Court of Appeal of the Republic of Singapore | In a case arising out of a vehemently contested arbitration where the Tribunal after carefully going through the viewpoints of both the parties considered it essential to revert the matter back to the Judge who ordered remission for the resolution of dispute, a bench comprising of Sundaresh Menon, CJ, Judith Prakash, JCA and Jonathan Hugh Mance*, IJ., dismissed the appeal with costs upholding the judgment given by the Tribunal while reiterating that the Tribunal’s jurisdiction is only revived “to the extent of” the remission ordered.

Factual Matrix

An appeal was filed under Or. 21 R. 20 of the Singapore International Commercial Court Rules, 2021 against an order of the International Judge.

CKH claimed that they raised numerous issues relating to the principal debt and interest which CKG had disputed as they fell outside the scope of the remission ordered. The Tribunal, after carefully going through the viewpoints of both the parties recorded in the judgment, that it considered it imperative for the parties to revert to the Judge who had ordered remission for the resolution of the dispute.

Appellant’s contention

The appellant contended that the Judge “erred in holding that the Tribunal’s determination of the amount of the Principal Debt had to be subject to appellant’s concessions” as to the amount of the principal debt outstanding in April, 2011. The appellant also contended that the imposition of an interest rate of 2% compounded monthly was never canvassed before the Tribunal in relation to the principal debt and hence, the rate of interest so imposed is not justified.

The appellant also submitted that they are entitled to challenge and require proof of what sums owe by way of the principal debt. The contention was raised that the parameters fixed by the recitals are not open to being revisited before the Tribunal on the basis of which the remission was ordered.

The appellant submitted that, even though the parties agreed that the outstanding Principal Debt would carry interest at the rate of 2% compounded monthly, they must be allowed to argue that the penalty so imposed was unreasonable and should be considered unenforceable. They also contended that during the period from 20-12- 2011 to 3-11- 2014, CKG was not claiming the Principal Debt and hence the penalty at the rate of 2% shall not be imposed for that period.

Opinion and Analysis

Placing the reliance on Soh Beng Tee & Co Pte Ltd. v. Fairmount Development Pte Ltd, [2007] 3 SLR(R) 86 at [27], L W Infrastructure Pte Ltd. v. Lim Chin San Contractors Pte Ltd., [2014] 1 SLR 1221 at [41]-[42] and AKN v. ALC, [2016] 1 SLR 966 at [47], the Court held that the order challenged was carefully defined and had precisely specified what a tribunal should do and apart from the remission ordered, “there was no ground on which the appellant or the Tribunal itself can seek to re-open or expand the subject matter of the award or arbitration.” It was also opined by the Court that it was highly unlikely that the BANI award could lead to double recovery.

The Court further observed that the remission was ordered on the parameters fixed by the Recitals and is not open to be revisited before the Tribunal on the remission.

The Court also concluded that all the arguments regarding the rate interest of 2% compounded monthly fell outside the scope of the limited remission ordered.

[CKH v. CKG, [2022] SGCA(I) 6, decided on 30-08-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Hee Theng Fong, Toh Wei Yi, Poon Pui Yee and Leong Shan Wei Jaclyn (Harry Elias Partnership LLP), Counsel for the Appellant;

Tan Beng Hwee Paul and Victor Yao Lida (Cavenagh Law LLP), Counsel for the Respondent.

*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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