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Credit: Ministry of Law, Singapore

Credit: Ministry of Law, Singapore

Singapore converting world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex into smart facility

Today Singapore’s Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and Maxwell Chambers launched the “Smart Maxwell” initiative to convert Maxwell Chambers , the world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex into the world’s first smart hearing facility. It will use smart technology to offer more convenient, secure and comfortable hearings for businesses, legal counsel, arbitrators and mediators.

Turning Maxwell Chambers into a smart hearing facility is part of the Ministry of Law’s (MinLaw) larger plan to boost Singapore’s position as an international dispute resolution hub.

This investment aims to ensure that Singapore continues to have all the hallmarks of a great dispute resolution venue, with products and services regularly refreshed and upgraded to stay ahead of the competition. It complements the ongoing investment in infrastructure.

MinLaw is currently developing Maxwell Chambers Suites, which will add 120,000 square feet of office space and triple Maxwell Chambers’ current capacity. When completed in 2019, Maxwell Chambers Suites will provide 50 new offices over four floors for international dispute resolution institutions, arbitration chambers, law firms and ancillary services, and help meet growing regional demand for dispute resolution services.

The smart solutions will be co-developed with users and rolled out in Maxwell Chambers by the end of this year. It will be extended, in Phase 2, to the adjacent Maxwell Chambers Suites and serve the 50 new offices there when the new extension completes in 2019. The smart technology is developed jointly with two Singapore tech start-ups, Habitap and Techmetics.

Features of “Smart Maxwell”

Features at the facility will include smart booking, security, food and beverage, secretariat and concierge services, and a robot named “Max” to deliver files and food within the four-storey building.

Users will be able to securely check into the hearing rooms and offices through a single, customised application. Visitors attending hearings and meetings at Maxwell Chambers will be issued a unique and encrypted electronic access card through the application and they can tap into the rooms with their mobile devices.

Organisers will be notified of their guests’ arrival as they tap in through the turnstiles, providing users of Maxwell Chambers with fast and private access to their hearings and meetings. In addition, the application will enable users to control room settings such as lighting and air-conditioning, as well as request for secretariat services such as photocopying.

The multi-functional application will also act as a smart concierge to connect Maxwell Chambers’ users with food and beverage, as well as amenities in the vicinity. Users can order food from the participating restaurants and eateries in the area directly. A delivery system featuring a robot will be piloted to deliver documents and refreshments to hearings and meetings efficiently.

Credit: Ministry of Law, Singapore

In addition, users will be able to track their expenditure through the application. The application will provide them with a real-time itemised billing of the services they have engaged. This also allows Maxwell Chambers’ staff to speed up administrative and finance related functions.

The new solutions will be integrated with a revamped Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, bringing various aspects of the services offered by Maxwell Chambers onto a singular, intelligent platform.

Benefits

The use of smart technology will improve the ease of administration and logistics and allow disputing parties to better focus on their cases.

Besides better service, the adoption of technology will help Maxwell Chambers boost productivity, meet growing demand, and result in significant time and cost savings.

For example, currently, a user can spend up to half an hour collecting the physical access cards and distributing them to each business representative, legal counsel, arbitrator and/or mediator involved in the case, as and when they arrive, before each of them can make their way to the assigned room. In future, this will be instantaneous and automatic. Each individual will be given secured access electronically and they can simply use their phones to gain access. The total cost savings from the smart solutions are estimated to be over half a million dollars a year.

The initiative, supported by local enterprise development agency, Enterprise Singapore, is also expected to generate more business opportunities for the legal industry in Singapore, which serves clients seeking dispute resolution at Maxwell Chambers.

Making Maxwell Chambers a global venue of choice for dispute resolution

Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Ms Indranee Rajah S.C. launched the “Smart Maxwell” initiative in a ceremony attended by 50 lawyers, arbitrators and mediators who are tenants and users of Maxwell Chambers.

Ms Rajah said, “Maxwell Chambers is today one of the world’s best dispute resolution facilities. However, we are not content to leave it at that. In order to not just stay ahead of the competition, but also be the global standard bearer, we must be prepared to take bold steps, push boundaries, leverage technology, and create a unique experience synonymous with the Maxwell brand that cannot be duplicated elsewhere, and which will make us the global venue of choice for dispute resolution.”

Ms Katherine Yap, Chief Executive of Maxwell Chambers, said, “Maxwell Chambers is today the world’s premier dispute resolution facility. But competition is keen. Many have come here, from around the world, to see what we have; it is not difficult to replicate these. What is harder to replicate is what we do and how we do it: a commitment to service, a spirit of innovation and continuously improving, and a symbiotic partnership with the Government, the profession, and the dispute resolution institutions and practitioners who grow their work using our facility.”

Maxwell Chambers was set up in 2010 as the world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex, offering both hearing facilities and offices for international dispute resolution institutions, chambers, law firms and ancillary services. In 2017, a record number of 204 cases were heard at Maxwell Chambers, 10% more than 2016 and nearly double the number heard in 2010. The Singapore International Arbitration Centre, a frequent user of Maxwell Chambers, has announced last month, a new record of 452 new cases in 2017, a 32% increase from the 343 cases filed in 2016.The Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce have recently announced that they will set up their case management offices at Maxwell Chambers, to serve growing demand in Asia.

“We are proud to partner with Maxwell Chambers in their journey to become a smart hearing centre. The benefits of adopting smart solutions and leveraging technology to improve value offerings are key to organisations remaining on the forefront of the current digital push. It shows that every industry can tap into this potential and this announcement is an exciting milestone for Singapore’s legal industry.” said Mr Franklin Tang, Chief Executive Officer of property technology firm Habitap.

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