Singapore to Ratify Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements

von Peter Bert

We have covered the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements on several occasions (see, most recently, here and here). Now, the Convention is about to get a new party, and Patrick Dahm, a partner in my firm’s Singapore office, has the details:

On April 14, 2016, the Singapore Parliament has passed the Choice of Court Agreements Bill, about a year after Singapore signed the Convention on March 2015. The Bill is pending presidential assent and publication in the Government Gazette, which will bring it into force.

With this, the number of Convention parties will increase to three nominally, but effectively to 28: prior to Singapore, the Convention had been signed and ratified by Mexico and the European Union (spanning the EU itself and its members except Denmark). Signatories which have yet to ratify the Convention are the USA and Ukraine.

The Convention requires its parties to procure that their courts uphold and recognise an exclusive agreement on a choice of court in another Convention state in an international civil or commercial matter. If a court not chosen in the agreement is called upon, it will have to stay all proceedings (unless the chosen court refuses to accept jurisdiction). Furthermore, the Convention requires its parties to procure that their courts enforce judgments of the courts of other Convention states designated in a choice of court agreement (unless one of the exceptions in the Convention applies).

Singapore’s Choice of Court Agreements Act implements the Convention regime. It acknowledges that where the parties to an international civil or commercial contract have chosen a Singapore court as the exclusive venue to settle a legal dispute, this Singapore court will have jurisdiction (unless the choice of court agreement is null and void under Singapore law) ...

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