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Singapore High Court: Enforcement of Interim Measures Ordered in Singapore-Seated Arbitration Unaffected by Forum Non Conveniens Doctrine

In a recent case (CXG and another v CXI and others [2023] SGHC 244), the Singapore High Court held that a Singapore court who possesses the jurisdiction to hear an application to enforce a tribunal-ordered interim measure in a Singapore-seated international arbitration should not be prevented from exercising that jurisdiction on grounds of forum non conveniens .The Court declined to stay an application for permission to enforce a tribunal-ordered domestic interim measure in a Singapore-seated international arbitration. The High Court found that forum non conveniens considerations do not apply in the context of applications to enforce domestic interim measures under section 12(6) of the International Arbitration Act 1994.

The parties’ choice of the seat of arbitration has always been of utmost importance, given that the law of the seat is relevant to, among other things, the court’s supervisory jurisdiction and the scope of challenges to the award itself. This judgment brings a useful clarification under Singapore law that a party seeking to enforce interim measures granted in Singapore seated arbitrations under the IAA does not need to be concerned about the existence of a more/most appropriate forum. I.e. where the arbitration is seated in Singapore and interim orders are issued by the tribunal, the Singapore courts are likely to give effect to the parties’ choice of seat and will not be swayed by arguments as to whether enforcement in another forum is more appropriate than in Singapore.

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