SCMA, the 4th edition of the SCMA Rules have been launched after extensive review of feedback obtained during last year’s public consultation.
The first changes to SCMA’s rules since 2015 seek to accommodate the shift to electronic and digital documents. Documents can be served electronically and there are also provisions to allow the signing of arbitration awards electronically.
The small claims procedure with a $150,000 threshold has been replaced by an expedited procedure with a $300,000 threshold.
Oral hearings will no longer be a mandatory part of arbitrations with the number arbitrators reduced to two, and a third appointed if required for oral hearings.
To prevent an abuse of process by late change of representatives in arbitration, the Tribunal is now empowered to withhold approval to such change where the conduct of proceedings or the enforceability of any award might be prejudiced.
Arbitration proceedings will be deemed to be closed after the lapse of three months from the date of any final written submissions of final hearing, providing certainty to the length of proceedings.