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MinLaw seeks public feedback on proposed changes to International Arbitration Act

THE Ministry of Law (MinLaw) has started a public consultation on Wednesday to seek views on proposals to amend the International Arbitration Act (IAA).

The proposed changes would firstly, provide for the default appointment of arbitrators in multi-party situations; secondly, allow parties under mutual agreement to request arbitrator(s) to decide on jurisdiction at the preliminary stage; and thirdly, recognise that an arbitral tribunal and the High Court can enforce obligations of confidentiality in arbitration. 

Lastly, the changes would allow parties to appeal to the High Court on a question of law arising from an arbitration award, provided that parties have agreed to opt in to the mechanism. Considerations for this change were reported in April, in a written reply from Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam to a question from Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok SMC).

Mr Pillai had asked the minister whether he will consider reviewing the IAA to provide for an avenue of appeal to Singapore courts, where it is alleged that there are errors of law in the award issued by an arbitral tribunal.

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MinLaw is also seeking views on two other proposals – one which allows parties to waive or limit the annulment grounds under the Model Law and IAA, and another which gives the Court power to order costs in certain arbitral proceedings.

The public consultation will run from June 26 to Aug 21.(Please see amendment note)

Amendment note: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated the dates of the consultation period. The article has been amended to reflect this change.