The future of international commercial arbitration looks bright according to APAC course director

We speak to Sapna Jhangiani KC C.Arb FCIArb, one of the course directors of the upcoming Asia Pacific Diploma Course in International Commercial Arbitration. 

Sapna Jhangiani KC fell into alternative dispute resolution (ADR) entirely by accident, and has practised in New York, London, Dubai, and now Singapore. “I was a barrister specialising in High Court work in London when my Canadian husband and I decided that we wished to relocate and move eastwards. Litigation tends to be an entirely domestic practice, so a friend suggested that I upskill and study for a diploma in international commercial arbitration, which would afford me more opportunities to practise as a disputes lawyer overseas.” 

She’s never looked back and has since been involved in arbitrations seated all around the world, governed by different laws and a range of applicable procedural rules. “For someone passionate about international work, this is a real privilege, and I hope to continue to enjoy this variety of interesting international work as my practice continues,” she says. “Singapore is an exciting jurisdiction for ADR. When I moved to the country 12 years ago, Singapore was focusing its efforts on increasing its appeal as a seat for international arbitration. It did so by introducing first-class hearing facilities; developing caselaw and legislation supportive of international arbitration; and growing a pool of practitioners with deep expertise in the field. Those efforts have reaped rewards, and Singapore is now a leading seat for international arbitration, with many parties choosing to seat their arbitration in Singapore even if neither they, nor the dispute, has any connection with the country.” 

“In the last few years, with the advent of the Singapore Convention on Mediation in 2018, there has been an increasing focus in Singapore on the power of mediation to resolve international disputes. As someone passionate about mediation, this has been a welcome development, leading to a great deal of thought leadership and capacity-building in the region about mediation, and the possibilities it affords to disputing parties,” says Sapna. 

The skills required for someone in ADR who wants to progress in their career are manifold. Sapna says, “The one that stands out most for me is flexibility. The flexibility to shape a procedure appropriate to the dispute at hand, in consultation with the parties (which will require you to engage listening skills as you liaise with the parties). Cultural dexterity is part of that flexibility; the ability to make sure that parties across the board, wherever they are from - encompassing those from the civil and common law traditions - feel heard and that the process is fair.” 

Sapna, along with Dr Caroline Kenny KC C.Arb FCIArb, is a course director of the Asia Pacific Diploma Course in International Commercial Arbitration, jointly presented by the Australia, Singapore and East Asia Branches of Ciarb. The Diploma’s faculty consists of lecturers from all three jurisdictions. It’s an intense learning course over nine days delivered through lectures and interactive workshops, with three social events.  

“The world of ADR is a melting pot of constantly evolving procedures and international best practice, as cross-border disputes continue to grow in size, volume, and complexity. You absolutely must keep updated with all these developments to have the best tools at your disposal to tailor an effective, fair, and efficient process for disputing parties,” says Sapna. 

The in-person Diploma provides a great learning environment for those attending, with a balance of lectures and workshops, interspersed with social events. It affords candidates the opportunity to interact with and learn from each other, as well as from faculty, and other leading arbitrators and jurists in Singapore. 

“The nine-day Diploma is intense, but necessarily so, given the opportunity it provides to gain a deep understanding of international arbitration law, practice and procedure, as well as of how to navigate the many procedural issues which can arise in an international arbitration, and how to write an enforceable award as arbitrator,” explains Sapna. 

 The key takeaways from the Diploma are: 

  • learning the main pillars of international arbitration law 
  • learning how to dissect a complex cross-border problem to tease out the issues which need to be decided 
  • weighing conflicting evidence to resolve the dispute, and 
  • applying the law to the facts and writing an enforceable award. 

“This is the pre-eminent course in international arbitration, and you will not be disappointed. Moreover, for those outside Singapore, we look forward to welcoming you to the “Garden City”, and I can mention that, alongside the lectures and workshops for the course, we have some great social events planned,” adds Sapna. 

The future of International commercial arbitration looks bright. Sapna concludes, “As the number of cross-border disputes continues to grow, arbitration will continue to hold its place as the preferred method of dispute resolution worldwide. There has never been a better time to grow your skills in the field.”. 

The Asia Pacific Diploma Course in International Commercial Arbitration is being held from 11 to 19 May 2024, in Singapore. The Diploma is strictly limited to a maximum of 30 candidates. To apply for a space, please email the Ciarb Singapore Branch Secretariat at 

Sapna Jhangiani KC C.Arb FCIArb is International Legal Counsel at the Attorney-General’s Chambers of Singapore and maintains a practice as an arbitrator and mediator. She has over two decades’ experience in appearing before courts and tribunals, and sitting as a neutral, in complex commercial disputes seated all over the world. She has practised in London, New York, Dubai, and Singapore and is dual-qualified as an English barrister, and an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore. She holds an undergraduate degree from Oxford University, and a diploma in international commercial arbitration from Queen Mary University, London, in which she graduated with distinction. Sapna is consistently ranked in the leading legal directories and was recognised by Asian Legal Business as one of Asia’s top 15 female lawyers. Sapna is Chair of Ciarb’s Singapore Branch. 

The Faculty members for the Diploma are: 


  • Matthew Secomb FCIArb, Partner, White & Case 
  • Edmund Kronenburg FCIArb, Managing Partner, Braddell Brothers 
  • Alastair Henderson, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills  
  • Paul Sandosham C.Arb FCIArb, Partner, Clifford Chance 
  • Steven Lim FCIArb, Arbitrator and Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers 
  • Tan Chuan Thye SC FCIArb, Partner, Rajah & Tann 
  • Amanda Lees FCIArb, Partner, King & Wood Mallesons 
  • Jonathan Choo FCIArb, Managing Director, Vantage Chambers 

Hong Kong 

  • Dr David Fong FCIArb, Barrister, Arbitrator and Mediator 
  • Dr Helena Chen C.Arb FCIArb, Managing Partner, Chen & Chang 
  • James Kwan, Partner, Hogan Lovells 
  • Paul Barrett C.Arb FCIArb, Barrister, Arbitrator and Mediator, Pacific Chambers 
  • Julian Cohen FCIArb, Barrister and Arbitrator, Resolution Chambers 


  • Albert Monichino KC C.Arb FCIArb, Barrister, Chartered Arbitrator and Mediator 
  • Paul Hayes KC FCIArb, Barrister and Arbitrator 
  • Martin Scott KC FCIArb, Barrister, Mediator and Arbitrator 
  • Simon Davis FCIArb, Barrister and Arbitrator, Francis Burt Chambers 

Read: Meet one of the course directors of the APAC Diploma