Appointment of International Judge (Mar 2024)

Prime Minister's Office | 26 March 2024

Appointment of International Judge to the Singapore International Commercial Court.


The President of the Republic of Singapore, in accordance with Article 95(4)(c) of the Constitution, has appointed Justice David Wolfe Rivkin (戴维乌尔夫瑞弗金) from the United States as International Judge (IJ) to the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) from 1 April 2024 to 4 January 2027.

Justice Rivkin graduated from Yale University in 1977 with a B.A. magna cum laude in history and received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1980. He was a law clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 1980 to 1981 before joining Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. He has more than 40 years of experience practising private and public international law at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, first as an Associate from 1982 to 1988 and then as a Partner from 1988 to 2022. He served as the firm’s co-chair of its International Dispute Resolution Group for more than 20 years and was a founder of its Business Integrity/Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Group. Justice Rivkin is an independent arbitrator with Arbitration Chambers.

At the firm, Justice Rivkin’s practice focused on international arbitration of public law disputes such as those under bilateral investment treaties, international commercial arbitrations and transnational litigation in the United States and foreign courts. Justice Rivkin retired from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP at the end of 2022, when he joined Arbitration Chambers. He now serves full time as an arbitrator and mediator, focusing on complex international arbitrations and investor-state disputes.

Justice Rivkin’s areas of legal expertise are in international arbitration, international litigation, public international law, joint venture and shareholder disputes, business and human rights and other ESG issues, energy disputes, pharmaceutical industry disputes, construction disputes and sports law. He has long been recognised as a global leader in international arbitration, and he has been ranked in Band 1 of Chambers Global and Chambers USA since their inception. Chamber Global 2022 identified him as one of the top 10 arbitration practitioners worldwide. Chamber publications have described him as “the best arbitration practitioner anywhere” and “a true giant in the field whose depth of knowledge is incredible”. Justice Rivkin has also routinely received top recognition in Legal 500 as a “brilliant lawyer and tactician” as well as in other publications such as Who’s Who Legal and Euromoney.

Justice Rivkin has held prominent positions in arbitration institutions, government committees and other non-governmental organisations across the world. He was the President of the International Bar Association (IBA) from 2015 to 2016. He was the first American to serve in that position in 25 years. During his term, he led efforts relating to judicial integrity (on which he worked with Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon), climate change justice, business and human rights, human trafficking, human rights and the rule of law, and the independence of the legal profession, among others. Justice Rivkin has been a member of the Council of the American Law Institute (which drafts Restatements of American law) since 2009.

Justice Rivkin holds leadership positions in many arbitration institutions, including currently the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (which he currently co-chairs), the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration and the Mauritius Arbitration and Mediation Centre. Justice Rivkin was appointed to the International Council for Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) in 2020, after having served as an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport for more than 20 years, including at three Olympic Games. He is currently the Deputy President of ICAS’s Anti-Doping Division.

Justice Rivkin had also served, amongst others, as a Council member of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and on the London Court of International Arbitration (including as Vice President and Chair of its North American Users’ Council), the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (as Vice Chair), the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association, the Commission of the ICC Court of Arbitration and the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration. He has frequently been involved in the drafting and revising of arbitration rules in these arbitration institutions. He is on the panels of many international arbitration institutions, including the SIAC, the Chinese International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) and the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB).

With this appointment, the Supreme Court will have a total of 34 Judges (including the Chief Justice, three Justices of the Court of Appeal, four Judges of the Appellate Division, 18 Judges of the High Court, three Judicial Commissioners, five Senior Judges) and 21 IJs.

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Justice David Wolfe Rivkin

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26 MARCH 2024