The background

In BXS v. BXT the parties to a sale and purchase agreement provided under Clause 19 for three arbitrators and incorporated the Singapore International Arbitration Centre Rules, provide for the possibility of an Expedited Procedure with a sole arbitrator, unless the parties have agreed otherwise.

The arbitral proceedings

Upon application by the Defendant, the proceedings were conducted by a sole arbitrator, who found in favour of the Defendant.

The Plaintiff applied to the Court of Singapore to set aside the award on the ground that proceedings decided by a sole arbitrator were in breach of the arbitration agreement, which had provided for three arbitrators.

The judgment

The Court held that if the parties wished to have three arbitrators, in spite of the SIAC rules which provide, if so required by a party, for a sole arbitrator, they should have expressly stated this. In the absence of that, the appointment of a sole arbitrator was not in breach of the arbitration agreement.

Comments

This decision is not convincing. In case of a conflict between the express choice by the parties and a different provision contained in incorporated standard rules, the principle that the express intention of the parties should prevail on incorporated standard rules stands, without the need for the parties to state this.