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Singapore makes key amendments to the International Arbitration Act
26 June 2012
 

The Singapore Parliament has passed the latest amendments to the International Arbitration Act.

The amendments to the IAA followed a rigorous public consultation process, and include:

 A. Relaxing the current requirement in the IAA that the arbitration agreement must be in writing:
  • The feedback in the consultation process, concluded that the proposed Bill should extend the IAA's application to arbitration agreements concluded by any means, as long as their content is recorded in any form. The commercial reality of arbitration practice is that, arbitration agreements are often concluded orally, and put into writing later.
     

B. Allowing the Singapore courts to review rulings by arbitral tribunals that these tribunals do not have jurisdiction to hear the dispute (review of negative jurisdictional rulings):

  • The IAA did not previously permit a Singapore court to review negative jurisdictional rulings made by arbitral tribunals or rulings by the tribunals that it they had no jurisdiction to hear the dispute although Singapore courts were able to review positive jurisdictional rulings made by arbitral tribunals, or rulings by tribunals that they have jurisdiction to hear the dispute. The amendment has rendered Singapore courts capable of reviewing any negative jurisdictional ruling of an arbitral tribunal seated in Singapore.
     

C. Defining the scope of the arbitral tribunals’ powers to award interest in arbitral proceedings:

  • The IAA did not previously clearly define the scope of arbitral tribunals' powers to award interest. The amendments clarify the scope of these powers, such as granting simple or compound interest on monies claimed in arbitrations and orders to pay legal costs including powers to award interest post the date of an Award up to the date of payment.


D. According emergency arbitrators with the same legal status and powers as that of any arbitral tribunal, to ensure that orders made by such emergency arbitrators (whether appointed under the SIAC rules or the rules of any other arbitral institution) are enforceable under the IAA regime:

  • The Act amends the definition of ‘arbitral tribunal’ to clarify the status of emergency arbitrators. It aims to accord emergency arbitrators with the same legal status and powers as that of any arbitral tribunal and ensure that orders made by such emergency arbitrators are enforceable in Singapore under the IAA.

For the new amended Act, please click here.

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