December 2015
  • Recognition and Enforcement of Interlocutory
    and Final Judgments of the Singapore
    InternationalCommercial Court

    Anselmo Reyes

This article discusses, in the context of the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC), issues relating to the recognition and enforcement of judgments. The focus is on three areas. First, the article examines the enforceability of SICC’s fi nal judgments. The utility of hybrid dispute resolution clauses is discussed in light of the innovative Practice Direction No 2 of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts. Second,the article examines diffi culties in the enforcement of worldwide freezing orders made by
the SICC and suggests that there may be no easy solution to the cross-border enforcement of such orders. A similar conundrum is
faced by the SICC on the fi nal issue considered, the recognition and enforcement of interlocutory or fi nal judgments made by the SICC against third parties. The author suggests in conclusion that the best solutions to the problems explored may lie in exploring synergies between different modes of dispute resolution.

international arbitration; enforcement of judgment; Mareva injunction; international dispute resolution; international commercial court,Singapore International Commercial Court; Dubai International Financial Centre Courts

Click here to read extracts of the article

This article looks into potential diffi culties in the recognition and enforcement of judgments of the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC). From time to time, by way of comparison, the article will refer to the practice of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts and the English Commercial Court. The underlying assumption of this article is that problems identifi ed in the SICC context will apply in similar fashion to the recognition and enforcement of the judgments of international commercial courts generally.
The expression “international commercial court” is not a term of art. Here the expression is used to describe a court (such as the SICC) with jurisdiction to hear commercial disputes having little or no connection with the state in which the court is situate, apart from the fact that the court has been designated by contracting parties as the forum in which disputes are to be brought. In the case of the DIFC Courts, their jurisdiction was initially exercisable over cases involving a DIFC incorporated or registered company or involving events occurring within the DIFC. Since 2011 the DIFC Courts have had jurisdiction to deal with cases in which they have been designated by the parties to an agreement as the forum for resolving their disputes. Those disputes may have little or nothing to do with Dubai or the DIFC.
Most common law courts (including the SICC and the DIFC Courts) would be prepared to exercise jurisdiction over a dispute on the basis of an exclusive jurisdiction clause. But, in most common law courts (including the English Commercial Court), the exercise of such jurisdiction would be subject to the doctrine of forum non-conveniens articulated by Brandon LJ in The El Amria.1 In contrast, the SICC and the DIFC Courts have in effect dispensed with the doctrine of forum non-conveniens.
All courts are concerned with the enforceability of their judgments across borders. With international commercial courts, the problem of enforcement is more acute, since the parties before such courts may have little or no presence and few (if any) assets within the state where the courts are located. The doctrine of forum non-conveniens cannot be invoked to reject jurisdiction as inappropriate and send the parties to some other place where a defendant may have a more substantial presence. International commercial courts are consequently most likely to be favoured where contracting parties are from different jurisdictions and wish to designate some neutral, but credible, third jurisdiction for the resolution of disputes arising out of a commercial transaction. For the purpose of discussion, the article will consider the enforcement of three different types of judgment: (1) fi nal judgments; (2) interlocutory judgments imposing worldwide freezing orders and (3) interlocutory or fi nal judgments against persons not party to a choice of court agreement conferring jurisdiction on the SICC.