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The Evolution of Cross-Border Insolvency in Singapore

Casey Watters & Paul J Omar

(2023) 35 SAcLJ 618

The global financial crisis and economic crisis in the wake of COVID-19 have highlighted the need for co-operation between states in an economically interconnected world. Building on the concept of comity, the common law has developed to facilitate co-operation between countries but, through cases like Antony Gibbs & Sons v La Société Industrielle et Commerciale des Métaux (1890) LR 25 QBD 399, the common law in some jurisdictions has pushed back against this trend. As a regional financial centre, Singapore was a leader in developing a common law regime to recognise and assist foreign insolvency proceedings and became the second South-East Asian country to adopt the UNCITRAL Model Law in 2017. This article critically analyses the evolution of cross-border insolvency law in Singapore from the colonial era to the contemporary parallel common law and statutory regimes and the unique characteristics of Singapore schemes.