Singapore Ratifies Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements
1. Singapore has today ratified the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (“the Convention”). The ratification will bolster Singapore’s position as a dispute resolution hub in Asia. The Convention will come into force for Singapore on 1 October 2016.
2. The Convention has two basic aims – first, to ensure that exclusive choice of court agreements in favour of courts of Contracting States are effectively enforced, and second, that judgments rendered by the chosen courts are recognised and enforced in Contracting States.
3. The ratification strengthens Singapore’s position as a dispute resolution hub in Asia in the following ways:
a) If a Singapore court is the chosen court of an exclusive choice of court agreement covered by the Convention, the dispute must be heard in Singapore only. This strengthens the enforcement of agreements which specify Singapore courts as the exclusive dispute resolution forum; and
b) The courts of other Contracting States will be obliged to recognise and enforce the Singapore court judgment on that dispute. This enhances the international enforceability of Singapore court judgments, including those of the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC). This will make the SICC a more attractive dispute settlement option as a neutral litigation venue.
4. Singapore will be the first to implement the obligations under the Convention by way of a dedicated piece of legislation, namely, the Choice of Court Agreements Act, which was passed in Parliament in April this year.
5. The instrument of ratification was deposited by Ms Thian Yee Sze, Director- General of the Legal Group of the Ministry of Law. The instrument was deposited at a special ceremony held on the second day of the Special Commission on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments organised by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
6. Singapore signed the Convention on 25 March 2015. The Convention came into force on 1 October 2015. Currently 28 States are party to the Convention, which is in force in the European Union and all its member states (except Denmark) and Mexico. The Convention has also been signed by the United States and Ukraine, but has yet to be ratified by these two countries.
7. Legal sector stakeholders including the judiciary, Law Society, industry practitioners and academia were actively consulted prior to the signing of the Convention and in the drafting of the Choice of Court Agreements Bill.
MINISTRY OF LAW
2 JUNE 2016