2017 was a busy year for international arbitration. Taking a walk down memory lane, we saw new players and new industries entering the game, institutions adopting new rules, and we have some new challenges to tackle. This note summarizes some highlights and low lights in international arbitration during 2017 from across the globe. Happy Holidays…

On 1 September 2017, the ICCA QMUL Task Force on Third-Party Funding published its Draft Report for Public Discussion on Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration. The Task Force has developed principles with the aim of providing guidance to parties, counsel, arbitrators and national courts when facing third-party funding related issues arising in different contexts. Furthermore,…

Introduction Section 10 of the Singapore International Arbitration Act (“IAA”), allows a party to challenge an arbitral tribunal’s determination of its jurisdiction. Section 10(7) further provides that, where the Court rules under section 10 that the tribunal has no jurisdiction, it may make an order as to the costs of the arbitral proceedings. I was…

In a 172-page judgment, the Singapore High Court in Kingdom of Lesotho v Swissbourgh Diamond Mines (Pty) Limited [2017] SGHC 195 (Lesotho), set aside an investor-state arbitration award rendered against Lesotho after an extensive review of international investment jurisprudence. This is the second investor-state matter that has confronted the Singapore courts following Sanum Investments Ltd…

Introduction The dispute over the enforcement of an arbitration award (“Award”) between the Astro and Lippo groups of companies has been fought out in numerous jurisdictions, notably Singapore and Hong Kong. When Astro sought to enforce the Award it had obtained against Lippo in Singapore, Lippo resisted on the ground that the tribunal (“Tribunal”) lacked…

In early March 2017, the Singapore High Court released a judgment in which it considered an important question of enforcement of investor-state awards. In Josias Van Zyl v Kingdom of Lesotho [2017] SGHCR 2, AR Pereira was asked to decide whether an order to enforce a final award in a treaty dispute administered by the…

In K.V.C. Rice Intertrade Co Ltd v Asian Mineral Resources Pte Ltd [2017] SGHC 32, the Singapore High Court enforced so-called “bare” arbitration clauses, i.e., clauses that specify neither the place of arbitration nor the means of appointing arbitrators. In Singapore, the President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration is designated as the statutory appointing…

In TMT Co Ltd v The Royal Bank of Scotland plc [2017] SGHC 21, the Singapore High Court took the view that an arbitration clause did not meet the prima facie standard to warrant a stay of court proceedings because it designated an inapplicable arbitral institution. Commentators have suggested that the decision is “surprising” and…

On 30 December 2016, The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) finally released the first edition of its Investment Arbitration Rules (IA Rules). The IA Rules were first published as draft rules on 1 February 2016, and were discussed in a previous article. The IA Rules, which came into effect on 1 January 2017, now reflect…

Readers of this blog will need no reminding that, in the Queen Mary-White & Case 2015 International Arbitration Survey, the seats of Hong Kong and Singapore were amongst the top five most preferred and widely used seats by respondents to that survey. Both jurisdictions are known for adopting competitive and innovative arbitration laws to promote…

In Rals International Pte Ltd v Cassa di Risparmio di Parma e Piacenza SpA [2016] SGCA 53 (Rals International), the Singapore Court of Appeal was asked to consider the application of an arbitration agreement in a supply agreement to a dispute arising out of promissory notes provided as payment under the supply agreement. The Court…

Part I of this two-part blog post summarized the recent judgment of the Singapore Court of Appeal (“SGCA” or the “Court”) in Sanum Investments Ltd. v Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (“Sanum v Laos”). This Part II provides some comments on that judgment and its significance, including its impact on future Singapore court…

On 29 September 2016, the Singapore Court of Appeal (“SGCA” or the “Court”) released its much-anticipated judgment in Sanum Investments Ltd. v Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (“Sanum v Laos”). In a carefully reasoned decision, Singapore’s apex court reversed a decision of the Singapore High Court, which had previously held that an UNCITRAL…

As Professor Luke Nottage and Dr. Jarrod Hepburn have observed in a forthcoming case note,1)Hepburn, J., Nottage, L. (2016), Case Note: Philip Morris Asia v Australia (Forthcoming), Journal of World Investment and Trade the most recent ruling in the long-running case of Philip Morris Asia v Australia has highlighted the consequences of agreeing to arbitrate…

There has been a lot of attention paid to the various innovations in the new SIAC Rules 2016 such as the possibility of an early dismissal of claims under the new Rule 29. One of the changes to the Rules which has generally been overlooked is that they now require consent of the parties and…

In recent years, international arbitration has emerged as a high-growth area for the litigation funding industry. All the major funders now have international arbitration cases in their portfolios, and many are aggressively seeking more – especially investment treaty cases. But the participation of funders in international arbitration raises a number of issues, some national and…

Following the long-awaited release – on 1 July 2016 – of SIAC’s new arbitration rules (“SIAC Rules 2016”), practitioners in and outside of Asia have enthusiastically supplied a flurry of commentary and client briefings on this historic moment in the SIAC arbitration. Descriptive or analytical, the commentaries are unanimous in positing that changes in Singapore’s…

In a series of cases since 2008, the Singapore Court of Appeal (Singapore’s highest court) has been articulating the contours of a contextual approach to contractual interpretation. Under this contextual approach, the Singapore courts “must ascertain, based on all the relevant objective evidence, the intention of the parties at the time they entered into the…

On 4 April 2016, the Singapore Court of Appeal heard an appeal from Sanum Investments Limited (“Sanum“) (a Macanese company) against the High Court’s decision holding that an arbitral tribunal hearing Sanum’s claim against Laos for expropriation under the China-Laos bilateral investment treaty (the “BIT“) had no jurisdiction. The issue of the tribunal’s jurisdiction turns…

Introduction Expert conferencing is undoubtedly gaining popularity in international arbitration. Many leading arbitrators are supporters and proponents of expert conferencing. Its attraction is growing in Singapore, as borne out by the results of a 2013 survey by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. Expert conferencing can prove a baffling process for the lawyer trained to deal…

Singapore’s highest court, the Court of Appeal (the “SGCA”), has held in Tomolugen Holdings Ltd and another v Silica Investors Ltd and other appeals [2015] 1 SLR 373, that: • The prima facie standard applies for obtaining a stay of court proceedings in favour of arbitration under the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A, 2002 Rev…

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) published a draft of new investment arbitration rules (the “draft SIAC IA Rules”) for public comment on 1 Feb 2016. They will be finalized on 27 May 2016. The draft SIAC IA Rules are a unique hybrid of modern commercial arbitration rules and specialist investment arbitration rules (e.g. the…

By a recent judgment in Malini Ventura v Knight Capital Pte Ltd and others [2015] SGHC 225 (“Malini“), the Singapore High Court affirmed its commitment to the primacy of arbitration even in situations where the existence of the arbitration agreement is in question. In Malini, Prakash J decided that prima facie existence of an arbitration…

for YSIAC In an age of ever-increasing complexity, where your watch can open your garage and answer your phone (yes, the Apple watch can really do that), many of us in the international arbitration community have lost sight of the most powerful weapon in the advocate’s toolbox: simplicity. A previous post on this blog eloquently…