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Training to raise Asian international arbitration expertise

14 December 2012

Chief Justice Menon delivering his address at the Singapore International Arbitration Academy

(From left) CJ Menon, Mr Patrick Foy QC, Senior Appellate Counsel and Partner at Borden Ladner Gervais, and The Lord Phillips at the event

Singapore's Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, the architect who spearheaded the Singapore International Arbitration Academy's development and implementation by NUS' Centre for International Law (CIL), was among the distinguished speakers at the inaugural Academy event. The three-week intensive programme organised by CIL and NUS Faculty of Law wraps up today.

At a special session of the Academy convened at the Singapore Supreme Court, Chief Justice Menon emphasised the growing importance of international arbitration, particularly for the Asia-Pacific region, and called on Asians to play a more prominent role in this important field.

The Chief Justice had earlier noted: "In a region where arbitration is set to grow even more dramatically in the coming years, the Academy fills a gap in the training and formation of practitioners by giving them an insight into real life issues they will encounter with an emphasis on practical learning from a cross-cultural perspective."

Also speaking at the Academy was The Right Honourable The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, KG, first President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, who provided his own perspectives on the growth and future of international arbitration in Asia.

The international arbitration programme from 26 November to 14 December offers theory, skills training, as well as lectures on key issues of arbitral law and practice. It seeks to provide participants with an edge in their future practice, as well as raise the level of arbitration expertise in the region. Attending the training are more than 40 private practitioners, in-house counsel and government officials from Singapore, ASEAN member states, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, New Zealand, Spain and Tanzania.

The programme comes in two tracks - the "Practising Counsel Track" focuses on the skills and issues relevant to counsel representing clients in arbitration proceedings, while the "Government Advisor/Instructing Solicitor Track" covers issues such as selection, instruction and management of hired counsel.

During the opening ceremony of the Academy on 26 November, Mr Steven Chong SC, the Attorney-General of Singapore, pointed out that with international arbitration sinking a deeper root in Asia, "it is incumbent upon all of us, government officials and private practitioners alike, to educate ourselves as to best practices in international arbitration, issues of ethics and professional conduct, practice and procedure, and to develop an understanding of the developments of legal trends in this field."