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Results: 4 Answers
International Arbitration
4.
Objections to jurisdiction
4.1
When must a party raise an objection to the jurisdiction of the tribunal and how can this objection be raised?
 
Singapore
A party must raise an objection to the jurisdiction of the tribunal no later than the submission of the statement of defence. A plea that the tribunal is exceeding the scope of its authority shall be raised as soon as such a matter is raised during the proceedings. However, in either of the cases mentioned above, a tribunal may admit a later plea if it considers the delay justified (Article 16(2) of the Model Law). Similar provisions may be found in Sections 21(4), (5), (6), and (7) of the AA.

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
4.2
Can a tribunal rule on its own jurisdiction?
 
Singapore
Yes, the arbitral tribunal can rule on its own jurisdiction, including the existence or validity of an arbitration agreement. This doctrine of competence-competence is provided for under Article 16 of the Model Law and Section 21 of the AA.

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
4.3
Can a party apply to the courts of the seat for a ruling on the jurisdiction of the tribunal? In what circumstances?
 
Singapore
A party should typically raise its jurisdictional objection before the tribunal first, before it turns to the courts of the seat. There is a possibility that a party could simply not participate in the arbitration by stating its jurisdictional objection and, after obtaining a jurisdictional ruling from the tribunal as a preliminary question, apply to the High Court to challenge the jurisdiction.

A party may apply to the High Court challenging either positive or negative jurisdictional rulings by the tribunal. If the tribunal rules that it has jurisdiction as a preliminary question, or on a plea at any stage of the arbitral proceedings that it has no jurisdiction, any party may apply to the High Court within 30 days of receiving notice of the jurisdictional ruling to challenge the same (Section 21(9) of the AA; Section 10(3) of the IAA).

However, a tribunal’s preliminary ruling on jurisdiction can be challenged under Article 16(3) of the Model Law only if the ruling does not deal with the merits of the case (AQZ v ARA [2015] 2 SLR 972). If the ruling on jurisdiction also deals with the merits and is an award within the meaning of the IAA, recourse can then be had only to Article 34 of the Model Law and the provisions therein in relation to the setting aside of arbitral awards.

In reviewing the tribunal’s jurisdictional rulings, the Singapore courts apply a de novo standard of review (PT First Media TBK v Astro Nusantara International BV [2014] 1 SLR 372; Sanum Investments Ltd v Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic [2016] 5 SLR 536). Even if a party does not apply to a court challenging the jurisdictional ruling of the tribunal pursuant to and within the timeframe stipulated under Article 16(3) of the Model Law, this does not preclude that same party from subsequently relying on the tribunal’s lack of jurisdiction to resist enforcement of the final substantive arbitral award (PT First Media TBK v Astro Nusantara International BV [2014] 1 SLR 372).

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