Part I For some time practitioners would have seen news alerts headlining that third-party funding is now permitted in Singapore and Hong Kong for arbitration and arbitration-related court proceedings.  Digging a little deeper beyond the shiny new labels, this article highlights three practical “pitfalls’ which practitioners would have to be mindful of when dealing with…

Introduction On 10 October 2018, the Singapore Court of Appeal (“Court of Appeal”) issued its decision on the case of Marty Ltd v Hualon Corporation (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd [2018] SGCA 63 (“Marty v Hualon“) which concerned a dispute over the repudiation of an arbitration agreement. While the case contained a number of interesting issues, this…

Independence and impartiality of arbitrators are the hallmarks of arbitration. The amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 (“Act”) in 2015, which adopted the international best practices from the International Bar Association Guidelines on Conflict of Interest (“IBA Guidelines”), aimed to bolster not only the neutrality of arbitrators, but also the perception of neutrality….

Joint venture agreements increasingly provide for arbitration, allowing the JV partners to resolve matters privately.  Where a director of a JV company (or JV partners) is sued in his capacity as a director in relation to matters arising out of the joint venture agreement, can he also rely on the arbitration agreement in the joint…

A mandatory legal provision is one that a party has no choice but to obey, whereas a directory provision is one which the party is encouraged to obey. In other words, a mandatory provision must be observed, disobedience of which would lead to a nullification of the legal act, whereas a directory provision is optional….

It is not uncommon for practitioners acting for claimants in an arbitration to encounter a respondent who chooses to boycott the arbitral process.  In cases involving such ‘non-participating’ respondents, what are the rights and obligations of each party? Specifically, insofar as Model law jurisdictions are concerned, if a Tribunal decides on jurisdiction as a preliminary…

Introduction In many commercial transactions, there will be multiple agreements among various parties, and those agreements often contain “entire agreement” clauses to ensure that the parties are bound only by the terms of the agreement(s) they sign. However, such a clause may be invoked and interpreted in a way surprising to the parties, especially in…

Article 16(3) of the Model Law provides in relevant part that, “if the arbitral tribunal rules as a preliminary question that it has jurisdiction, any party may request … the court … to decide the matter”. One question that arises is, to the extent issues of evidence arise, what rules of evidence should the court…

The tech revolution has been underway for some time now but has only recently come to the forefront of the general public’s consciousness from the explosion in attention to bitcoin. The progress of technology has allowed it to creep into the domain of alternative dispute resolution. There is now online mediation, online arbitration, and even…

The potential ramifications on a party’s right to challenge an award made in a consolidated proceeding should inform a party’s decision to adopt institutional rules or national arbitration laws that allow for consolidation. Ensuring as a preliminary matter that the mechanism for consolidation and any waiver provisions in the institutional rules or national arbitration laws…

There have been a number of occasions in Indonesia when domestic court proceedings and foreign arbitration proceedings of the same matter were carried out concurrently. In some of those occasions, the arbitral tribunal, upon the claimant’s request, issued an anti-suit injunction in respect of the Indonesian court proceedings brought by the respondent. In Astro Nusantara…

There have been a number of recent developments in Chinese judicial practice. These include the first known enforcement of foreign court judgments in China on the basis of reciprocity,1)References to the enforcement of foreign court judgments are generally intended to include recognition and enforcement of those judgments. as well as China’s signing of the Hague…

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…

India has long been regarded as an unappealing centre for arbitration – be it as the seat of arbitration or as the place of final enforcement of the arbitral award. Indian judiciary is often quoted to be over interfering in matters of arbitration and enforcement. If fact could replace fiction, in the last decade, Shylock…

In April 2010, Professor Jan Paulsson delivered his inaugural lecture as holder of the Michael R. Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair at the University of Miami School of Law where he expressed the view that the practice of unilateral appointments (or nominations) of arbitrators is a moral hazard which should be removed. This lecture sparked debate…

The ability of a party to obtain urgent interim relief is central to the efficacy of any method of dispute resolution. In case of disputes that are subject to an arbitration agreement, until recently parties had only two options: either approach national courts for interim relief in support of the arbitration, or wait for 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…

Arbitration is a creature of contract, and hence one may say that any claim or dispute submitted to arbitration must relate to a contract where the relevant arbitration clause is laid down. In contrast, tort claims do not normally arise from a prior contractual relationship. Broad arbitration clauses classically say that “any and all disputes…

Introduction On 12 July 2016, a five-member arbitral tribunal (the Tribunal) constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) issued its long-awaited award on the merits in an arbitration brought by the Philippines against China. The tribunal’s jurisdiction is derived from UNCLOS; all State parties to UNCLOS…

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…

A foundational principle of international commercial arbitration is that of party autonomy. Article 19(1) of the UNCITRAL Model Law reflects this and states: “Subject to the provisions of this Law, the parties are free to agree on the procedure to be followed by the arbitral tribunal in conducting the proceedings.” Notwithstanding the parties’ broad freedom…

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…