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A Step or a Misstep in Court – Preserving the Right to Arbitration

Tay Yong Seng

(2017) 29 SAcLJ 454

Arbitration agreements are well respected under Singapore law. A party to an arbitration agreement can usually enforce it in a Singapore court, unless he has delivered a pleading or otherwise taken any other “step” in court proceedings (see s 6 of the International Arbitration Act). The “step” is not defined in the Act, but case law has developed around the concept of such a “step”. These authorities will be examined to delineate the boundaries and characteristics of the “step”. This article will analyse some common themes under which the right to arbitration may be lost or curtailed by taking (mis)steps in court, and seeks to identify the overarching rationale for the “step” doctrine.