Comparative Guides
Welcome to Mondaq Comparative Guides - your comparative global Q&A guide.
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Results: 4 Answers
International Arbitration
8.
The tribunal
8.1
How is the tribunal appointed?
 
Singapore
The parties are free to agree upon a procedure for appointing the tribunal (Section 13(2) of the AA); Article 11(2) of the Model Law). If the parties have chosen to conduct their arbitration under any particular arbitration rules, the procedure under the chosen rules will be followed for the appointment of the tribunal. When the agreed mechanism for appointment fails, a party may request the appointing authority to take measures to secure the necessary appointments (Section 13(5) of the AA; Article 11(4) of the Model Law).

If the parties have not agreed upon a procedure for appointing the tribunal:

  • in an arbitration with a sole arbitrator, the arbitrator shall be appointed upon the request of a party by the appointing authority; and
  • in an arbitration with three arbitrators, each party shall appoint one arbitrator and the two arbitrators shall appoint the third.

If a party fails to appoint its arbitrator within 30 days of receipt of a request to do so from the other party, or if the two arbitrators fail to agree on the third arbitrator within 30 days of their appointment, the appointment shall be made upon the request of a party by the appointing authority (Article 11(3) of the Model Law; Section 13(3) of the AA)

For these purposes, the President of the Court of Arbitration of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre has been designated as the appointing authority (Section 13(8) of the AA; Section 8(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
8.2
Are there any requirements as to the number or qualification of arbitrators in your jurisdiction?
 
Singapore
If the number of arbitrators is not determined by the parties, there shall be a single arbitrator (Section 12 of the AA; Section 9 of the IAA).

Parties are generally free to agree on any qualifications required of arbitrators. No person shall be precluded by reason of nationality from acting as an arbitrator, unless otherwise agreed by the parties (Section 13(1) of the AA; Article 11(1) of the Model Law).

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
8.3
Can an arbitrator be challenged in your jurisdiction? If so, on what basis? Are there any restrictions on the challenge of an arbitrator?
 
Singapore
An arbitrator may be challenged only if justifiable doubts exist as to his or her independence or impartiality, or if he or she does not possess the qualifications agreed to by the parties. A party may challenge an arbitrator it has appointed only for reasons of which it becomes aware after the appointment has been made (Section 14(3) of the AA; Article 12 of the Model Law).

In respect of an arbitrator’s independence or impartiality, the test to be applied is an objective one: whether there are any circumstances that would give rise to a reasonable suspicion or apprehension in a fair-minded reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts that the tribunal was biased.

The parties are free to agree on a procedure for challenging an arbitrator (Section 15(1) of the AA; Article 13 of the Model Law). If there is no such agreement, any party which intends to challenge an arbitrator may send a written statement to the tribunal specifying the reasons for the challenge within 15 days of the constitution of the tribunal or after becoming aware of the circumstances for challenge. If the challenged arbitrator does not withdraw or the other party does not agree to the challenge, the arbitral tribunal shall decide on the challenge. If the challenge is rejected, the challenging party may apply to the Singapore courts within 30 days of receiving the notice of the decision rejecting the challenge to ask the Singapore courts to decide on the challenge (Section 15(4) of the AA; Article 13(3) of the Model Law).

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
8.4
If a challenge is successful, how is the arbitrator replaced?
 
Singapore
An arbitrator is replaced in accordance with the rules applicable to the appointment of the arbitrator being replaced (Article 15 of the Model Law). Under the AA, the parties are free to agree on how the vacancy is to be filled (Section 18 of the AA). Failing any such agreement, the procedure for appointment of arbitrators under Section 13 of the AA shall apply (see question 24).

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
8.5
What duties are imposed on arbitrators? Are these all imposed by legislation?
 
Singapore
Both the AA and the IAA impose a duty on an arbitrator to disclose the existence of any circumstances that may give rise to justifiable doubts as to his or her impartiality or independence – this duty is a continuing one and persists throughout the course of the arbitration (Sections 14(1) and (2) of the AA; Article 12(1) of the Model Law).

The tribunal is obliged to act fairly and impartially, treat parties with equality and give each party a reasonable opportunity to present its case (Section 22 of the AA; Article 18 of the Model Law).

The tribunal is not permitted to delegate its task of deciding on the issues in dispute to others. The tribunal is also obliged to give reasons for its decision (Section 38(2) of the AA; Article 31(2) of the Model Law).

While there is an increasing recognition in international jurisprudence that a tribunal is under a duty to render an enforceable award, this is not expressly provided for in the AA or the IAA; nor have the Singapore courts had the opportunity to address this.

An arbitrator is not liable for:

  • negligence in respect of anything done or omitted to be done in the capacity of an arbitrator; or
  • any mistake of law, fact or procedure made in the course of arbitral proceedings or in the making of an arbitral award (Section 20 of the AA; Section 25 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
8.6
What powers does an arbitrator have in relation to: (a) procedure, including evidence; (b) interim relief; (c) parties which do not comply with its orders; (d) issuing partial final awards; (e) the remedies it can grant in a final award and (f) interest?
 
Singapore
(a) Procedure, including evidence?

The parties are free to agree upon the procedure to be followed in the conduct of arbitral proceedings (Section 23 of the AA; Article 19 of the Model Law). If there is no such agreement, the arbitral tribunal may conduct the arbitration in a manner it considers appropriate. This power includes the power to determine the admissibility, relevance, materiality and weight of any evidence (Section 23 of the AA; Article 19 of the Model Law).

An arbitral tribunal has powers to give orders and issue directions for security for costs, discovery of documents and interrogatories, giving of evidence by affidavit and power to administer oaths (Section 28 of the AA; Section 12 of the IAA). Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the tribunal also has power to appoint experts (Section 27 of the AA; Article 26 of the Model Law). Specifically, in respect of international arbitrations, the tribunal may request court assistance in taking evidence (Article 27 of the Model Law).

(b) Interim relief?

Article 17 of the Model Law and Section 12 of the IAA provide that an arbitral tribunal has power to grant various types of interim reliefs, including interim injunctions, security for costs, and orders for the preservation and interim custody of any property or evidence. On the other hand, whilst Section 28 of the AA likewise provides an arbitral tribunal the power to grant interim reliefs, there are certain powers that are available to arbitral tribunals under Section 12 of the IAA that are not available to arbitral tribunals under Section 28 of the AA. These include, the power to secure the amount in dispute, to grant freezing injunctions, and to grant interim injunctions – these are reserved for the Court under Section 31 of the AA.

(c) Parties which do not comply with its orders?

In general, a tribunal may make adverse costs orders against parties that do not comply with its orders. An aggrieved party may also apply to the Singapore courts for leave to enforce the arbitral tribunal’s orders as if they were orders made by the court; if leave is given, judgment may be entered into terms of the order (Section 28(4) of the AA; Section 12(6) of the IAA).

Specifically, under Section 29(1) of the AA, the parties may agree on the powers which may be exercised by the arbitral tribunal in the case of a party’s failure to take any necessary action for the proper and expeditious conduct of the proceedings (which would include non-compliance with the tribunal’s orders). Further, the tribunal may make an award dismissing the claim if it is satisfied that:

  • there has been inordinate and inexcusable delay on the part of the claimant in pursuing its claims; and
  • the delay has given rise or is likely to give rise to a substantial risk that a fair resolution of the issues in that claim is not possible, or has caused or is likely to cause serious prejudice to the respondent (Section 29(3) of the AA).

Under both Section 29(2) of the AA and Article 25 of the Model Law, if, without showing sufficient cause:

  • the claimant fails to communicate its statement of claim, the arbitral tribunal may terminate the proceedings;
  • the respondent fails to communicate its statement of defence, the tribunal may continue the proceedings without treating such failure as an admission of the claimant’s allegations; and
  • any party fails to appear at a hearing or to produce documentary evidence, the tribunal may continue the proceedings and make the award on the evidence before it.

(d) Issuing partial final awards?

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, a tribunal may make more than one award at different points in time on different aspects of the matter, and may make an award relating to an issue affecting the whole claim or a part of the claim or counter-claim (Section 33 of the AA; Section 19A of the IAA). Award means a decision of the arbitral tribunal on the substance of the dispute and the definition of an ‘award’ includes interim, interlocutory or partial awards, but excludes any orders or directions made under Section 12 of the IAA or Section 28 of the AA, as the case may be (Section 2 of the AA; Section 2 of the IAA). In respect of such orders or directions, see question 29(c).

(e) The remedies it can grant in a final award?

An arbitral tribunal may grant any remedy or relief that the High Court in Singapore could have ordered if the dispute had been the subject of civil proceedings in that court (Section 34 of the AA; Section 12(5) of the IAA).

(f) Interest?

The tribunal may award interest on a simple or compound basis, from such date and at such rate as the tribunal considers appropriate, on the whole or any part of any sum awarded by the tribunal or any sum which is in issue in the proceedings, or costs awarded in the proceedings. Unless the award otherwise directs, the sum awarded shall carry interest from the date of the award and at the same rate as a judgment debt (being simple interest at a rate of 5.33% per annum) (Section 35 of the AA; Section 20 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
8.7
How may a tribunal seated in your jurisdiction proceed if a party does not participate in the arbitration?
 
Singapore
See question 29(c).

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
8.8
Are arbitrators immune from liability?
 
Singapore
An arbitrator shall not be liable for negligence in respect of any acts or omissions in the capacity of an arbitrator, and any mistake in law, fact or procedure made in the course of arbitral proceedings or in the making of an arbitral award (Section 20 of the AA; Section 25 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