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The Evolution of the Singapore Courts’ Analysis of Whether an Issue is “Alive” in Challenges to Arbitral Awards

Daniel Chia Hsiung Wen, Ker Yanguang & Wong Ru Ping Jeanette

[2022] SAL Prac 23

In the recent decision of PhoenixFin Pte Ltd v Convexity Ltd [2022] 2 SLR 23 (“Convexity”), the Singapore Court of Appeal upheld the challenge to an arbitral award. In Convexity, the tribunal had invited parties to submit on a new issue, extended timelines for further evidence and submissions and made a number of entreaties to the applicant’s witnesses to attend a resumed evidentiary hearing – which the applicant’s witnesses refused. So what went wrong? This article traces the evolution of the Singapore courts’ analysis of whether an issue is “live” and what is expected of tribunals seeking to insert new issues or consider new arguments. It tracks some of the key developments in the past 15 years and culminates in Convexity – one of three decisions in the last year which, the authors submit, sets out the analytical framework and lens which are likely to be adopted by the Singapore courts in future challenge applications.