More legal practitioners prefer to resolve disputes in Singapore

A survey has shown that more legal practitioners in Asia prefer to resolve disputes in Singapore, suggesting the Republic's status as a dispute resolution hub has strengthened over the past few years.

The survey, published yesterday, was commissioned by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) and conducted by research company Ipsos in the first quarter of this year.

More than 600 legal practitioners and in-house counsel were polled, and 63 per cent of them picked Singapore as their preferred venue for dispute resolution. This was 11 percentage points more than in 2015.

About half of the respondents were based here, while the rest were in jurisdictions such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The survey found that familiarity with Singapore's arbitration services remained high, with 82 per cent of respondents saying they were either "very familiar" or "quite familiar" with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.

More respondents - 35 per cent - said they were "very familiar" or "quite familiar" with the Singapore International Commercial Court, 6 percentage points higher than in 2015.

The survey also found that while English law was still the most frequently used governing law in cross-border transactions in Asia, the use of Singapore law was increasing, from 25 per cent in 2015 to 29 per cent this year. The adoption of English law fell, from 48 per cent in 2015 to 43 per cent this year.

The top two reasons cited for choosing Singapore law in cross-border contracts were the established legal system and jurisprudence, as well as respondents' familiarity with the law.

Chairman of SAL's Promotion of Singapore Law Committee, Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy, said in a statement the survey results highlight the "great strides" Singapore law has made in its short history.

"Our law provides a business-friendly framework and includes an established and well-developed body of commercial law equipped to deal with cross-border transactions. It is well placed to serve the needs of businesses in Asia."