Singapore International Arbitration Centre Proposal on Cross-Institution Consolidation Protocol

Author:Mr Gary Born and Dharshini Prasad

On 19 December 2017, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre ('SIAC") released a proposal on cross-institution cooperation for the consolidation of international arbitral proceedings. The innovative proposal envisages the adoption of a protocol by arbitral institutions that would permit the consolidation of arbitral proceedings subject to different institutional arbitration rules. Gary Born, Chair of the International Arbitration Practice Group and President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration, and Associate Dharshini Prasad worked closely with the SIAC Secretariat to develop the proposal.

Reflecting the increasing complexity of contemporary international business transactions, most institutional arbitration rules today contain provisions on the resolution of complex disputes, including the arbitration rules of SIAC, the International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC"), the London Court of International Arbitration ("LCIA"), the International Center for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association ("ICDR"), and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ("HKIAC"). A key component of these rules are provisions on the consolidation of arbitral proceedings. By permitting related disputes to be heard together in appropriate circumstances, consolidation allows the more efficient and cost-effective resolution of disputes, while minimizing the risk of inconsistent decisions.

Currently, however, institutional arbitration rules do not permit the consolidation of arbitral proceedings subject to different institutional arbitration rules, even if those disputes otherwise meet the criteria for consolidation. Thus, while an ICC arbitration may be consolidated with another ICC arbitration, it cannot be heard together with a SIAC, HKIAC, LCIA or ICDR proceeding. The lack of a mechanism to consolidate proceedings under different institutional arbitration rules substantially limits the types of international arbitrations that can be consolidated, leading to a proliferation of parallel proceedings. As a result, arbitration...

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