The SIAC Rules 2016 may be ubiquitous to most lawyers. In a recent case that we acted in, we were faced with Rule 32.11 of the SIAC Rules 2016, which states as follows:

“Subject to Rule 33 and Schedule 1, by agreeing to arbitration under these Rules, the parties agree that any Award shall be final and binding on the parties from the date it is made, and undertake to carry out the Award immediately and without delay. The parties also irrevocably waive their rights to any form of appeal, review or recourse to any State court or other judicial authority with respect to such Award insofar as such waiver may be validly made.”

For parties to whom the Arbitration Act (Cap 10, 2002 Rev Ed) applies, Rule 32.11 may pose problems. Section 49 of the Arbitration Act permits a party aggrieved over the outcome of an arbitration to commence proceedings in Court for leave to refer a question of law to the Court for determination. If the SIAC Rules 2016 apply, the aggrieved party would have waived its right to recourse under Section 49 of the Arbitration Act. In such a scenario, it is important that should an aggrieved party be mistaken as to the effect of Rule 32.11 and commence court proceedings under Section 49 of the Arbitration Act despite Rule 32.11, the defending party must ensure that an objection to jurisdiction is taken out at the earliest instance.

We conclude with the following story.

In a recent case, we acted for a party which had commenced court proceedings under Section 49 of the Arbitration Act despite the incorporation of Rule 32.11 in the agreement. The defendant chose not to object to the court’s jurisdiction to hear the application for leave to refer a question of law to the Court. Subsequently, the defendant tried to strike out the application. However, it was unsuccessful – the Court held that its failure to object to the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter had greatly compromised its merits of the striking out application and thus the hearing of the substantive leave proceedings would proceed.

Moral of the story: It is crucial to be aware of the terms of the SIAC Rules 2016 and its impact on the party’s ability to obtain recourse from the courts.