Maxwell Chambers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Maxwell Chambers
MClogo colored.jpg
Maxwell Chambers Exterior - Day.jpg
Former namesCustom House (1932 to 2010)
Address32 Maxwell Road Singapore 069115
Coordinates1°16′39.5″N 103°50′46.1″E / 1.277639°N 103.846139°E / 1.277639; 103.846139Coordinates: 1°16′39.5″N 103°50′46.1″E / 1.277639°N 103.846139°E / 1.277639; 103.846139
Public transitTanjong Pagar MRT
TypeHistoric site, events venue
Built1932 (as Custom House)
Opened21 January 2010; 10 years ago (2010-01-21) (as Maxwell Chambers)
8 August 2019; 5 months ago (2019-08-08) (Maxwell Chambers Suites extension)

Maxwell Chambers is an integrated alternative dispute resolution (ADR) complex located in Singapore. It provides hearing rooms and facilities for the conduct of ADR hearings in Singapore, as well as the regional offices of a number of ADR institutions, arbitrators, and international arbitration practitioners.[1]

Maxwell Chambers was established with seed money from the Singapore Government. The intention is for ownership to transfer to the private sector in due course.[2]

On 5 January 2017, the Ministry of Law announced plans to triple the size of Maxwell Chambers with Maxwell Chambers Suites to boost Singapore's position as an international dispute resolution hub.[3] The facility officially opened on 8 August 2019.[4]


The origins of Maxwell Chambers can be traced as far back as 2002 when the Legal Services Working Group of the Economic Review Committee chaired by then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stressed the need for “good infrastructure and facilities” to make Singapore a regional alternative dispute resolution service centre.[5]

In 2005, the Ministry of Law started planning for the development of an integrated dispute resolution complex. The architects visited arbitration hearing centres around the world to get design ideas, and then added “a Singapore touch”.[6]

In January 2007, Singapore's former Custom House was chosen as the site[2] and design work commenced. Upon the completion of refurbishment works in July 2009, the building opened for hearings.

Maxwell Chambers was officially launched on 21 January 2010.[6][7]


The establishment of Maxwell Chambers was nominated by Global Arbitration Review (GAR) as one of the “Best Developments” in the arbitration industry in 2010.[8]

GAR's first survey on hearing centres in 2013 found that Maxwell Chambers was one of the top three hearing centres that leading international arbitration lawyers were most likely to "recommend to a friend". Survey respondents remarked that Maxwell Chambers was “perfect”, “the standout facility” and “currently the gold standard”.[9]

In GAR's Hearing Centres Survey for 2016, Maxwell Chambers was ranked second for most of the key factors respondents look out for in choosing a hearing centre, such as location, IT services, and helpfulness of staff.[10]


Maxwell Chambers occupies the former Customs House located in Tanjong Pagar in Singapore's central business district. Built in 1932 during the British colonial era, the building was the headquarters of the Department of Customs and Excise for over 60 years.[11] Following the refurbishment of the building, it was renamed Maxwell Chambers.

In 2007, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) gave the building conservation status. In 2010, it was designated the 88th historic site in Singapore by the National Heritage Board.[12]

The building was awarded the International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design (2010) by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.[13] In 2012, the building was also awarded an Architectural Heritage Award by Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority.[14]

Maxwell Chambers Suites[edit]

The Ministry of Law announced on 5 January 2017 that Maxwell Chambers would triple in capacity by taking over the neighbouring building at 28 Maxwell Road (formerly known as the Red Dot Traffic Building), in order to support the growth of dispute resolution institutions which have seen significant increases in caseload.[3]

At the official groundbreaking ceremony on 22 June 2017, the Ministry announced that the new offices would be renamed Maxwell Chambers Suites, as well as expanding even further due to "strong demand", with a second annexe block of 3,500 sq ft space, on top of the 120,000 sq ft originally planned.[15][16]

Restoration works were completed in mid-2019.[17] Maxwell Chambers Suites officially opened on 8 August 2019. It houses at least 11 international institutions and 20 disputes chambers and practices from 11 countries.[18]


Maxwell Chambers offers 39 custom-designed and fully equipped hearing and preparation rooms, a business centre,[19] and a lounge for arbitrators.[6] It also provides audio-visual and video conferencing facilities and simultaneous translation and transcription.[19]


Maxwell Chambers houses the regional offices of several ADR institutions[5] including the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC), the ICC Court of Arbitration, the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center, and the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA). The Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) will also be based at Maxwell Chambers.[20]

A number of barristers’ chambers and arbitrators have a regional office at Maxwell Chambers including Essex Court Chambers, 20 Essex Street,[21] 39 Essex Chambers, One Essex Court,[22] Bankside Chambers[23] and Hanotiau & van den Berg[24]

Signature Events[edit]

In addition to providing hearing facilities and office space, Maxwell Chambers also organises a number of signature events:

  • Singapore International Arbitration Forum (SIAF)
  • Maxwell ADR Forum
  • Maxwell Lectures


  1. ^ a b Crowe, Chris (16 August 2010). "Asia's arbitration explosion". International Bar Association. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b Khew, Carolyn (5 January 2017). "Maxwell Chambers to expand, will take over building that houses Red Dot Design Museum". The Straits Times. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  3. ^ Tham, Yuen-C (26 April 2019). "Dispute resolution complex in Maxwell to open on Aug 8". The Straits Times. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b Ahmad, Jawad; Yeap, Andre. "Section 2: Overviews - Arbitration in Asia". The Asia Pacific Arbitration Review 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Sulaiman, Uzma Balkiss (7 February 2010). "Maxwell Chambers opens in Singapore". Global Arbitration Review. 5 (1).(subscription required)
  6. ^ "Speech by SM S Jayakumar at the grand opening of Maxwell Chambers". Ministry of Law. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  7. ^ Ross, Alison (5 June 2011). "Singapore: City state reflects on progress". Global Arbitration Review. 6 (3).(subscription required)
  8. ^ Samuels, David (4 February 2014). "Hearing Centres Survey". Global Arbitration Review's Guide to Regional Arbitration. 2. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Guide To Regional Arbitration (volume 4 - 2016)". Global Arbitration Review. Global Arbitration Review.
  10. ^ "The Building that Never Slept". inSYNC - Singapore Customs Newsletter (10). January 2011. Archived from the original on 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  11. ^ Spykerman, Kimberly (9 October 2010). "Custom House marked as a historic site". The Straits Times.
  12. ^ The International Architectural Awards 2010 Archive (PDF). The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design. 2010. p. 62.
  13. ^ Wong, Jeanne (5 October 2012). "Maxwell Chambers wins URA Architectural Heritage Award". AsiaOne. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Strong demand drives further expansion at Maxwell Chambers". The Business Times. The Business Times.
  15. ^ Ang, Prisca (22 June 2017). "Red Dot Traffic Building renamed Maxwell Chambers Suites". The Straits Times. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Works on Maxwell Chambers Suites Completed After Two Years of Restoration Works" (PDF). Maxwell Chambers. Ministry of Law, Singapore.
  17. ^ "Maxwell Chambers Suites Officially Opens Today Giving Yet Another Boost to Singapore's Legal Hub Position". Ministry of Law, Singapore. Ministry of Law, Singapore.
  18. ^ a b Yeo, Alvin; Maniam, Andre (4 February 2010). "New integrated dispute resolution complex opens in Singapore". Practical Law. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  19. ^ Lim, George. "Back to "MediAsian"". Who's Who Legal. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  20. ^ "MoJ oversight costs London dear". The Lawyer. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  21. ^ Dowell, Katy (26 June 2012). "One Essex Court and 39 Essex Street prepare for Singapore launches". The Lawyer. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  22. ^ Elward, David (28 February 2011). "New Zealand trio set up shop in Maxwell Chambers'". Global Arbitration Review.(subscription required)
  23. ^ Alison, Ross (9 December 2011). "Boutique firm to gain Singapore outpost". Global Arbitration Review.(subscription required)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]