The Small Claims Resolved Informally by Experts (“SCRIBE”) Process introduced and administered by LWP.Sg Consultants in Singapore is an abbreviated procedure by which parties will be able to resolve their disputes. Under the default SCRIBE Process, parties will have the opportunity to file and exchange written submissions and thereafter, unless by express agreement reached between the parties, shall advance to oral submissions at an abbreviated oral hearing.
This is a process which is most likely to add value for parties with small claims (i.e. claims of up to USD 50,000) or parties whose claims are relatively straightforward. The idea is that such claims should be resolved as quickly and inexpensively as possible, with the benefit of a decision from an Expert drawn from the panel who is both reputable and experienced in dispute resolution. The aim is to achieve this without either party having to incur an extensive investment in costs and in-house resources.
It is for this reason that the fees to be paid to the Expert for the Expert’s services under the SCRIBE Process will be fixed at SGD 3,000, and LWP.SG Consultant’s administrative fee will be fixed at SGD 300. In the event that the matters proceeds to the oral hearing stage, the Expert deciding the matter should also provide parties with a hearing venue. Although the cost of the hearing venue will be an extra cost, the cost of the hearing venue should not, as a general rule, be more than SGD 150/hour and shall be borne equally between parties at time of fixing.
That being said, the SCRIBE Process is unlikely to be suitable for parties whose claims involve complex technical / legal issues, public policy issues, issues which may involve fraud, criminal, or politically sensitive matters.
As more often than not, parties in a contractual relationship will have certain dispute resolution clauses incorporated into their contracts. Parties interested in the SCRIBE Process should be mindful of this and should carefully consider the nature of the claim(s) / issues(s) involved and should also consider the various dispute resolution options available to them before deciding if the SCRIBE Process is suitable. Parties using the SCRIBE Process should also be mindful of the fact that the written decision issued by the Expert will not carry the same weight nor will it have the same effect as an award from an arbitral tribunal / a court judgment.