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Arbitral Tribunals have the power to grant any High Court reliefs

In Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc and another v Global Gaming Philippines LLC and another [2021] SGCA 94, the Court of Appeal held that a relief ordered by the arbitral tribunal, which required the appellants to direct their controlling shareholder to facilitate a sale of the respondents’ shares, was a pragmatic solution and could not be faulted.

Following its finding that Bloomberry were liable to Global Gaming Philippines LLC (“GGP”) for the wrongful termination of a Management Services Agreement, the arbitral tribunal issued a Remedies Award ordering, inter alia, that Bloomberry pay GGP more than USD 200 million in exchange for GGP’s shares in Bloomberry’s parent company. The Tribunal also ordered a relief entitling GGP to sell the shares on the market and requiring Bloomberry to direct its controlling shareholder to undertake steps to facilitate the sale of the shares, should Bloomberry fail to pay for and take over the shares from GGP (“the Relief”).

Bloomberry applied to set aside the remedies award and assert that the grant of the Relief went beyond the scope of submission to arbitration. The High Court rejected Bloomberry’s arguments and the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision. The Court of Appeal held that the Relief was a pragmatic solution to the realities of the situation and was aimed at facilitating the sale of the shares. The Court of Appeal found that the issue of Bloomberry’s interference with the shares was within the scope of submission to the Arbitration for the following reasons:

1.     The arbitration clause was broad enough to cover the dispute regarding the shares as it covered            any dispute that “arises out of or is related to” the MSA

2.     Bloomberry did not object to the Tribunal’s jurisdiction in respect of the issue of the shares when            the Tribunal was constituted up to the point of the liability award, and in fact actively submitted              to it.

In relation to Bloomberry’s jurisdictional objection that the Tribunal had sought to enforce its own orders through the imposition of the Relief, the Court of Appeal noted that Sec.12 of the International Arbitration Act does not confer upon arbitral tribunals the power to grant all the reliefs that the High Court can grant. The Court of Appeal found that the Relief was a compensatory remedy. Therefore, it cannot be faulted for doing so.

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