In March 2016, Singapore hosted the first event of the GPC Series 2016 - 2017. The Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy (SIDRA) was unveiled at this event by the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.
Using information technology and a range of methods, data was collected during the GPC in Singapore from 367 delegates hailing from following stakeholder groups: parties, advisors, adjudicative providers, non-adjudicative providers and influencers. Findings and recommendations were then drawn from the analysis of such data and published by GPC in the Singapore Report.
The Singapore Report confirmed that there were significant gaps in the expectations and needs of users and other stakeholders in commercial dispute resolution. The biggest gap was often found between parties and advisors.
Some notable findings and recommendations of the Singapore Report include the following:
(1) Outcomes that parties most often want before starting a process in commercial dispute resolution: 68% of parties identified action-focused outcomes (e.g. prevent action or require an action from one of the parties) as being of primary importance. In contrast, 84% of advisors identified financial outcomes (e.g. damages, compensation, etc.) as being of primary importance to parties.
(2) Factors that influence decision making when parties choose the type of dispute resolution process(es) to use: 54% of parties identified efficiency (e.g. time/cost to achieve outcome) as being of primary importance. In contrast, 76% of advisors identified advice (e.g. from lawyer or other advisor) as being of primary importance to parties.
(3) Role that parties typically want lawyers (i.e. inhouse or external counsel) to take in the dispute resolution process: 74% of parties identified collaboration (i.e. working collaboratively with parties to navigate the process) as being of primary importance. In contrast, 81% of advisors identified advocating (i.e. speaking for parties and/or advocating on a party's behalf) as being of primary importance to parties.
(4) Primary responsibility for ensuring parties understand their process options: All five stakeholder groups identified lawyers, whether external or inhouse, as primarily responsible for advising parties about their dispute resolution process options.
(5) Most effective commercial dispute resolution processes: All five stakeholder groups agreed that disputes are most effectively resolved with a combination of adjudicative and non-adjudicative processes (e.g. arbitration/litigation with mediation/conciliation). In contrast, the effectiveness of technology in commercial dispute resolution was rated the second lowest by four stakeholder groups and rated the lowest by one stakeholder group.
There was little significant difference between the voting patterns of the local Singaporeans and the voting patterns of the entire delegation which also included participants from Europe, Asia, Oceania, the Americas and Africa. Therefore, the above findings may be used to inform both the local and broader commercial dispute resolution communities.
Chief Global Litigation Counsel at GE Oil & Gas Michael McIlwrath, who is chairman of the Central Organising Group for the GPC Series and member of SIDRA's training faculty, said: "One of the most interesting findings generated by the GPC Series so far is the apparent disconnect between the views of users (in house lawyers and business executives at organisations who are parties to commercial disputes) and the advisor stakeholder group (primarily private practice lawyers) concerning the role that advisors should play in dispute resolution processes. This of course is the kind of data we want to reveal as we can then start working on bridging the gaps where we see any areas of disconnect to ensure we have the right dispute resolution tools for users going forward."
The next upcoming GPC event will be hosted in Hong Kong on 23 February 2017. SIDRA's Academic Director, Professor Nadja Alexander will be moderating at this event, so we are sure to hear more from her about it. To see more upcoming events or to view the data generated so far, please visit the website: http://www.globalpoundconference.org/