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Cross-Border REIT “Insolvencies” and Recognising Foreign Insolvency-Related Judgments in Singapore: Re Tantleff, Alan [2022] SGHC 147

Rabin Kok

(2023) 35 SAcLJ 153

In the important decision of Re Tantleff, Alan [2022] SGHC 147 (“Re Tantleff”), Aedit Abdullah J declined to recognise the US restructuring of a Singapore-listed real estate investment trust (“REIT”) under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency as enacted in Singapore (the “Singapore Model Law”). No Singapore court has considered these issues before. Abdullah J commented, without deciding, that common law recognition might be possible instead. This article unpacks this comment and argues that such common law recognition is not possible. Re Tantleff also departs from Re Rooftop Group International Pte Ltd [2020] 4 SLR 680 and the UK Supreme Court’s decision in Rubin v Eurofinance SA [2013] 1 AC 236, by ruling that the Singapore courts can recognise foreign insolvency-related judgments and possibly apply foreign insolvency law under the Singapore Model Law. Abdullah J therefore recognised orders ancillary to the Chapter 11 plans of the REIT’s subsidiaries under the Singapore Model Law. This article considers if this was right, and how the law may develop in future.