I’m a big advocate for doing business in Singapore. Year after year, it’s ranked as the easiest country in the world to start a business.
Singapore is also the third richest country in the world, ranking behind only Qatar and Luxembourg.
A big part of Singapore’s success is rooted in its modern legal system.
The legal system in Singapore has received global recognition for its efficiency and integrity.
As a result, Singapore is widely regarded as the leading legal and financial center in Asia.
A key factor in many companies choosing to locate regional headquarters in Singapore, and using it as their investment hub, regardless of where they may have operations, is the predominance of English law dispute resolution across the region.
Many regional cross border contracts place dispute resolution under English law in Singapore.
That ensures that they have neutral law and a safe arbitration hub in a country that is safe and stable, with no interference from the judiciary.
This is quite widely accepted across the region and provides a lot of comfort for incoming global investors.
As I wrote over at the Singapore Law Advisor, Singapore Poised to Become Global Center for Investment Arbitration, Singapore is on the verge of solidifying its role as a global center of investment arbitration, due to the success of the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC).
The island-nation’s connectivity to the region and the world, its neutrality as a venue, its commercially experienced judiciary, and the supportive infrastructure for arbitration makes it an attractive choice for international arbitration.
In the 2010 International Institute for Management Development (“IMD”) World Competitiveness Yearbook, Singapore topped the rankings under the criteria of “Legal and Regulatory Framework”.
Litigation in Singapore generally costs much less than litigation in various other developed jurisdictions e.g. the United States of America, the United Kingdom.
Singapore lawyers are not allowed to charge clients on the basis of a contingency fee i.e. a ‘success’ fee. Litigation lawyers generally charge on the basis of actual work done or time spent, bearing in mind the complexity of the case and the size of the claim.
A key development in Singapore’s court system is the development of the world’s first “paperless” electronic court filing system, which will soon be operational.
Another attractive feature for litigating in Singapore is that it’s Now Easier for Foreign Lawyers to Appear in Singapore Courts. Singapore recently parliament passed the revised Legal Professions Act. The Act will make it easier for foreign expert lawyers to appear in Singapore courts.
As reported in Singapore Law Watch, the Act was calculated to address the shortage of elite international lawyers, who can represent parties in high-end commercial and financial disputes before the courts.
As Singapore Law Watch notes, “the move is expected to boost joint ventures between foreign and local law firms, which will put Singapore in a better position to become the gateway to a growing regional market that is potentially as large as Europe.”
Dispute resolution in Asia–there’s no better place than Singapore.