The Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) recently introduced a model clause for Singapore court proceedings commenced under the International Arbitration Act 1994 (IAA). The model clause designates the SICC as the supervisory court to resolve IAA-related matters.
The SICC is a division of the Singapore High Court which was established to handle international commercial disputes. The SICC can hear a case where parties submit to its jurisdiction under a written jurisdiction agreement, even in offshore cases (i.e., where the dispute does not have any substantial connection with Singapore and is not governed by Singapore law). However, the SICC may not grant any relief in the form of a prerogative order (e.g., orders which direct public authorities to take certain actions or which invalidate their acts).
As with other Singapore High Courts, SICC decisions may be appealed to the Singapore Court of Appeal. However, there are attributes that make the SICC different, including:
SICC judgements are generally enforceable in a great number of countries, including contracting states to the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements and countries with reciprocal enforcement agreements with Singapore.
Under the IAA, the Singapore High Court has jurisdiction to decide certain arbitration-related matters, such as challenges to the appointment, or controversies relating to the inability to act, of an arbitrator, challenges to an arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction, issuances of interim measures and challenges to an arbitral award.
Parties that wish to submit their IAA-related issues to the SICC’s jurisdiction should incorporate the following model clause into their contracts:
“In respect of any court proceedings in Singapore commenced under the International Arbitration Act 1994 [in relation to the arbitration]*, the parties agree (a) to commence such proceedings before the Singapore International Commercial Court (“SICC”); and (b) in any event, that such proceedings shall be heard and adjudicated by the SICC.
“* The words in square brackets are to be inserted only in a case where the agreement forms part of an arbitration clause.”
Alternatively, parties may also opt to use the SICC model clause at anyother time, such as after the occurrence of a dispute.
To encourage the application of the SICC model clause to international commercial arbitrations seated in Singapore, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) also recommends its incorporation into contracts that use the SIAC model arbitration clause.
The SICC launched a model clause which parties can add to their agreements to designate the SICC as the supervisory court over IAA-related issues in international commercial arbitrations. Given the advantages of having disputes heard by the SICC, parties to international commercial agreements might wish to consider SICC proceedings to supplement the advantages they obtain from resolving disputes through arbitration.
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Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.