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Singapore High Court rejects request to overturn arbitration award

The Singapore High Court's recent rejection of an attempt to overturn an arbitration award continues a policy of non-intervention, said Singapore-based arbitration expert Chen Han Toh of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Aug 2016

The case concerned a developer and a contractor. When the contractor failed to complete works on time it was obliged to pay damages of S$135,000 ($100,000) per day under its contract with the developer.

The arbitration tribunal rejected the contractor's claim that architects involved in the project should have granted it a time extension under the contract.

The appeal was made on the grounds that the decision breached the rules of 'natural justice' because the arbitrator did not consider or understand the contractor's arguments in a central aspect of the case. 

The High Court said that there had been no such breach of natural justice and no prejudice in the case.

The High Court judge said that "although the arbitrator failed to set out his reasoning on this issue, I am unable to draw a clear and virtually inescapable inference from that omission that he failed to consider, or failed to attempt to understand, the plaintiff’s evidence and submissions on the issue. In my view, the arbitrator did make a finding on this issue, albeit implicit. In any event, even if he did fail to consider this issue, it caused the plaintiff no actual prejudice."

"This decision reflects the strong policy of non-intervention that the Singapore Courts have consistently emphasised in the context of attempts to overturn arbitral awards", said Toh.

Pinsent Masons acted for the developer in the case.