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Interpreting and Enforcing Conflicting Jurisdiction and Arbitration Clauses in the Singapore Courts: Silverlink Resorts Ltd v MS First Capital Insurance Ltd [2020] SGHC 251 [Case Comment]

Shouyu Chong

(2021) 33 SAcLJ 1177

This article observes that there may be at least three substantially different contexts under which conflicting jurisdiction and arbitration clauses may be construed: (a) when the conflict (broadly) occurs within the same contractual document, under a section providing for dispute resolution mechanisms; (b) when the conflict occurs amidst a chain of contracts or related contracts concluded by the parties in such a manner where one does not supersede the other; and (c) in poorly-structured multi-tiered dispute resolution mechanisms. This article also provides a brief contrast regarding the interpretation and enforcement of coexisting jurisdiction and arbitration agreements by the courts. Against this detailed background, this article critiques the High Court’s judgment in Silverlink Resorts Ltd v MS First Capital Insurance Ltd [2020] SGHC 251, arguing that the court ought to have first paid meticulous attention to the precise drafting of the disputed clause, before turning to precedents for assistance in its interpretation.