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Japan-Singapore International Legal and Dispute Resolution Conference (12 March 2019)

  • 16 July 2019 16 July 2019
  • Asia Pacific

  • Projects & Construction

The Singapore Infrastructure Dispute-Management Protocol ("SIDP") - a protocol for the appointment of a dispute board to assist in the management of disputes between parties in mega infrastructure construction projects - was launched by Singapore's Ministry of Law in October 2018. As a member of the Working Group, our Eugene Tan was invited by the Ministry of Law to speak on the SIDP at the first Japan-Singapore International Legal and Dispute Resolution Conference in Tokyo on 12 March 2019.

Japan-Singapore International Legal and Dispute Resolution Conference (12 March 2019)

The conference was jointly organised by Singapore and Japan, and attended by more than 200 government officials, business executives, in-house counsel, legal practitioners and academics. Topics revolved around opportunities between Singapore and Japan to collaborate in the legal and dispute resolution sector.

The growing economies and population in Asia has generated a significant demand for infrastructure.  This in turn presents opportunities for many businesses in the engineering and construction sector. To maintain current growth rates, the Asian Development Bank estimates that developing Asia requires US$1.7 trillion a year between 2016 to 2030. Japan has consistently been one of the top investors in Southeast Asia, with investment in ASEAN infrastructure projects since 2000 totalling more than US$230 billion.

This backdrop, coupled with the high incidents of infrastructure projects being completed late and exceeding budget, translates into a growing need for legal and dispute resolution services in this sector. The SIDP is Singapore's attempt to leverage off its expertise as an established and reliable infrastructure and disputes resolution hub to meet this increased demand. It is intended to assist parties to avoid and resolve disputes that might otherwise snowball and hinder the progress and completion of projects.  

During the conference, Eugene spoke on the SIDP and the benefits of having dispute boards in infrastructure projects. The SIDP is based on established dispute board protocols, with additional mechanisms for negotiations and mediation. With the SIDP's focus on progressing projects and preserving relationships, this conciliatory approach is intended to appeal to the Asian preference for resolving disputes.

The SIDP is a useful dispute resolution tool that is intended to reduce or mitigate the risks of time or costs overruns that arise from disputes. It is therefore unsurprising that it attracted great attention and interest from the conference participants with much discussion from the panel and questions from the floor.

For those interested in finding out more about the SIDP and its application, contact Eugene at eugene.tan@clydeco.com or +65 6544 6583.

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