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This article was originally published in Practical Law Arbitration. Reproduced with permission. This article 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 LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore under the name and style, Reed Smith Pte Ltd (hereafter collectively, “Reed Smith”). Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with Reed Smith’s Formal Law Alliance partner in Singapore, Resource Law LLC, where necessary.

In BVU v BVX [2019] SGHC 69, the Singapore High Court denied an application to set aside an arbitral award on grounds of fraud or public policy under the Singapore International Arbitration Act.

Authors: Kohe Hasan Nikisha Mirpuri

* Kohe Hasan is a Partner in Reed Smith's Singapore office and a Director of Resource Law LLC. Nikisha Mirpuri is an Associate in Reed Smith's Singapore office. 

Speedread

The Singapore High Court has denied an application by the claimant in the underlying arbitration to set aside an international arbitral award on grounds of fraud or public policy under section 24(a) of the International Arbitration Act (IAA) and Article 34(2)(a)(ii) of the UNCITRAL Model Law. However, it allowed a related application by the respondent, who was the successful party in the arbitration, to set aside a subpoena against one of its employees to produce documents in support of the claimant’s application.

This case combines the test in Singapore for attempting to set aside an arbitral award on the basis of fraud, and highlights the high standard that an applicant will need to show to set aside an award on grounds of fraud or public policy, including the requirement to show a causative link between the alleged concealment and the decision. It is important for parties to consider use of all available avenues under the IAA or any applicable rules to procure witnesses and documents from their opponents during the arbitration. If a party waits until they are applying to set aside the award, they are unlikely to successfully convince the court that the application is not a backdoor appeal on merits or an abuse of process. (BVU v BVX [2019] SGHC 69 (13 March 2019).)