Comparative Guides
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Results: 4 Answers
International Arbitration
1.
Legal framework
1.1
What is the relevant legislation on arbitration in your jurisdiction? Are there any significant limitations on the scope of the statutory regime – for example, does it govern oral arbitration agreements?
 
Singapore
Domestic arbitration in Singapore is governed by the Arbitration Act (Cap 10) (AA) and international arbitration is governed by the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A) (IAA).

An arbitration agreement must be in writing (Section 4(3) of the AA; Section 2A (3) of the IAA), and may be in the form of an arbitration clause in a contract or as a separate agreement (Section 4(2) of the AA; Section 2A(2) of the IAA). The writing requirement is satisfied if the content of an arbitration agreement is recorded in any form, including through electronic communication, irrespective of whether the arbitration agreement or contract has been concluded orally, by conduct or by other means (Sections 4(4) and 4(5) of the AA; Sections 2A(4) and 2A(5) of the IAA). The arbitration agreement must express a clear and unequivocal intention to arbitrate.

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo and Koh Swee Yen from WongPartnership LLP

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo from WongPartnership LLP
1.2
Does this legislation differentiate between domestic arbitration and international arbitration? If so, how is each defined?
 
Singapore
See question 1.

The AA applies to any arbitration where the place of arbitration is Singapore and where Part II of the IAA does not apply to that arbitration (Section 3 of the AA).

Part II of the IAA applies if the arbitration is ‘international’ or if the parties have agreed in writing that Part II of the IAA or the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration applies (Section 5(1) of the IAA).

An arbitration is ‘international’ if:

  • at least one of the parties to the arbitration agreement, at the time of conclusion of the agreement, has its place of business in any state other than Singapore;
  • one of the following places is situated outside the state in which the parties have their places of business:
    • the place of arbitration; or
    • the place where a substantial part of the obligations of the commercial relationship are to be performed or the place with which the subject matter of the dispute is most closely connected; or
  • the parties have expressly agreed that the subject matter of the arbitration agreement relates to more than one country (Section 5(2) of the IAA).

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo and Koh Swee Yen from WongPartnership LLP

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo from WongPartnership LLP
1.3
Is the arbitration legislation in your jurisdiction based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration?
 
Singapore
The AA, which governs domestic arbitration, is based on the 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (Model Law) (without the 2006 amendments). The Court of Appeal has observed, in the context of the AA, that there was a clear legislative intent to align the AA with the Model Law (LW Infrastructure Pte Ltd v Lim Chin San Contractors Pte Ltd [2013] 1 SLR 125).

As to the IAA, which governs international arbitrations, the Model Law – save for Chapter VIII – has the force of law in Singapore (Section 3 of the IAA).

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo and Koh Swee Yen from WongPartnership LLP

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo from WongPartnership LLP
1.4
Are all provisions of the legislation in your jurisdiction mandatory?
 
Singapore
The AA and the IAA do not expressly identify any of their provisions as being mandatory. However, according to Section 15 of the IAA, any rules of arbitration that the parties have agreed to adopt shall be given full effect, to the extent that this is not inconsistent with a provision of the Model Law or Part II of the IAA, from which the parties cannot derogate. For example, the Singapore courts have pronounced that Article 12 of the Model Law relating to the independence or impartiality of arbitrators is mandatory (PT Central Investindo v Franciscus Wongso [2014] 4 SLR 978).

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo and Koh Swee Yen from WongPartnership LLP

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo from WongPartnership LLP
1.5
Are there any current plans to amend the arbitration legislation in your jurisdiction?
 
Singapore
The Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Act 2018 came into operation on 1 November 2018 and provides for the Singapore International Commercial Court to have the same jurisdiction as the High Court to hear matters relating to the IAA such as cases where the High Court exercises its supervisory jurisdiction over international arbitrations seated in Singapore.

In January 2018, the Ministry of Law circulated a consultation paper seeking views on whether the Singapore courts should award costs to the successful party on an indemnity basis in unsuccessful proceedings to set aside an arbitration award or to resist enforcement, save where the unsuccessful party can provide compelling reasons. In May 2018, the Ministry of Law sought feedback through a public consultation on whether the existing third party funding framework should be extended to new areas (See question 37 for the current third party funding framework).

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo and Koh Swee Yen from WongPartnership LLP

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo from WongPartnership LLP
1.6
Is your jurisdiction a signatory to the New York Convention? If so, have any reservations been made?
 
Singapore
Yes, Singapore is a signatory to the New York Convention. Singapore acceded to the New York Convention on 21 August 1986, with the reservation that on the basis of reciprocity, it will apply the Convention only to the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards made in the territory of another Contracting State to the Convention.

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo and Koh Swee Yen from WongPartnership LLP

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo from WongPartnership LLP
1.7
Is your jurisdiction a signatory to any other treaties relevant to arbitration?
 
Singapore
Singapore ratified the International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention) on 14 October 1968. The Arbitration (International Investment Disputes) Act 1968 was enacted to implement the ICSID Convention.

Singapore is also party to a number of bilateral and multilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements which include arbitration as a mode of dispute settlement – for example, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Comprehensive Investment Agreement, which entered into force in March 2012.

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo and Koh Swee Yen from WongPartnership LLP

For more information about this answer please contact: Alvin Yeo from WongPartnership LLP