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…

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…

Since 2011, Myanmar has seen a renewed effort at reforming its political, social and economic landscape. As part of the reforms, on 15 July 2013, Myanmar formally acceded to the New York Convention 1958. Myanmar had however not enacted local legislation or revised its archaic Arbitration Act of 1944 to give effect to its international…

The legal consequences of a breach of a contract tainted by corruption are better understood through a hypothetical: Contractor A of country X enters into negotiations with B, the Minister of Economics and Development of country Y, with a view to concluding an agreement on a large infrastructure project (“the Contract”). B requests the payment…

“ISDS” (short for “investor-state dispute settlement”) was a less-known acronym some years back. Now, it has been given an increasingly bad name, no doubt fuelled by Vattenfall’s claim against Germany following the shutting down of its nuclear plants after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, tobacco giant Philip Morris’ high profile claims arising from Australia’s plain-labelling laws,…

Longlide, Shenhua Coal and the issue ahead In a case regarded by many as a “milestone” for arbitration in China, Longlide Packing and Printing Co. Ltd. v. BP Agnati S.r.l (hereinafter “Longlide”) (Reply of the Supreme People’s Court to the Request for Instructions on Application for Confirming the Validity of an Arbitration Agreement in the…

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ordered a fund management committee (‘SBC’) to arbitrate its dispute with Navistar International (‘Navistar’) – at Navistar’s request – despite the fact that Navistar refused SBC’s own request for arbitration, ignored SBC’s formal notice of arbitration, and then litigated SBC’s claim in court for over a year (Art…

Most institutional rules share a common procedural framework for arbitral proceedings—the origins of which are traceable to the first set of ICC Rules in 1922. This skeletal framework broadly describes the lifecycle of the arbitration, and provides for the order of pleadings, constitution of a tribunal, conduct of proceedings, and making of the award, in…

SIAC ended speculation as to who would succeed Dr Michael Pryles as the next President of the SIAC Court of Arbitration by announcing, at the SIAC Annual Appreciation Event on Monday 2 March 2015, the appointment of Mr Gary Born of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, with effect from 1 April 2015. At…

and Luis Miguel Velarde Saffer Last December, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on BG Group v Argentina – an appeal from a controversial and much-criticized decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The case arose out of emergency actions taken by the Republic of Argentina in late 2001 in the wake of…

In International Research Corp PLC v Lufthansa Systems Asia Pacific Pte Ltd [2012] SGHC 226 (per Chan Seng Onn J) (“International Research”), the Singapore High Court addressed the issue of whether an arbitration clause contained in one contract between two parties binds a third party who subsequently enters into a supplemental agreement with the original…

In Astro Nusantara International BV v PT Ayunda Prima Mitra [2012] SGHC 212, the Singapore High Court set out the available recourse against an international arbitration award made in Singapore. This case has significant implications for Singapore as a seat of arbitration, and this note contrasts the position between Singapore and Hong Kong against the…

In Shanghai Construction (Group) General Co. Singapore Branch v Tan Poo Seng [2012] SGHCR 10, the Singapore High Court granted a temporary stay of proceedings in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction. The stay was granted on the ground that there was an arbitration which was intended to take place and the outcome of that arbitration…

Confidentiality is often a distinguishing reason why users choose arbitration over court litigation. In a 2010 International Arbitration Survey on Choices in International Arbitration, 62% of respondents said confidentiality was very important to them. Last month, a contributor to this blog observed anecdotally that in-house counsel want confidentiality especially in industries in which a dispute…

A party who wishes to circumvent an arbitration agreement may sometimes proceed to obtain default judgment from a friendly court and then seek to enforce that judgment, under the common law, as a debt in the courts of the country where the counterparty is located. A recent Singapore decision, Giant Light Metal Technology (Kunshan) Co…

In a recent award that arguably represents a high-water mark for the operation of an umbrella clause in ICSID jurisprudence thus far, a tribunal comprising Stanimir A. Alexandrov (as President), Donald Francis Donovan and Pablo Garcia Mexia held Paraguay liable to SGS Société Générale de Surveillance S.A. (“SGS”) for failing to pay for services rendered….

Following a previous round of amendments in 2009 that came into effect on 1 January 2010, the Singapore Ministry of Law published further proposed amendments to Singapore’s International Arbitration Act (“the IAA”) on 8 March 2012. The proposals took into account views garnered from a public consultation process. There are four key proposals in this…