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Singapore Court of Appeal: Finality in arbitration - A tribunal's mandate terminates upon disposing of all issues in dispute, unless it expressly reserves its jurisdiction to reopen its award

In Voltas Ltd v York International Pte Ltd [2024] SGCA 12 Singapore’s Court of Appeal addressed critical issues regarding the jurisdiction of arbitral tribunals and the finality of conditional awards. The Court held that a conditional award will be considered final if it disposes of all remaining claims in the arbitration. A tribunal is then unable to reopen the case and to issue a further award.  If a tribunal wishes to reserve its jurisdiction to revisit an award already rendered, it must do so expressly if they foresee the need for further determination as the court will not imply such a reservation.

Although this case was decided under the Arbitration Act, the relevant statutory provisions are similar to those in the International Arbitration Act and UNCITRAL Model Law 1985. Accordingly, the principles articulated in this decision should apply with equal force to international arbitrations seated in Singapore.

This ruling provides an important precedent that a conditional award can be a final award and it is a matter for the enforcement court to determine based on the evidence adduced whether the condition(s) had been fulfilled.

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