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Singapore High Court clarifies when time is extended for a set aside application

The Singapore High Court in the case of CNA v CNB and another [2021] SGHC 192, held that an application to set aside an arbitral award was not time-barred because the timeline was extended by an earlier application to correct the award. The court deliberated that the correction of the arbitral award fell within Article 33 of the UNCITRAL Model Law, enabling CNA to rely on the extension of time provision in Article 34(3) of the Model Law.

It is settled that the usual timeline to set aside an arbitration award, which is three months from the date the relevant party received the award, may be extended when there was an application to “correct” the award under Article 33.

Under Article 33(1)(a), a party may request the tribunal to correct “any errors in computation, any clerical or typographical errors or any errors of similar nature” in an arbitral award. In this case, the error in question was an order for account of profits defendant argued that the error does not fall within the express categories of “computation”, “clerical”, or “typographical” errors. Accordingly, if the error is not caught under Article 33(1)(a), the party seeking to set aside would be out of time. The court disagreed and held that the error in question is indeed covered by Article 33.

This decision serves as a caution to parties that it is incumbent that the correction is properly covered under Article 33; otherwise, a party may face challenges as to the validity of the corrected award or the timeline for setting aside may run out.

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