In the case of China Machine New Energy Corp v Jaguar Energy Guatemala LLC and Another  SGCA 12 the Singapore’s Court of Appeal clarified that a party’s right under Article 18 of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (Model Law) to a ‘full opportunity’ of presenting its case is not unlimited and provided guidance on the correct approach to alleged violations of due process by the Tribunal.
The parties’ dispute related to an Engineering, Procurement and Construction Contract (“EPC Contract”) by the appellant contractor (“CMNC”) for the respondent owners (“Jaguar”). When CMNC failed to meet certain deadlines under the EPC Contract, Jaguar commenced arbitration claiming, amongst others, the cost of completing the power plant. The Singapore seated Tribunal awarded Jaguar the vast majority of its claims.
CMNC applied to the High Court to set aside the award contending that it has been deprived from being given a full opportunity to present its case under Article 18 of the Model Law, as it was “unable to present his case”, and its rights are prejudiced because a “breach of the rules of natural justice occurred in connection with the making of the award”.
The Court rejected CMNC’s setting aside application and held that:
This ruling fortifies the Singapore courts’ policy of minimal intervention towards arbitral proceedings and the threshold to satisfy a breach of natural justice remains a high one.