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 Gulf Hibiscus Ltd v Rex International Holding Ltd and another  SGHC 210, the Singapore High Court considered whether to stay court proceedings in favour of arbitration, even though the applicant was not a party to the arbitration agreement and no arbitration proceedings had been commenced.
* 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.
In exercising its inherent case management jurisdiction, the Singapore High Court has conditionally stayed court proceedings in favour of arbitration, even though the applicant was not a party to the arbitration agreement and no arbitration proceedings had been commenced.
In granting a conditional stay, the court confirmed that a stay can be granted even if the applicant is not a party to the arbitration agreement. The absence of an arbitration agreement between the parties to the court proceedings is irrelevant because the court's power to order a case management stay does not arise from an arbitration agreement, but is instead part of its inherent power to control and manage proceedings for the fair and efficient administration of justice.
This decision provides a useful insight into the balancing act which the court must undertake when considering whether to exercise its inherent case management powers to grant a stay of court proceedings in favour of existing (or potential) arbitrations. (Gulf Hibiscus Ltd v Rex International Holding Ltd and another  SGHC 210.)