Singapore Court Stays Proceedings In Favour Of Multi-Tier Arbitration Agreement

Whistful thinking Singapore High Court stays proceedings in favour of multi-tier arbitration agreement

Stephenson Harwood reviews the Singapore High Court’s decision in Ling Kong Henry v Tanglin Club [2018] SGHC 153, where the Court affirmed the prevailing common law position that a multi-tier dispute resolution clause constitutes an agreement to arbitrate. The authors note that under the Arbitration Act, the Court has a discretion whether or not to grant a stay in favour of arbitration (unlike the International Arbitration Act, where such a stay is mandatory), noting that the decision serves as a useful reminder that a party seeking to oppose a stay of proceedings in favour of an arbitration governed by Singapore’s Arbitration Act must show exceptional reasons why the matter should not be referred to arbitration. The Court highlighted Singapore’s strong policy in favour of arbitration as a useful and efficient alternative dispute resolution and also emphasised the need to preserve party autonomy by giving full effect to parties’ agreement to arbitrate.

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About Phillip Rompotis

Phillip practices as a barrister and arbitrator in Hong Kong. He has over 25 years’ litigation and arbitration experience in commercial disputes relating to construction & engineering, financial services, joint venture & shareholders agreements, technology, trusts, property and landlord & tenant. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of various lists/panels of arbitrators.

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