This Country Answer reflects the state of the law as of 31 December 2012. Please refer to the explanations in the chapter entitled Preliminary Note.

A. The Contracting State and the New York Convention

1. Name of Contracting State (also specify jurisdiction(s), if relevant)

Republic of Singapore.

2. Date of entry into force of the New York Convention

19 November 1986.

(Source: http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/ uncitral_texts/arbitration/NYConvention_status.html)

3. Has any reservation been made under Art. I(3) of the New York Convention regarding:

(a) reciprocity?

Yes. Thus, an award will be enforced in Singapore pursuant to the New York Convention only if the State in which the award was made is a Contracting State to the New York Convention.

(Source: http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/ uncitral_texts/ arbitration/NYConvention_status.html)

(b) commercial relationships?

No.

(Source: http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/uncitral_texts/ arbitration/NYConvention_status.html)

4. In addition to arbitral awards made in the territory of another State, the New York Convention (Art. I(1)) also applies to arbitral awards not considered as domestic awards in the State where recognition and enforcement are sought. Are there any awards rendered in your country that are not considered as domestic awards such that the New York Convention and the answers to this Questionnaire are applicable to them?

The Singapore courts have not yet had to consider the question of whether delocalized or denationalized arbitration awards made in Singapore would be considered to be non-domestic awards capable of enforcement in Singapore under the New York Convention.

B. National sources of law

5. What specific sources of law are applicable to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. statutes, regulations, codes, directives, other legal instruments)?

(i) International Arbitration Act 2002 Revised Edition (Cap. 143A); (ii) Singapore Rules of Court Orders 57, 60 and 69A; and (iii) case law.

C. Limitation periods (time limits)

6.

(a) Is there a limitation period (time limit) applicable to the commencement of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?

Yes.

(b) If yes, what is the applicable limitation period (time limit) and when does it start running?

The limitation period for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards is 6 years, starting from the date on which 'the cause of action accrued'. The date of accrual is the date on which the award ought to have been honoured, and not the date on which the original cause of action giving rise to the arbitration proceedings arose. In most cases where the seat of arbitration is Singapore, the award itself will provide the date on which the award should be honoured (e.g. 28 days after the date of the award) and it is from that date that the cause of action accrues.

(Sources: International Arbitration Act, s. 8A; Limitation Act (Cap. 163), s. 6.)

D. National courts and court proceedings

7. What authority or court has jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?

The High Court of Singapore.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 29 read together with s. 19.)

8. What requirements, if any, must be met for the authority or court to accept jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. domicile or assets of respondent in the jurisdiction, etc.)?

In general, there are no jurisdictional requirements, other than that the award must be a Convention award.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, ss. 27 and 32.)

9. Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement obtained through ex parte or inter partes proceedings?

An application for leave to enforce a foreign award may be made ex parte to the High Court of Singapore.

(Source: Rules of Court, O. 69A, r. 6(1).)

10.

(a) Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement subject to any form of appeal or recourse?

As mentioned above, the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement is made ex parte by the High Court of Singapore. If an enforcement order is granted, the party against whom it is made may apply to have it set aside on the limited grounds set out in the International Arbitration Act, s. 31(2).

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 31.)

(b) How many levels of appeal or recourse are available against this decision?

One. The decision on the application to set aside may be appealed to the Court of Appeal of Singapore.

(Source: Rules of Court, O. 57, r. 1.)

11. What is the earliest stage in legal proceedings for enforcement of foreign arbitral awards at which a party can obtain execution against assets (i.e. party actually obtains possession of assets as opposed to simply freezing assets)?

The respondent has 14 days after service of the order or, if the order is to be served out of the jurisdiction, such other period as the court may fix, to apply for the order to be set aside. The award can be enforced against assets after the expiry of that period or after any application to set aside the order has been finally disposed of.

(Source: Rules of Court, O. 69A, r. 6(4).)

E. Evidence required

12.

(a) What evidence must be supplied for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. arbitral award, contract containing arbitration clause, affidavits, witness statements, etc.)?

The applicant must supply the court with an affidavit which should: (i) exhibit (a) the duly authenticated original award or a duly certified copy thereof; (b) the original arbitration agreement under which the award purports to have made or a duly certified copy thereof; and (c) where the award or agreement is in a foreign language, a translation of it in the English language (see Q.13 below); (ii) state the name and the usual or last known place of abode or business of the applicant and the person against the award is to be enforced; and (iii) state (a) that the award has not been complied with or (b) the extent to which the award has not been complied with at the date of the application.

(Sources: International Arbitration Act, s 30; Rules of Court, O. 69A, r. 6.)

(b) Is it necessary to provide the entire document or only certain parts (e.g. entire contract or only arbitration clause)?

In general, the entire award and arbitration agreement are provided.

(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?

Either originals or duly certified copies may be provided.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s 30.)

(d) How many originals or duly certified copies are required?

One for the court.

(Sources: International Arbitration Act, s. 30; Rules of Court, O. 69A, r. 6.)

(e) Does the authority or court keep the originals that are filed?

Yes.

(Source: Rules of Court, O. 60, r. 9.)

13.

(a) Is it necessary to provide a translation of the documents supplied?

Yes, if the award or agreement is in a language other than English.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 30(c).)

(b) If yes, into what language?

English.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 30(c).)

(c) Is it necessary for the translations to be certified and, if yes, by whom (official or sworn translator, diplomatic or consular agent (of which country?) or some other person)?

Yes. Translations must be duly certified in English as a correct translation by a sworn translator or by an official or by a diplomatic or consular agent of the country in which the award was made.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 30(c).)

(d) Is it necessary to provide a full translation of the documents or only a translation of certain parts (e.g. entire award or only part setting forth the decisions; entire contract or only arbitration clause)?

A full translation is ordinarily required.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 30(c).)

F. Stay of enforcement

14.

(a) Can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement pending the outcome of an application to set aside or suspend the foreign award before the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention?

Yes. Where, in any proceedings in which the enforcement of a foreign award (a Convention award) is sought pursuant to Part III of the International Arbitration Act, the court is satisfied that an application for the setting side or suspension of the award has been made to a competent authority of the country in which, or under whose law, the award was made, the court may, if the court considers it proper to do so, adjourn the proceedings or, as the case may be, so much of the proceedings as relates to the award.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 31(5)(a).)

(b) On what other grounds, if any, can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement (e.g. forum non conveniens)?

The legislation is silent on this specific question although it is possible that the court retains its inherent jurisdiction to do so.

(c) Is the granting of a stay of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement conditional on the provision of security?

The court has discretion on whether security is required when ordering a stay of enforcement proceedings. Where, in any proceedings in which the enforcement of a Convention award is sought pursuant to Part III of the International Arbitration Act, the court is satisfied that an application for the setting side or suspension of the award has been made to a competent authority of the country in which, or under whose law, the award was made, the court may, at the request of the party seeking enforcement, order the other party to give suitable security.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 31(5)(b).)

G. Confidentiality

15.

(a) Do the documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement form part of the public record? If yes, can any steps be taken to preserve the confidentiality of such documents?

Yes, documents filed in an application for enforcement, which are filed in the form of a summons (or originating summons) pursuant to the Rules of Court Order 69A r. 3, become public documents. Any person may, with the leave of the Registrar and on payment of the prescribed fee, be entitled to search for, inspect and take a copy of any of the documents filed in the Registry.

(Source: Rules of Court, O. 60, r. 4.)

(b) If there are hearings on recognition and enforcement, are such hearings confidential? If not, can steps be taken to maintain the confidentiality of the legal proceedings?

The default position is that enforcement hearings will be heard in open court. However, parties can apply to the court for the proceedings under the International Arbitration Act to be heard otherwise than in open court. The application is made to a judge or the registrar and should be made by way of summons. Where the case is urgent, this application can be made ex parte or on such terms as the court thinks fit.

(Sources: International Arbitration Act, s 22; Rules of Court, O. 69A, rr. 3(1)-3(3).)

(c) Are judgments on recognition and enforcement published? If yes, can steps be taken to remove the names of the parties or avoid publication of confidential information (such as business or State secrets)?

Where proceedings are heard in open court, certain selected judgments will be published both electronically and in hard copy. Transcripts of hearings in open court (but which are not published or officially reported) are also available on request.

Where the proceedings are heard otherwise than in open court, the court is permitted to publish information relating to the proceedings only if (a) all parties agree that such information may be published; or (b) the court is satisfied that the information, if published in accordance with such directions as it may give, would not reveal any matter, including the identity of any party to the proceedings, that any party to the proceedings reasonably wishes to remain confidential.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 23(3).)

Notwithstanding the above, where a court considers the judgment to be of great legal interest, the court shall direct that reports of the judgment may be published in law reports and professional publications but, if any party reasonably wishes to conceal any matter, including the fact of being a party to the proceedings, the court shall (a) give directions as to the action that shall be taken to conceal that matter in those reports; and (b) if it considers that a report published in accordance with directions given under (a) would be likely to reveal that matter, direct that no report shall be published until after the end of such period, not exceeding 10 years, as it considers appropriate.

(Sources: International Arbitration Act, s. 23(4); ABC Co v. XYZ Ltd (2003) SGHC 107.)

H. Other issues

16. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of interim or partial foreign awards?

The definition of award for purposes of the International Arbitration Act includes an interim and partial award. Interim and partial awards may also be recognized and enforced as long as they are final with respect to the matters decided.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 2.)

17. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of non-monetary relief in foreign arbitral awards (e.g. order requiring a party to deliver up share certificates or other property)?

Non-monetary relief (e.g. a permanent injunction) granted in a foreign arbitral award may be enforced in Singapore.

18. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in foreign awards?

In principle, it is possible to obtain recognition and enforcement of part of the relief granted in a foreign award.

When a foreign award contains decisions on matters not submitted to arbitration and those decisions can be separated from decisions on matters submitted to arbitration, the award may be enforced to the extent that it contains decisions on matters submitted to arbitration.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 31(3).)

19. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which have been set aside by the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention?

The question has not come up for consideration by the Singapore courts. If it does, it is likely that other foreign judgments which have considered this issue, especially those from Commonwealth jurisdictions, will be persuasive.

(Source: International Arbitration Act, s. 31(2)(f).)

20. Are there any other procedural or practical requirements relating to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which are worth mentioning (e.g. unusually high court costs, filing fees, stamp duties, obligation to post security as a condition for seeking recognition and enforcement, obligation to identify the assets that will be the object of enforcement, etc.)?

No.

Country Rapporteurs:

John Choong, Christopher Lau, Alvin Yeo