The Role of an Arbitrator in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction to Arbitration in Singapore

Arbitration is a popular method for resolving disputes outside the courtroom. In Singapore, arbitration has gained significant traction due to its efficiency, confidentiality, and flexibility. This article explores the role of an arbitrator Singapore and provides insights into the arbitration process.

What is an Arbitrator?

An arbitrator is a neutral third party chosen to resolve disputes between two or more parties. Unlike judges, arbitrators have specialized knowledge in the relevant field and are selected based on their expertise. Their primary role is to ensure a fair and impartial resolution of the dispute.

Why Choose Arbitration in Singapore?

Efficiency and Speed

Arbitration is often faster than traditional litigation. Singapore’s arbitration framework is designed to expedite the resolution process, reducing the time parties spend in dispute.


Arbitration proceedings are private, ensuring that sensitive information remains confidential. This is particularly beneficial for businesses concerned about reputational risks.


Arbitrators are selected for their expertise in the subject matter of the dispute. This ensures that the decision is informed by relevant industry knowledge.

The Arbitration Process in Singapore

Initiating Arbitration

The arbitration process begins when one party submits a notice of arbitration. This document outlines the nature of the dispute and the relief sought. The parties then agree on the appointment of an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators.

Appointment of the Arbitrator

In Singapore, arbitrators can be appointed by mutual agreement of the parties, by an arbitration institution such as the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), or by a court if the parties cannot agree.

Preliminary Meeting

A preliminary meeting is held to establish the procedure and timeline for the arbitration. This includes setting dates for submissions, hearings, and the final award.

Submission of Evidence

Parties submit their evidence and arguments in writing. This phase is crucial as it allows the arbitrator to understand the positions of both parties.


Hearings are conducted where parties present their case, call witnesses, and cross-examine the other party’s witnesses. While some arbitrations are resolved solely on written submissions, others may require oral hearings.

The Final Award

The arbitrator delivers a final award after considering all the evidence and arguments. This award is binding on the parties and enforceable under the law.

Benefits of Arbitration in Singapore


Arbitration allows parties to tailor the process to their needs, including choosing the arbitrator, language, and procedural rules.


Although arbitration can be expensive, it often proves cost-effective in the long run due to its speed and finality, avoiding prolonged litigation costs.

International Recognition

Singapore is a signatory to the New York Convention, making arbitration awards enforceable in over 160 countries. This international recognition enhances the appeal of arbitration in Singapore.

Challenges in Arbitration


While arbitration can be cost-effective, the initial costs can be high, especially for complex disputes requiring expert witnesses and multiple arbitrators.

Limited Appeal Rights

Arbitration awards are final, with limited grounds for appeal. This can be a disadvantage if one party is dissatisfied with the decision.

Enforcement Issues

Although arbitration awards are internationally recognized, enforcement can still be challenging in certain jurisdictions, especially where local laws and practices may hinder the process.


Arbitration in Singapore offers a robust and efficient alternative to traditional litigation, providing parties with a confidential, flexible, and expert-driven dispute resolution process. By understanding the role of an arbitrator and the arbitration process, parties can make informed decisions that best suit their needs. Whether for commercial disputes or other conflicts, arbitration stands as a cornerstone of Singapore’s legal landscape.