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Singapore High Court: When can a third party be added to enforcement proceedings for an award?

In DFD v DFE and another [2023] SGHCR 23 the following questions had to be decided by the High Court with a view to Singapore’s new Rules of Court 2021 (“ROC 2021”):

(i)          Are there exceptions to the general rule only the parties to an arbitration may participate in                                   proceedings to enforce the resulting arbitral award?
(ii)        If so, under what circumstances can a third party apply to be added to the enforcement proceedings?
(iii)       What legal test should be applied under Singapore’s new ROC 2021? If the third party is unsuccessful                 in its application, when should the Court exercise its discretion to allow the third party to be added as                an interested non-party instead?

In essence, the Court would be reluctant to add superfluous parties to proceedings. For a third party to succeed in being added to the proceedings, it must demonstrate that it has a sufficient legal interest, rather than a mere commercial interest. Where the party’s interest is insufficient, the role of a non-party is not necessarily readily available as a fallback merely because it has some interest in the proceedings.

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