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Serious irregularity: “Advocates’ Eyes Only”

Arbitration Law Monthly

Serious irregularity: “Advocates’ Eyes Only”

The Singapore Court of Appeal in China Machine New Energy Corporation v Jaguar Energy Guatemala LLC and Another [2020] SGCA 12 has upheld the first instance decision of Kannan Ramesh J. The key issue was the use of an “Advocates’ Eyes Only” Order in respect of a series of important documents where there was some ground for a fear that the documents might be used for purposes other than the arbitration. The question was whether the Order was an infringement of the rules of natural justice.

Other allegations of unfairness were also made. The case was decided under Article 34 of the UNCITRAL Model Law and section 24 of the Singapore International Arbitration, which are in the same terms and which adopt for the purposes of challenges to Singapore arbitration awards the grounds of refusal of enforcement applicable to international arbitration awards under the New York Convention 1958. Those grounds are not identically worded in section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996, but they amount to much the same thing.

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