Singapore: What happened in 2020 and significant events in 2021
Arbitration and Disputes
Singapore Convention on Mediation Act 2020: The Convention came into force on 12 September 2020 following the deposit of the instruments of ratification or approval by Singapore, Fiji, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Belarus and Ecuador. With the Convention’s entry into force, the Singapore Convention on Mediation Act 2020 similarly commenced on 12 September 2020.
Amendments to International Arbitration Act: Following a public consultation exercise in 2019, two key amendments to the International Arbitration Act came into force in December. The amendments relate to (i) powers to enforce confidentiality obligations, and (ii) the introduction of a default mode of appointment of arbitrators in multiparty situations.
Key dispute resolution cases: In BNA v BNB  1 SLR 456, the Singapore Court of Appeal held that where a dispute resolution clause is silent as to the governing law of the arbitration agreement, the starting point is generally that the law of the arbitration agreement would follow the main agreement unless displaced by indications to the contrary.
In BP Singapore Pte Ltd v Jurong Aromatics Corp Pte Ltd (receivers and managers appointed) and others and another appeal  1 SLR 627, the Singapore Court of Appeal held that there is no mutuality and insolvency set-off is not available as between unsecured debts owed by a company to trading partners incurred prior to receivership, and secured debts owed by the same trading partners to the company incurred during the receivership.
In AnAn Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd v VTB Bank (Public Joint Stock Co)  1 SLR 1158, the Singapore Court of Appeal clarified the position under Singapore law that where there is a disputed debt or a cross-claim that is subject to an arbitration agreement, the courts will apply a prima facie standard of review such that winding-up proceedings should be stayed or dismissed so long as (i) there is a valid arbitration agreement between the parties, and (ii) the dispute falls within the scope of that arbitration agreement, provided that the dispute is not raised by the debtor in abuse of the court’s process.