Arbitration Act (Cap 10, 2002 Rev Ed)
Domestic arbitration in Singapore is governed by the Arbitration Act (Cap 10, 2002 Rev Ed). It applies to any arbitration where the place of arbitration is Singapore and where the International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A, 2002 Rev Ed) does not apply to that arbitration.
The Arbitration Act makes provision for many procedures leading up to, during, and following the conduct of the actual arbitration. It provides for the parties’ rights, the tribunal’s powers, and the court’s powers in such situations. It also crystallises fundamental principles of arbitration law, such as the separability of the arbitration agreement from the principal contract, and the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear challenges to its own jurisdiction.
Under the Arbitration Act, the court has supervisory jurisdiction over the arbitration and this is shown in several respects:
(a) Where one party to the arbitration agreement institutes proceedings in any court where it should have gone to arbitration instead, the court may (on the application of the other party) stay the court proceedings in favour of arbitration. Unlike the International Arbitration Act, the court is not compelled to grant a stay, but has the discretion to do so.
(b) The court can hear challenges from the tribunal’s decision on jurisdiction, whether the tribunal decides that it has jurisdiction or not.
(c) The court can hear applications to set aside the award or to resist its enforcement in Singapore.
(d) Tthe court may determine a question of law arising out of an award in the proceedings. This power is only available to the court under the Arbitration Act, and not the International Arbitration Act. The parties may exclude this power.