David Bateson

39 Essex Chambers

Maxwell Chambers Suites, 28 Maxwell Road, #04-03 & #04-04
069120, Singapore, Singapore


Peers and clients say:

"A very experienced construction and projects arbitrator"
"He is a well-prepared and commercially minded arbitrator with extensive expertise in Asia"
"David is a strong arbitrator who leads the field"


David Bateson is a leading international arbitrator who has been involved in over 200 arbitrations in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He has acted as chairman, party-appointed arbitrator, or sole arbitrator in arbitrations under the rules of the AIAC, BANI, CIETAC, DIAC, KCAB, HKIAC, LCIA, ICC, PCA, SIAC and VIAC, or in ad hoc arbitrations. He has extensive experience in disputes in a variety of industry sectors including, construction, resources, commodities, insurance, joint ventures, shareholder agreements, shipping and investor state. He has over 40 years of legal experience and is a specialist in all forms of dispute resolution including arbitration, litigation and alternative dispute resolution.

What did you find most challenging about entering arbitration practice?

Getting sufficient experience and track record, to be appointed arbitrator.

It is reported that there is a new generation of arbitrators emerging who are increasingly specialised. How does increased specialisation benefit the arbitration market and what are the potential pitfalls?

Finding a specialised arbitrator is one of the key advantages of arbitration. I was a construction, energy and resources specialist, who has branched out into other areas since becoming a full time arbitrator.

Many arbitral awards are starting to end up back in court for enforcement proceedings. Does arbitration have an enforcement issue, and how could this be addressed if so?

Arbitration has a key advantage over litigation in that awards can be enforced in countries who are signatories to the New York Convention. It is impossible to stop challenges to awards, but the Model Law’s limited grounds to set aside, and pro-arbitration legislation in most countries, make such challenges difficult to succeed. Tribunals should ensure they produce enforceable awards.

Some practitioners report that, post pandemic, arbitration costs are deterring parties from bringing matters. Is this your experience?

That is not my experience. Costs and settling due to poor financials because of the pandemic may have led to many settlements, but many arbitrations are now being launched.

Practitioners report a marked increase in international mediation, even when there are arbitration clauses in contracts, due to cash-strapped businesses seeking early settlement. Is there a danger arbitration could take a back seat to mediation?

Mediation is an important cost effective and economical procedure to settle a dispute, and should be encouraged, and written into contracts.

Some jurisdictions are drafting new rules on expedited summary proceedings in arbitration. How fast can disputes proceed without breaching procedural rights?

Expedited procedures, such as those prescribed by the ICC, SIAC and HKIAC, are working effectively. Normally the parties have to agree, exceptional urgency should apply, and the amount in dispute should not exceed a certain amount. The award should be made in about six months on average, and may be done on the documents only.

By agreeing to an expedited procedure, the parties’ procedural rights should not be breached. If reasons subsequently arise to no longer conduct the arbitration by an expedited procedure, an application to the institution can be made.

Do you envisage the emergence of any new arbitration seats that will rival those currently most popular?

London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva are the five most preferred seats according to the 2022 Queen Mary Survey.

It is possible that New York, Beijing, Shanghai, Stockholm, Dubai, or Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, or other seats may join them in the future as a preferred seat.

What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to secure appointments as arbitrator?

Work hard as an associate or partner, keep up-to-date on developments in the law, speak at seminars, and write articles and books.

Get yourself on panels of institutions who are always on the lookout for younger arbitrators. Once approached take any case, even if small.