Maritime Law

Guide To Maritime Arbitration In Singapore

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Disclaimer: This publication is only intended to be an outline of the legal framework on the area of dispute resolution of, inter alia, maritime disputes for purposes of reference and understanding. This publication can not and should not be relied upon as legal advice in any particular case. Peter Doraisamy LLC shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising out of reliance on this publication as written legal advice. If any advice or assistance is needed, our team of experienced solicitors would be happy to assist.

Guide To Maritime Arbitration In Singapore

Singapore – A Global Port City

“Singapore – A Dynamic Cosmopolitan City State with Excellent Infrastructure and Communications” – Singapore International Arbitration Centre, www.siac.org.sg

Founded as a British trading post in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles, Singapore is located in the midst of the Asian sea routes. Its enviable location has allowed Singapore to become one of the world’s busiest trading ports. Its port is one of the busiest in terms of its total shipping tonnage. Singapore’s port also transships a fifth of the world’s total shipping containers, half of the world’s annual supply of crude oil, and remains the world’s busiest transshipment port. A nation with a strong rule of law coupled with pro-business policies, Singapore has continually enjoyed economic growth since its independence in 1965.

Singapore is one of the choice maritime gateways to key Asian markets.Singapore’s maritime conglomerate boasts more than 100 international shipping groups, leaders in shipbroking, ship finance, risk management,marine insurance, and ship supplies. International organizations such as the Baltic Exchange and the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) have established offices in Singapore. Such a superstructure has made Singapore a dominant global player in international trade and shipping, thus serving as an ideal hub for maritime law and arbitration

Singapore’s Legal System

A former British Colony, Singapore naturally adopted the English Legal System. Over the years, Singapore has evolved and created its own legal system. The current legal system is based on the local needs and demands. Singapore’s law is derived from the written constitution, legislation, subsidiary legislation and the common law. Singapore’s judicial system consists of three principal courts; The High Courts and the Court of Appeal (the apex court of the land) make up the Supreme Court. The State Courts comprise of the District Court, Magistrate Court and other specialized courts and tribunals.

In recent years, Singapore’s government has encouraged the use of arbitration and mediation as alternative avenues of private dispute resolution. The promulgation of the International Arbitration Act Chapter 143A in 1994 was the first step in bringing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to the center-stage in Singapore, enhancing Singapore’s status as a legal hub. Following the adoption of the aforesaid legislation, courts have lent their support to the use of arbitration in Singapore by parties – both local and foreign. This pro-arbitration stance taken by the government and the courts has promoted the growth of commercial arbitration in Singapore. It is not only easy for parties to arbitrate in Singapore but also relatively convenient for parties to enforce foreign-obtained arbitration awards in Singapore.

Why Arbitrate?

Arbitration is defined as a judicial process concerned with the adjudication of rights of parties in a dispute.¹ It is the resolution of a commercial dispute between two parties who have agreed to refer their dispute to an independent, impartial individual or a tribunal of usually 3 arbitrators, privately appointed by the parties.² The findings by this individual or tribunal in respect of the dispute shall, by mutual agreement, be binding upon the parties.³ Arbitration is fast growing to be the choice mode of dispute resolution by parties all over the world. There are many inherent benefits and advantages in arbitration (as opposed to litigation in the courts) that would appeal to commercial parties.⁴

The benefits and advantages of arbitration include :

  • Lower costs

    Parties generally save costs during discovery process as discovery obligations in arbitration may be narrower and more streamlined than the process in litigation.⁵ Document disclosure is also encouraged from the start of arbitration – case statements are accompanied by supporting documents.

  • Speedy resolution of disputes

    Proceedings are not bound by the timelines set out in the civil procedure rules. Parties and the arbitral tribunal have the discretion to set their own procedures in order to speed up the arbitral process.

  • Greater degree of privacy and confidentiality

    Proceedings generally take place in a neutral venue and the final award is usually not available to third parties. This protects any commercial interests that may otherwise be damaged by the public glare and speculation of court litigation.

  • Opportunity to have disputes adjudicated by knowledgeable experts

    Arbitrators are often subject-matter experts, which allows them to adjudicate the dispute efficiently and effectively by placing the dispute within its commercial setting and focusing on the issues that have critical commercial and legal implications. This ensures that that the award is not only legally sound but also commercially fair.

  • Greater control over proceedings

    Parties generally have greater control over proceedings and the tribunal is generally regarded as the “master of the proceedings”. It is not bound by civil procedure rules and tight timelines.

  • Freedom of choice of counsel

    Parties do not need to comply with any nationality or qualification requirement in order for someone to act as counsel or representative in the arbitration proceedings. Companies may find this particularly attractive as they would not have to spend money engaging solicitors to act as counsel.

  • Finality of awards

    International arbitration awards are generally final and binding on parties and the scope of judicial review of these awards is limited to circumstances set out in the UNCITRAL Model Law or the relevant statutory provisions.

  • Easy enforceability of awards

    As of January 2019, there are 159 contracting states to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.⁶ This means that parties can obtain an award in one of the 159 jurisdictions and enforce the same in another.

Why Arbitrate in Singapore?

Singapore is rapidly becoming the global center for arbitration, owing to its reputation for integrity, neutrality, arbitration friendly legislative framework and strong rule of law.⁷ Singapore’s efforts in establishing itself as an arbitration hub is fast bearing fruit: the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”), one of Singapore’s arbitration organizations, has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 1991. In March 2017, The Straits Times published an article on SIAC’s bourgeoning growth as arbitral institution. The article highlighted Singapore’s achievement of establishing itself as a favoured seat for international arbitration in Asia itself: “SIAC’s report card showed that Singapore has cemented its position as a preferred seat for international arbitration.”⁸

Singapore’s competitive advantage as an arbitration hub stems from a variety of institutional factors:⁹

  • An independent neutral third-country venue, consistently ranked in the top 10 of the Corruption Perceptions Index for the least corrupt country. In 2018, it was ranked third, alongside Finland, Switzerland and Sweden.¹⁰
  • An open economy and business environment that is host to over 7,000 multinational firms.
  • The UNCITRAL Model Law is the cornerstone of Singapore’s legislation on international commercial arbitration which is regularly updated to incorporate internationally accepted codes and rules for arbitration.
  • A party to the 1958 New York Convention (on enforcement of arbitration awards), Singapore arbitration awards are enforceable in over 140 countries worldwide.
  • A strong tradition of the rule of law, supported by a highly skilled judiciary that receives top rankings in international surveys.
  • The Courts offer maximum judicial support of arbitration and minimum intervention granting parties full and consistent support in the conduct of international arbitration.
  • Parties have a freedom of choice of counsel in arbitration proceedings regardless of nationality.
  • There is no restriction on foreign law firms engaging in and advising on arbitration in Singapore.
  • Non-residents do not require work permits to carry out arbitration services in Singapore.
  • Income accruing from a non- resident arbitrator’s work done for an arbitration is tax-exempt.¹¹

Arbitration Institutions in Singapore

Arbitration in Singapore is substantially supported by several institutions. This Guide focuses on two main such institutions, the SIAC and the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (“SCMA”). Both institutions comprise of their own panels of arbitrators and rules.

Maritime Arbitration in Singapore

Given Singapore’s position as an international port, it is no surprise that a specialized framework was created to cater to the growing demand amongst players in the maritime industry for an arbitration framework for maritime disputes. Parties arbitrating their maritime dispute in Singapore are able to choose between three different arbitration frameworks. These include the following:

  • Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA)

    “The aim of the SCMA is to provide a framework for maritime arbitration which is responsive to the needs of the maritime community. The SCMA has members from all sectors of the maritime community and from all countries. There is no distinction in the class of members or their entitlement based on the sector of the maritime community – all sectors are treated equally as all sectors are users of SCMA.”¹²

    SCMA does not charge any filing, administrative or management fee for disputes arbitrated under the SCMA framework.¹³ It has strict admission criteria for inclusion in its panel of arbitrators, although parties are not limited to SCMA’s panel of arbitrators. For instance, putative arbitrators must have at least 10 years in the shipping industry to be qualified as arbitrators in the SCMA.¹⁴

  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)

    Established in 1991, SIAC is now one of the world’s premier international arbitration institutions and it is renowned for its first-rate arbitration rules, their experienced worldwide panel of independent arbitrators and their commitment to service excellence to stakeholders. To date, SIAC has handled more than 1500 cases (from 2000 to 2016, SIAC administered around 628 international arbitration cases) and is one of the fastest growing arbitral institutions in the world. The Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre 2016 (“SIAC Rules”) are modeled after the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and adapted to include small claims procedure for the efficient disposal of small and straightforward claims. SIAC covers a whole range of subject matters including maritime and trade-related disputes.

  • AD hoc UNCITRAL Arbitration

    Parties also have the option to select arbitration on an ad hoc / non-institutional basis under the UNCITRAL arbitration rules. Arbitration under the UNCITRAL framework provides greater flexibility and generally lower costs for parties.

Singapore Maritime Arbitration Procedures

  • SIAC Arbitration Procedures - A Brief Overview

    For arbitrations commenced on or after 1st August 2016, the SIAC Rules 2016 would apply (which are in line with the UNCITRAL arbitration rules 2016).

    A party (the Claimant) would initiate arbitration by submitting to SIAC a “Notice of Arbitration” which would contain details specified in Article 3.1 of the SIAC Rules. The same will be served on the Respondent. The Notice will also include details such as the party’s choice arbitrator (if it is a 3-person tribunal) or a proposed sole arbitrator (if it is a 1-person tribunal).

    Within 14 days of receipt of the Notice of Arbitration, the Respondent is required to send a response to the Claimant setting out its brief response to the Notice of Arbitration and putting forward its choice arbitrator (if it is a 3-person tribunal) or whether it agrees to the proposed sole arbitrator (if it is a 1-person tribunal). If it does not agree to the proposed sole arbitrator, the Respondent will then make a counter-proposal.

    If it is a 3-person tribunal, each party shall appoint 1 Arbitrator, and the 2 Arbitrators thus appointed shall appoint the third Arbitrator.¹⁵

    Once the tribunal has been constituted, it will give directions and timelines as to when parties are required to serve their statements. Generally:

    • The Claimant will serve the Statement of Claim on the Respondent;
    • The Respondent will normally have a minimum of 14 days to reply with a Statement of Defence and Counterclaim (if any);
    • If a Counterclaim is served by the Respondent, the Claimant will respond with a Statement of Defence to the Counterclaim.¹⁶

    The tribunal will then decide if further submissions shall be required.¹⁷ The Claimant would generally be allowed to file a Reply submission responding to the Respondent’s Defence.

    Generally, a hearing will be held unless parties have mutually agreed to a documents-only arbitration.¹⁸ During the hearing, parties will be able to examine each other’s witnesses and orally present their respective cases just like how they would in a courtroom, albeit the informal setting.

    The SIAC tribunal generally has a wide-ranging set of powers and these powers can be found in the SIAC Rules. Besides these powers, parties can avail themselves to: (a) interim / emergency relief once the tribunal is constituted and (b) if the tribunal is not constituted,¹⁹ parties can request SIAC to appoint an emergency arbitrator to award interim or emergency relief.²⁰

  • SIAC Expedited Procedure

    In 2010 the SIAC introduced the Expedited Procedure. This mechanism was introduced as a means to save time and costs for both parties. Under SIAC Rules, a party may apply for Expedited Procedure even before the tribunal has been fully constituted in one of the following three (3) instances:²¹

    1. The disputed amount does not exceed S$6,000,000 or its equivalent value;
    2. Both parties agree to it; or
    3. In cases of exceptional urgency

    The key benefit of the Expedited Procedure is that it allows a party to receive their arbitral award within six (6) months after the tribunal has been appointed.²² The timeline to make such an award can be extended by the Registrar only in exceptional circumstances.

    With effect from 1ˢᵗ August 2016, the SIAC Rules 2016 increased the upper limit on the maximum amount in dispute that qualifies an arbitration for the Expedited Procedure from S$5 million to S$6 million,²³ with the effect that more arbitrations will qualify for this procedure. Further, where an arbitration proceeds under the Expedited Procedure, the tribunal has the discretion to decide, after consulting all parties for their views, if the dispute should be decided
    on the basis of documentary evidence only.²⁴

  • SIAC Interim and Emergency Relief

    The SIAC Rules provide a procedure for when parties require emergency interim relief before arbitration is commenced. Any party that wishes to seek emergency interim relief may concurrently or following the filing of a Notice of Arbitration, but prior to the constitution of the tribunal, file an application for emergency interim relief with the Registrar.²⁵ The party shall, at the same time as it is filing the application for emergency interim relief, send a copy of the application to all other parties. The application for emergency interim relief shall include:

    1. the nature of the relief sought;
    2. the reasons why the party is entitled to such relief and a statement certifying that all other parties have been provided with a copy of the application or;
    3. if not, an explanation of the steps taken in good faith to provide a copy or notification to all other parties.²⁸
  • SCMA Arbitration Procedures - A Brief Overview

    The SCMA Arbitration procedures are set out in its 2015 Arbitration Rules²⁹ (“SCMA Rules”). Although they are substantively similar to the foregoing SIAC procedures, there are some slight differences.

    • Under Rule 6 of the SCMA Rules, unless parties agree otherwise, the default number of arbitrators is 3;³⁰
    • If a sole arbitrator is to be appointed, parties must agree on the sole arbitrator within 14 days from the date of service of the Notice of Arbitration. If parties are unable to agree, either party may apply to the Chairman of SCMA to appoint the sole arbitrator;³¹
    • If the tribunal comprises of 3 arbitrators, parties shall choose an arbitrator each and these 2 arbitrators shall appoint the 3ʳᵈ arbitrator.³² If parties fail to appoint the arbitrator within 14 days or if the 2 arbitrators fail to agree on the appointment of the 3ʳᵈ arbitrator, either party may apply to the Chairman of SCMA to appoint the 3rd arbitrator;³³
    • For multi party proceedings, parties must agree on the procedure of appointing the tribunal within 21 days of the service of the Notice of Arbitration. If parties are unable to agree on the aforesaid procedure, the Chairman of SCMA will appoint the tribunal.
  • SCMA Small Claims Procedure

    If the claim or counterclaim is below or unlikely to exceed US$150,000 (excluding interest and costs), the SCMA Small Claims Procedure under Rule 46 will apply.³⁴ If the claim or counterclaim is above US$150,000 (excluding interest and costs), parties may agree in writing for the claim to be dealt under Rule 46.³⁵ Under the Small Claims Procedure, the following points should be noted:

    • Time for service of case statements is reduced to 14 days³⁶
    • The tribunal must issue the Award within 21 days from the date that tribunal receives all parties’ Statementof Case or, if oral hearings were conducted, from the close of such hearings.³⁷
    • Default number of arbitrators is 1.³⁸
    • No reason needs to be given for an Award made under this procedure.³⁹
    • No oral hearing shall be held unless the tribunal decides otherwise.⁴⁰
    • No party may seek an order for discovery, further particulars or interrogatories unless the tribunal requires the production of any document.⁴¹
  • UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules - As Applicable in Singapore

    Although the UNCITRAL arbitration rules apply in Singapore and are largely similar to the procedures set out above,there are some slight modifications made by the International Arbitration Act. For parties seeking to arbitrate on an ad hoc basis under the UNCITRAL arbitration framework (i.e. not under SCMA, SIAC or other frameworks such as ICC) in Singapore, some of these differences are:

    • In the absence of an agreement between parties, the default number of arbitrators is 1.⁴²
    • In a 3-person tribunal, each party shall appoint one arbitrator, and the parties (note: not the 2 appointed arbitrators) shall by agreement appoint the 3rd arbitrator. If parties fail to agree on the 3ʳᵈ arbitrator, the appointing authority for that arbitration will make the appointment on the application of a party.⁴³

Statutory Provisions

In Singapore, there are two main legislations that govern maritime arbitration proceedings: the Arbitration Act (Cap 10, 2002 Rev Ed) (“AA”) and the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A,1994 Rev Ed) (“IAA”).

  • Arbitration Act

    The AA governs arbitrations between local parties and where there are no international elements. The Act defines a domestic arbitration as one where the seat of arbitration is Singapore.⁴⁴

  • International Arbitration Act ( IAA )

    In comparison to the AA, the IAA is still a relatively new regime. An arbitration is held to be international where:

    1. at least one of the parties at the time of conclusion of the agreement has its place of business in any State other than Singapore;⁴⁵
    2. the place of arbitration determined in, or pursuant to, an arbitration agreement is situated outside the State in which the parties to arbitration have their places of business;⁴⁶
    3. any place where substantial part of the obligations of the commercial relationship is to be performed or the place with which the subject matter of the dispute is most closely connected is situated outside the State in which the parties to arbitration have their places of business;⁴⁷ or
    4. the parties have expressly agreed that the subject matter of the arbitration agreement relates to more thanone country.⁴⁸
  • Distinction between the Arbitration Act and the International Arbitration Act

    The main difference between the two regimes lies within the extent of court intervention in the arbitral process and the respect for party independency.

    Under the IAA regime, court intervention is governed expressly by law. The court does not have residuary power to grant any applications that is not expressly provided by law.⁴⁹ Furthermore, there are restricted instances of recourse against an arbitral award under the IAA.⁵⁰

    In contrast, the AA may allow for a party to appeal an award on a question of law arising out of the award by agreement of the parties or by leave of court.⁵¹ Additionally, the AA also allows parties to apply to court for a conclusion on any question of law that may occur during arbitration proceedings which significantly influences the parties’ rights.⁵²

  • Court-ordered Interim Measures

    Under the AA, the tribunal has certain powers which allow the tribunal to make orders or give directions for costs, discovery, security, the preservation and interim custody of evidence for the purposes of the proceedings.⁵³

    The powers conferred upon the tribunal constituted under the IAA are similar, but not identical to those conferred by the AA.⁵⁴  For instance, the IAA also confers on the tribunal the ability to grant an interim injunction or any other measure or to secure the amount in dispute, whereas the AA does not.⁵⁵

    Furthermore, arbitrators acting in arbitrations under either IAA⁵⁶, AA⁵⁷ and the SIAC Rules⁵⁸ have the power to make orders for interim preservation, storage, custody, sale or other disposal of goods or property which either is or forms part of the subject matter.

    Any order or directions made by the tribunal under the AA⁵⁹ and the IAA⁶⁰ are enforceable by the High Court, as if they were made by the court in the first instance. Where leave is granted, judgment may be entered in terms of the order or direction.

    In the event that urgent interim relief is needed prior to a tribunal being constituted, the SIAC Rules provide for an emergency arbitrator procedure.⁶¹ Orders made by the emergency arbitrator can possibly be reconsidered, varied or discharged after the eventual constitution of the tribunal.⁶²

    The powers granted to arbitrators under the AA⁶³ and the IAA⁶⁴ are also exercisable by the High Court. However, the Court of Appeal⁶⁵ has held that court assistance should only be an option when an application to the tribunal would prove to be ineffective in order to secure the particular form of relief required.⁶⁶

    Finally, court orders can be vacated, as an arbitral order prevails⁶⁷ over court orders under the IAA.⁶⁸

Arbitration Awards

An arbitration award is defined as a “decision of the arbitral tribunal on the substance of the dispute and includes any interim, interlocutory or partial award.” The definitions in the IAA and the AA expressly preclude any orders or directions made pursuant to any statutory powers conferred on the arbitrator in the IAA⁶⁹ and the AA⁷⁰. Further to the above, the definitions prevents any decision order or direction which does not determine the matters in dispute to be defined as an award, regardless of the tribunal labelling them as such.⁷¹

  • Recognition of Arbitral Awards

    Unless and until the local court recognizes an arbitral award for enforcement purposes, the arbitration process is incomplete and is of little practical use to the party in favour of whom the arbitral award was entered. Foreign arbitral awards are also recognised for purposes of enforcement.⁷² Foreign awards may also be enforced by an action on the arbitral award.

  • Recognition and Enforcement of Local Arbitral Awards in Singapore

    Arbitral awards made pursuant to domestic⁷³ or international arbitrations⁷⁴ are enforced in Singapore by way of execution proceedings. Applications are to be made to the High Court,⁷⁵ where the application for leave to enforce the award must be filed within six years after the making of the award.⁷⁶

  • Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in Singapore

    In Singapore, any awards made in any other signatory country to the New York Convention,⁷⁷ apart from Singapore, are deemed as foreign awards. The complete procedure for enforcing foreign awards is set out in Part III of the IAA. Foreign awards may be enforced in Singapore by action, judgment or order with the leave of the High Court. Similar to domestic awards, applications for leave to enforce a foreign award must be made within six years after the making of the award.⁷⁸

Appeal of Awards: Under the Arbitration Act

An award made under the Arbitration Act ( “AA” ) can be appealed, based on a question of law,⁷⁹ with the leave of the court and with the agreementof all parties to the proceedings.⁸⁰ The decision of the arbitral tribunal may only be questioned on a point of law.⁸¹ The point of law must be an unsettled or a novel issue, if the point of law was established, uncontroversial and the tribunal or arbitrator made a mistake in the application of said point of law, then no right of appeal arises against that error.⁸²

However, before an appeal can even be made, the applicant must only be seeking an appeal as a last resort after exhausting every other possible recourse set out in the AA.⁸³

Upon appeal, the court may either confirm, vary or remit the award to the tribunal as a whole or partially for reconsideration. Courts may additionally choose to set aside the award as a whole or only in part.⁸⁴

Other circumstances that may allow for the award to be set aside include, but are not limited to the following: incapacity of any party to the arbitration,⁸⁵ improper procedure up to the point of the final arbitration award,⁸⁶ and other provisions set out in Section 48 of the Arbitration Act.

Appeal of Awards: Under the International Arbitration Act

Awards made under the IAA are final and binding on parties and are not subject to an appeal on the merits of said award.⁸⁷ Apart from provisions provided in the Model Law,⁸⁸ upon an award being made in accordance with the statutory provisions in IAA,⁸⁹ the arbitral tribunal shall not amend, correct, review, add to or revoke the award.⁹⁰

The IAA does not provide for the right of appeal against an award on points of law. It only allows the setting aside of an
award under certain conditions; for instance, where inter alia there is fraud, a breach of natural justice or a violation of public policy.

Where the making of the award was induced or affected by fraud or corruption, the Court may set aside the award of the arbitral tribunal.⁹¹ Additionally, the Court may set aside the award of the arbitral tribunal if a breach of the rules of natural justice occurred in connection with the making of the award by which the rights of any party have been prejudiced.⁹²

Recommended Maritime Arbitration Clauses

The following arbitration clauses are recommended by SCMA and SIAC respectively. A properly drafted arbitration clause (also referred to as the ‘arbitration agreement’) is crucial in order to avoid any doubt or uncertainty as the mode of dispute resolution between parties. The following precedents are only meant for reference purposes and parties should seek appropriate legal advice as to the suitability of these clauses for their specific purposes.

  • SCMA Arbitration Clause

    “Any and all disputes arising out of or in connection with this contract, including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration in Singapore in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (“SCMA Rules”) for the time being in force at the commencement of the arbitration, which rules are deemed to be incorporated by reference in this clause.”⁹³

  • SCMA Bunker Arbitration Clause

    “Any disputes arising out of or in connection with this contract, including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration at SCMA in accordance with the Singapore Bunker Claims Procedure (“SBC Terms”) for the time being in force at the commencement of the arbitration which terms are deemed to be incorporated by reference into this clause.”⁹⁴

  • SCMA Arbitration Clause (2013) Recommended for Use with BIMCO Documents, Agreements and Forms

    “This Contract shall be governed by and construed in accordance with [English or Singapore law]⁹⁵

    Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this Contract, including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration in Singapore in accordance with the Singapore International Arbitration Act (Chapter 143A) and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof save to the extent necessary to give effect to the provisions of this Clause.

    The arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (“SCMA”) current at the time when the arbitration proceedings are commenced.

    The reference to arbitration of disputes under this clause shall be to three arbitrators. A party wishing to refer a dispute to arbitration shall appoint its arbitrator and send notice of such appointment in writing to the other party requiring the other party to appoint its own arbitrator and give notice that it has done so within fourteen (14) calendar days of that notice and stating that it will appoint its own arbitrator as sole arbitrator unless the other party appoints its own arbitrator and gives notice that it has done so within the fourteen (14) days specified. If the other party does not give notice that it has done so within the fourteen (14) days specified, the party referring a dispute to arbitration may, without the requirement of any further prior notice to the other party, appoint its arbitrator as sole arbitrator and shall advise the other party accordingly. The award of a sole arbitrator shall be binding on both parties as if he had been appointed by agreement.

    Nothing herein shall prevent the parties agreeing in writing to vary these provisions to provide for the appointment of a sole arbitrator.

    In cases where neither the claim nor any counterclaim exceeds the sum of USD 150,000 (or such other sum as the parties may agree) the arbitration shall be conducted before a single arbitrator in accordance with the SCMA Small Claims Procedure current at the time when the arbitration proceedings are commenced.”

  • SIAC Model Clause

    In drawing up international contracts, we recommend that parties include the following arbitration clause:

    “Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract, including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC Rules”) for the time being in force, which rules are deemed to be incorporated by reference in this clause. The seat of the arbitration shall be [Singapore].⁹⁶

    The Tribunal shall consist of _________________ arbitrator(s).⁹⁷

    The language of the arbitration shall be ________________.”⁹⁸

  • Applicable Law Clause

    Parties should also include an applicable law clause.

    The following is recommended:

    “This Contract is governed by the laws of_____________.”⁹⁹

  • UNCITRAL Model Clause

    For parties adopting the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, the proposed clause is as follows:

    “Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract, or the breach, termination or invalidity thereof, shall be settled by arbitration in Singapore in accordance with the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules for the time being in force.

    The arbitration shall be administered by Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) in accordance with its Practice Note on UNCITRAL cases.

    The appointing authority shall be the President or Vice-President of SIAC Court of Arbitration.

    The number of arbitrators shall be [ ].¹⁰⁰

    The language to be used in the arbitral proceedings shall be ________________.”

  • Expedited Procedure Model Clause

    In drawing up international contracts, the recommended arbitration clause that parties should include is as follows:

    “Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract, including any question regarding its existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC Rules”) for the time being in force, which rules are deemed to be incorporated by reference in this clause.

    The parties agree that any arbitration commenced pursuant to this clause shall be conducted in accordance with the Expedited Procedure set out in Rule 5.2 of the SIAC Rules.

    The seat of the arbitration shall be [Singapore].¹⁰¹

    The Tribunal shall consist of one arbitrator.

    The language of the arbitration shall be ________________.”¹⁰²

References
  • Halsbury’s Laws of England, vol 2 (Butterworths, 4ᵗʰEd) at para 502.
  • Leslie K.H. Chew, Introduction to the Law and Practice of Arbitration in Singapore (Singapore: LexisNexis, 2010).
  • Ibid.
  • Guy Spooner, Amanda Moseley, “Why Arbitration? Why Singapore?” Law Gazette
    <http://v1.lawgazette.com.sg/2001-8/Aug01-focus3.htm>(accessed 1 February 2019).
  • Ibid.
  • New York Arbitration Convention website <http://www.newyorkconvention.org/countries> (accessed 10 February 2019).
  • Financier Worldwide website <https://www.financierworldwide.com/arbitration-in-singapore/#.XGYxgVwzaUk> (accessed 1 February 2019).
  • Vijayan, K.C. “Arbitration Centre Hits Record Numbers.” The Straits Times. (11 March 2017).
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre website
    <http://www.siac.org.sg/2014-11-03-13-33-43/why-siac/arbitration-in-singapore> (accessed 2 February 2019).
  • Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau <https://www.cpib.gov.sg/research-room/transparency-international> (accessed 3February 2019).
  • Financier Worldwide website <https://www.financierworldwide.com/arbitration-in-singapore/#.XGYxgVwzaUk> (accessed 1 February 2019).
  • Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration website
    <https://www.scma.org.sg/Default.aspx?sname=scma&sid=126&pageid=2969&catid=4175&catname=About-Us>(accessed 3 February 2019).
  • Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration website
    <https://www.scma.org.sg/Default.aspx?sname=scma&sid=126&pageid=2969&catid=4206&catname=Resources#FAQ>(accessed 2 February 2019).
  • Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration website
    <https://www.scma.org.sg/Default.aspx?sname=scma&sid=126&pageid=2969&catid=4280&catname=Arbitrator-Applicatio n> (accessed 1 February 2019).
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre Rules (6th Edition, 1 August 2016) (“SIAC Rules”), at Rule 11.
  • Id, at Rule 20.4.
  • Id, at Rule 20.6.
  • Id, at Rule 24.1.
  • Id, at Rule 30.1.
  • Id, at Rule 30.2.
  • Id, at Rule 5.1.
  • Id, at Rule 5.2(d).
  • Id, atRule 5.1 (a).
  • Id, at Rule 5.2.
  • Id, at Rule 30.2 and Schedule 1.
  • Id, at Schedule 1,Paragraph1(a).
  • Id, at Schedule 1, Paragraph 1(b).
  • Id, at Schedule 1, Paragraph 1(c).
  • Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (3rd Edition, October 2015) (“SCMA Rules”),Rule 46.1.
  • Id, at Rule 6.1.
  • Id, at Rule 6.2.
  • Id, at Rule 6.3.
  • Id, at Rule 6.4.
  • Id, at Rule 46.1.
  • Id, atRule 46.2.
  • Id, atRule 46.4.
  • Id, at Rule 46.9.
  • Id, at Rule 46.11.
  • Id, at Rule 46.10.
  • Id, at Rule 46.6.
  • Id, at Rule 46.7.
  • See International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A, Rev Ed) (“IAA”) s 9, modifying Art. 10(2) of 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (“Model Law”).
  • Sees 9A of IAA, modifying Art. 11(3) of Model Law.
  • Arbitration Act (Cap 10, 2002 Rev Ed) (“AA”) s 3.
  • IAA s 5(2)(a).
  • Id, at s 5(2)(b)(i).
  • Id, at s 5(2) (b) (ii).
  • Id, at s 5(2) (c).
  • Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co Ltd v Easton Graham Rush and Another [2004] 2 SLR (R) 14.
  • IAA s 24 read with Art. 34 (2) of Model Law.
  • AA s 49 (1) read with s 49 (3).
  • Id, at s 45 (1).
  • Id, at s 28(2).
  • IAA s 12.
  • Contrast s 28 of AA with s12 of IAA. See s 12 (g) of IAA.
  • IAA s 12 (1)(d).
  • AA s 28 (2)(g).
  • SIAC Rules r 27(e).
  • AA s 28(4).
  • IAA s 12(6).
  • SIAC Rules r 30.2 and Schedule 1.
  • SIAC RulesSch. 1 Paragraph 10.
  • AA s 31(1)(a).
  • IAA s 12A (2).
  • NCC International AB v Alliance Concrete Singapore Pte Ltd [2008] 2 SLR (R) 565.
  • IAA s 12A (2).
  • AA s 31(2).
  • IAA s 12A (7).
  • AA s 2(1).
  • IAA s 2(1).
  • PT Pukuafu Indah & Ors v Newmont Indonesia Ltd & Anor [2012] 4 SLR 1157
  • IAA s 29 read withs 19.
  • AA s 46(1).
  • IAA s 19.
  • See Rules of Court (Cap 322, R5, 2004 Rev Ed) O 69 & 69A for the procedure to enforce arbitral awards from domestic and international arbitrations respectively.
  • Limitation Act (Cap 163, 1996 Rev Ed) s 6.
  • Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (10 June 1958) 330 UNTS 3 (entered into force 7 June 1959).
  • Limitation Act (Cap 163, 1996 Rev Ed) s 6(1)(c).
  • AA s 49 (1).
  • Id, at s 49 (3).
  • Id, at 49(1).
  • Ahong Construction (S) Pte Ltd v. United Boulevard Pte Ltd [1993] 2 SLR(R) 208.
  • AA s 50 (2).
  • Id, at s 49(8).
  • Id, at s 48 (1) (a) (i).
  • Id, at s 48 (1) (a) (iii).
  • IAA s 19B (1).
  •  Art. 33 & 34 Model Law.
  • IAA s 19A.
  • IAA s 19B (2).
  • Id, at s 24 (a)
  • Id, at s 24 (b)
  • Singapore Chambers of Maritime Arbitration website
    <https://www.scma.org.sg/Default.aspx?sname=scma&sid=126&pageid=2969&catid=4185&catname=Model-Clauses > (accessed 2 February 2019).
  • Ibid.
  • Please delete law which is not to apply; if none or both deleted, English law to apply by default.
  • Parties should specify the seat of arbitration of their choice. If the parties wish to select an alternative seat to Singapore, please replace [Singapore] with the city and country of choice (e.g. “[City, Country]).
  • State an odd number. Either state one (1) or state three (3).
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre website <http://www.siac.org.sg/model-clauses> (accessed 2 February 2019).
  • State the country or jurisdiction.
  • State an odd number, such as one (1) or three (3).
  • Parties should specify the seat of arbitration of their choice. If the parties wish to select an alternative seat to Singapore, please replace “[Singapore]” with the city and country of choice (e.g., “[City, Country]”).
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre website
    <http://www.siac.org.sg/model-clauses/expedited-procedure-model-clause> (accessed 2 February 2019).