Review of Arbitration Laws
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About the project

The Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee made various recommendations in relation to international arbitration in Singapore. In general, it was of the view that the 1994 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration should be adopted in Singapore. In addition:

  • The distinction between ‘domestic’ and ‘international’ arbitration regimes should be maintained, and the distinction defined in terms of the Model Law with certain modifications.
  • The powers of arbitrators conferred under the Model Law should be expanded.
  • The courts should be able to provide assistance to enforce interim orders and/or directions made by arbitrators under the Model Law.
  • Article 16 of the Model Law, which provides that an arbitral tribunal may rule on its own jurisdiction, should be adopted, but with a right of appeal to the High Court (and ultimately, with leave, the Court of Appeal).
  • The principle of reciprocity of enforcement of arbitral awards embodied in the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (‘New York Convention’) should be adhered to.
  • Legislation should be adopted to ensure the confidentiality of court proceedings arising out of international arbitrations.

Project status: Completed

  • The report was published in August 1993.
  • Parliament implemented the report’s recommendations through the International Arbitration Act 1994 (No 23 of 1994; now Chapter 143A, 2002 Revised Edition) (‘IAA’), which was enacted on 31 October 1994 and came into force on 27 January 1995.
  • The report was referred to in the following court judgments:
    • NCC International AB v Alliance Concrete Singapore Pte Ltd [2008] SGCA 5, [2008] 2 Singapore Law Reports (Reissue) [SLR(R)] 565 at paragraphs 31–35, the Court of Appeal citing the report when interpreting sections 12(1) and 12(7) of the IAA.
    • Silica Investors Ltd v Tomolugen Holdings Ltd [2014] SGHC 101, [2014] 3 Singapore Law Reports [SLR] 815 at paragraph 104, the High Court not finding the report to be of assistance in interpreting section 12(5) of the IAA.
    • On appeal in Tomolugen Holdings Ltd v Silica Investors Ltd [2015] SGCA 57, [2016] 1 SLR 373 at paragraphs 65, 66 and 75, the Court of Appeal relying on the report as evidencing the intention of the drafters of the IAA.
  • The report has also been cited in the following works:
    • Locknie Hsu, “Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements under the International Arbitration Act 1994(1995) 7 Singapore Academy of Law Journal [Sing Acad LJ] 269 at page 281.
    • Mohan R Pillay, “Singapore Arbitration Regime 2002: The Domestic and International Arbitration Divide(2003) 32(1) INSAF: The Journal of the Malaysian Bar 93 (archived here) at page 97, paragraphs 15–17.
    • Lawrence Boo, The Law and Practice of Arbitration in Singapore (ICCA Supplement No 38) (Deventer, Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, April 2003), 165 at pages 174–175, footnote 53.
    • Ronald Wong, “Interim Relief in Aid of International Commercial Arbitration: A Critique on the International Arbitration Act(2012) 24 Sing Acad LJ 499 at pages 517–519, paragraphs 58–62, footnotes 72 and 74–78.
    • Michelle Lee, “Anti-suit Injunctions in Aid of International Arbitrations: A Rethink for Singapore(2015) 27 Sing Acad LJ 438 at page 457, paragraphs 40 and 41, footnote 101.
    • Darius Chan & Paul Tan, “International Arbitration: Internationalist Outlook Leading the Development of Local Jurisprudence” in Goh Yihan & Paul Tan (general editors), Singapore Law: 50 Years in the Making (Singapore: Academy Publishing, 2015), 775 at pages 775 and 776, paragraphs 14.1 and 14.2, footnotes 5 and 11.

Areas of law

Arbitration law


Report on Review of Arbitration Laws

Click on the image above to view the report

Last updated 17 June 2019