On 2 June 2016, the Singapore Ministry of Law announced that Singapore has ratified the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (the “Convention”) in an aim to bolster Singapore’s position as a dispute resolution hub in Asia. The Convention will come into force in Singapore on 1 October 2016.
Singapore’s Ministry of Law notes that “The Convention has two basic aims – first, to ensure that exclusive choice of court agreements in favour of courts of Contracting States are effectively enforced, and second, that judgments rendered by the chosen courts are recognised and enforced in Contracting States.”
The ratification strengthens Singapore’s position as a dispute resolution hub in Asia for two significant reasons:
- If the chosen court of an exclusive choice of court agreement covered by the Convention is a Singapore court, the dispute must be heard only in Singapore; and
- The courts of other Contracting States will be obliged to recognize and enforce the Singapore court judgment on that dispute, thereby enhancing the international enforceability of Singapore court judgments.
The Convention came into force on 1 October 2015. Currently 28 States are party to the Convention, which is in force in Mexico, the European Union and all its member states (excluding Denmark). The Convention has also been signed but not yet ratified by the United States and the Ukraine.