10 Years of Maxwell – Looking back on the past decade

Maxwell Chambers officially opened its doors on 21 January 2010 as an arbitration centre in Singapore’s central business district. We have come a long way since then, having grown to consistently rank as among the top four Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) centres worldwide.

As we commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Maxwell Chambers this year, we recap the most significant events in our decade-long history:

1. The Grand Opening of Maxwell Chambers

Maxwell Chambers officially opened on 21 January 2010.

The former Chairman of Maxwell Chambers, Mr Chelva Rajah SC, delivered the opening remarks. This was followed by the opening speech by the Guest of Honour, former Senior Minister Mr S Jayakumar.

After the official opening, signing ceremonies were held between Maxwell Chambers and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), as well as Maxwell Chambers and the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC).

The event was held in conjunction with the inaugural Singapore International Arbitration Forum (SIAF). Delegates from the forum were transported to Maxwell Chambers following the end of day 1 of the forum.

2. Singapore International Arbitration Forum (SIAF)

The inaugural Singapore International Arbitration Forum (SIAF) was held on 21 – 22 January 2010 at Raffles City Convention Centre.

Themed ‘The Future for International Arbitration‘, the forum brought together distinguished arbitration practitioners from around the world to share their insights and provide thought leadership on major issues facing the industry, as more businesses adopt the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

The Guest of Honour was Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam, who was joined by former Chairman of Maxwell Chambers, Mr Chelva Rajah and former CE of Maxwell Chambers, Mr Wong Sheng Kwai.

On the second and final day of the conference, guests were treated to a river cruise on Singapore’s iconic Bumboats, allowing them to view Singapore’s highlights, skyline and historical sites. The cruise ended at Marina Barrage, where guests were free to mingle and enjoy Asian delicacies and a variety of dance performances showcasing Singapore’s multiculturalism.

3. Expansion of Maxwell Chambers

In January 2017, Singapore Ministry of Law announced plans to expand Maxwell Chambers to strengthen Singapore’s position as an international dispute resolution centre.

The expansion was slated to add 120,000 square feet of floor space and triple Maxwell Chambers’ size. The move was aimed at supporting the growth of dispute resolution institutions in Singapore, which have seen significant increases in caseload, as well as attracting more international institutions, arbitration chambers and law firms to Singapore.

On 1 May 2017, the Ministry of Law took over the conserved heritage building adjacent to the Maxwell Chambers, 28 Maxwell Road, in order to restore it for Maxwell Chambers’ use.

4.Ground-Breaking Ceremony for 28 Maxwell Road

The Ground-Breaking Ceremony for 28 Maxwell Road was held in the presence of over 70 leading dispute resolution practitioners on 22nd June 2017. The event was graced by Former Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, Ms Indranee Rajah. During the ceremony, Ms Indranee also announced that 28 Maxwell Road would be renamed Maxwell Chambers Suites.

The ceremony was followed by a tour of 28 Maxwell Road, which was at the time covered in a coat of red from its days as the former Red Dot Traffic building. The building would be reverted to its original white colour during the refurbishment period.

5. The Grand Opening of Maxwell Chambers Suites

On 8 August 2019, we celebrated another significant milestone in our history with the official opening of our new extension, Maxwell Chambers Suites.

The new premises was launched by Law Minister Mr K Shanmugam, SC as well as our Chairman, Mr Philip Jeyaretnam, SC. They were joined by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education Ms Indranee Rajah and Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Mr Edwin Tong, as well as ministers and senior officials from 12 countries, and more than 350 guests from the government, judiciary, law firms, dispute resolution institutions, law associations, businesses and academia.

With the expanded Maxwell Chambers, Singapore strengthens its position as an internationally acclaimed dispute resolution hub.

Following the launch, our VIPs were led into the building by a pair of lions who kicked off the festivities with a rousing performance. Guests – including delegates from the Singapore Convention on Mediation Conference – were also free to roam the event premises and enjoy a variety of cultural performances and local delicacies showcasing Singapore’s melting pot of cultures.

Stay tuned for further updates on our 10th Anniversary celebrations!

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