Reed Smith Client Alerts

This client alert was originally published in Practical Law Arbitration. Reproduced with permission.  This client alert is co-written by Reed Smith Pte Ltd and Resource Law LLC who together form the Reed Smith Resource Law Alliance in Singapore. Reed Smith Pte Ltd is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore. Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with licensed Singapore law practices where necessary.

In Kingdom of Lesotho v Swissbourgh Diamond Mines (Pty) Ltd and others [2017] SGHC 195, the Singapore High Court, for the first time, considered whether an investor-state arbitral award on the merits should be set aside.

Authors: Kohe Hasan Joyce Fong Rachel Loke (Associate, Resource Law LLC)

* Kohe Hasan is a Partner in Reed Smith's Singapore office and a Director of Resource Law LLC.  Joyce Fong is an Associate in Reed Smith's Singapore office.  Rachel Loke is an Associate in Resource Law LLC.


Following an application from the Kingdom of Lesotho to set aside an award on the merits made by a Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal, the Singapore High Court found in favour of the state in five out of six jurisdictional objections, setting the award aside in its entirety. Further, it held that the PCA award fell foul of Article 34(2)(a)(iii) of the UNCITRAL Model Law, since it dealt with a dispute not contemplated by and not falling within the terms of the submission to arbitration. 

This case is noteworthy because it is the first Singapore case to consider an application to set aside an investor-state arbitral award on the merits and it involves intriguing questions of arbitral and international investment law which have not previously been considered by the Singapore courts. (Kingdom of Lesotho v Swissbourgh Diamond Mines (Pty) Ltd and others [2017] SGHC 195.)