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The Singapore High Court considers its power to grant permanent injunctive relief in support of international arbitration proceedings

28 May 2014
In R1 International Pte ltd v Lonstroff AG the Singapore High Court dismissed an application for a permanent anti suit injunction in support of arbitration proceedings, finding that there was no arbitration agreement.  Nevertheless the court considered, obiter, its powers to grant permanent relief.

R1 International, a Singapore company, applied to make permanent an interim anti-suit injunction restraining Lonstroff AG (the respondent), a Swiss company, from pursuing proceedings in a Swiss court on the basis of a disputed sale of rubber.

The court dismissed the application and discharged the interim injunction as it found there was no arbitration agreement. The transaction had been agreed by email, and the subsequent contract (containing an arbitration agreement) supplied by the applicant was not signed by the respondent and did not record the agreement.  There was insufficient evidence of a trade custom of referring disputes to arbitration and the sole previous contract performed between the parties was insufficient to constitute a course of dealing.

Nevertheless, the Court went on to conclude, obiter, that although its powers under section 12(A)(2) and section 12(1)(i) of the International Arbitration Act (the IAA) were limited to granting interim injunctive relief in support of international arbitrations, its general powers, under section 4(10) of the Civil Law Act, did empower it to grant such relief on a permanent basis to support international arbitrations seated in Singapore, although perhaps not proceedings seated abroad.

The case illustrates the importance of agreeing terms at the conclusion of a transaction. The court’s finding that its powers to support international arbitration proceedings are not limited to those within the IAA is in line with English law developments.

*A version of this article was originally published by Practical Law Arbitration http://uk.practicallaw.com/country/arbitration

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