Singapore proposes amendments to their International Arbitration Act

On Friday, 26 June, the Singapore Ministry of Law issued a press release announcing public consultation in its International Arbitration Act.  The consultation will run from 26 June to 21 August 2019.

The proposals are to:

(1)  provide for default appointment of arbitrators in multi-party disputes

(2) allow parties to agree to request the tribunal to rule on jurisdiction at the preliminary award stage

(3) strengthen the enforcement of confidentiality

(4) provide for appeals on questions of law, on an opt-in basis

(5) limit or waive the ability to set aside awards for breach of natural justice and under article 34(2)(a) of the Model Law

(6) provide for costs in proceedings for setting aside awards

When compared against the recent amendments to our Act, these proposals are telling, particularly in the context of strengthening confidentiality and providing for appeals on questions of law.  The last two proposals, put forward by the Ministry of Law, seem to significantly weaken court supervision under the Model Law (constrained as it is) and are perhaps harder to fathom.