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Media Release: Establishment of Technology, Infrastructure and Construction list to manage complex technology-related, infrastructure and construction disputes

The Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) has established a specialised Technology, Infrastructure and Construction List (“TIC List”)[1] effective 31 August 2021, which deals principally with complex disputes, such as technology-related disputes, and disputes relating to infrastructure and construction projects. 

2          Such technically complex cases include building and construction disputes; engineering disputes; disputes relating to architects, surveyors and accountants; claims relating to computer systems and computer software; and claims relating to the supply of goods or services for technology, infrastructure and construction projects. 

Benefits of cases in the TIC List

3          A case placed in the TIC List will benefit from additional case management features suited to the expeditious resolution of technically complex disputes, as such disputes usually involve many contracts signed by multiple parties with voluminous evidence to be considered. The ability to join parties into one hearing coupled with the efficiency and flexibility accorded under the TIC List would enhance the dispute resolution landscape for complex disputes, and result in time and costs savings for all parties involved. The additional case management features include:

  • Broad and flexible powers relating to the management of expert evidence;
  • Exchange of affidavits of evidence-in-chief prior to disclosure of documents;
  • Presentation of the parties’ cases using Scott Schedules[2], which set out each issue to be determined by the Court;
  • Flexibility of parties agreeing to adopt optional voluntary protocols suited to the needs of their dispute, such as:
    • A Simplified Adjudication Process Protocol, which streamlines the resolution of smaller-value claims in cases containing a large number of distinct claims, and
    • A Pre-Action Protocol, which encourages the frank and early exchange of information between the parties on their claims and responses.

4          With the consent of parties, a case or matter commenced in or transferred to the SICC may be placed in the TIC List by the Court. For a case to be eligible to be placed in the TIC List, it must involve technically complex issues and the nature of the dispute must be such that trial by a TIC Judge is desirable.

5          The list of specialist TIC judges who would be hearing such matters comprise Judges from the Supreme Court and International Judges, who possess a wealth of experience in adjudicating complex commercial cases. They include Justice Quentin Loh, President of the SICC and Judge of the Appellate Division, and Justices Sir Vivian Ramsey and Douglas Samuel Jones AO, International Judges. Please refer to Annex A for the full list of specialist TIC judges.

6          On the introduction of the TIC List, Justice Loh said, “Singapore has been widely recognised as the leading arbitration hub and the preferred base for international law firms in Asia. The SICC continues its mission to enhance Singapore’s value as a leading forum for international commercial dispute resolution through the adoption of international best practices. As such, the inception of the TIC list is yet another significant milestone for the SICC in the expeditious and efficient administration of justice with procedural flexibility and fair, impartial and practical processes.”

7          Added Justice Ramsey, who has adjudicated numerous complex disputes as a judge and an arbitrator, “I have seen many complex multi million dollar project disputes get bogged down for years due to the sheer number of related contracts and parties involved. With the introduction of the TIC List, parties may now adopt the Simplified Adjudication Process Protocol and resolve a large number of distinct smaller-value claims pegged to the decision of the Court on substantive ones. Coupled with the other unique flexible features available in the SICC and the ability of parties to be represented by registered foreign lawyers of their choice, the SICC offers itself as a trusted neutral forum to resolve such complex disputes through international litigation.”

8          Justice Douglas Jones AO, an experienced international arbitrator in construction and infrastructure disputes, also applauded the formulation of the TIC list. “The various protocols that are available to parties in the TIC List and the use of Schedules that have been developed in international arbitration, have proven to be effective in managing complex disputes involving many parties across multiple contracts, resulting in time and costs savings when resolving these disputes. This is often the case with major construction matters, and I am glad to see that the SICC has taken this bold step in adopting similar processes within the ambit of international litigation. Parties now have the option of efficaciously resolving complex disputes through arbitration or a Court of Law like the SICC, but with the advantage of the (opt out) right of appeal with the latter should a party feel aggrieved that there was an error in fact or law,” said Justice Jones.

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Annex A

List of specialist TIC Judges
  • Justice Quentin Loh, President of the SICC & Judge of the Appellate Division;
  • Justice Lee Seiu Kin;
  • Justice Chan Seng Onn;
  • Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy;
  • Justice Tan Siong Thye;
  • Justice Aedit Abdullah;
  • Justice Ang Cheng Hock;
  • Justice Vincent Hoong;
  • Justice Patricia Bergin, International Judge;
  • Justice Douglas Samuel Jones AO, International Judge;
  • Justice Beverley McLachlin PC, International Judge;
  • Justice Sir Vivian Ramsey, International Judge;
  • Justice Anselmo Reyes, International Judge;
  • Justice Simon Thorley QC, International Judge.

[1] For more information on the TIC list, please refer to the SICC website.
[2] A “Scott Schedule” refers to a table which sets out each issue to be determined by the Court, and each party’s case or submissions on that issue (including, where applicable, the evidence relied on). The SICC Practice Directions can be found at this link.

2021/11/08

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