It is now well-established that a failure to file a payment response prevents a respondent from raising any objections, including jurisdictional ones, during both the adjudication and setting aside applications, save for arguments on patent errors.

Indeed, this has recently been reiterated in Sito Construction Pte Ltd (trading as Afone International) v PBT Engineering Pte Ltd [2019] SGHC 7, where the SGHC cited two earlier Singapore Court of Appeal ("SGCA") cases which held that:

  1. A respondent will be taken to have waived its right to raise jurisdictional objections if it failed to raise the objections at the earliest possible opportunity (i.e. in the payment response) (Audi Construction Pte Ltd v Kian Hiap Construction Pte Ltd [2018] 1 SLR 317); and
  2. A respondent, who is looking to apply to set aside an adjudication determination, is nonetheless entitled to highlight patent errors in the adjudication determination to the reviewing court, in the absence of a payment or adjudication response (Comfort Management Pte Ltd v OGSP Engineering Pte Ltd [2018] 1 SLR 979).

This principle that any objection, including jurisdictional objections, should be raised at the earliest opportunity in the payment response or adjudication response is now clearly spelt out in the BCI Security of Payment (Amendment) Act passed on 31 October 2018 unless

  • the circumstances of that objection only arose after the lodgement of the payment response or adjudication response, as the case may be, or
  • the respondent could not reasonably have known of those circumstances when lodging the payment response or adjudication response, or
  • the objection relates to a patent error.

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