International Arbitration Act
International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A, 2002 Rev Ed)
The International Arbitration Act (Cap 143A, 2002 Rev Ed) applies to international arbitrations, which are arbitrations including any international element. It may also apply to non-international arbitrations if the parties agree.
The International 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. It also provides that the Model Law has the force of law in Singapore except Chapter VIII of the Model Law.
Under the International Arbitration Act, the court has supervisory jurisdiction over the arbitration and this is shown in several respects. First, where one party to the arbitration agreement institutes proceedings in any court where it should have gone to arbitration instead, the court shall, on the application of the other party, stay the court proceedings in favour of arbitration if there is a prima facie case of an arbitration agreement that governs the dispute, unless the arbitration agreement is null and void, inoperative, or incapable of being performed. Second, the court can hear challenges from the tribunal’s decision on jurisdiction, whether the tribunal decides that it has jurisdiction or not. Third, the court can hear applications to set aside the award or to resist its enforcement in Singapore.
Court intervention is limited and restricted to instances expressly provided within the International Arbitration Act.