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COURT OF APPEAL CLARIFIES POSITION OF WINDING UP VS ARBITRATION (Singapore)

NO&T Asia Legal Review

*Please note that this newsletter is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. In addition, it is based on information as of its date of publication and does not reflect information after such date. In particular, please also note that preliminary reports in this newsletter may differ from current interpretations and practice depending on the nature of the report.

Background
In a recent judgment rendered in April 2020, the Singapore Court of Appeal set aside a winding up order issued by the High Court at first instance and upheld an arbitration agreement pursuant to which a dispute in relation to the underlying debt claim was to be determined.

This decision, AnAn Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd v VTB Bank (Public Joint Stock Company) [2020] SGCA 33 (“AnAn Group v VTB Bank”) is significant on two fronts. First, it affirms the generally pro-arbitration stance adopted by the Singapore courts. Second, the position in Singapore is now clear that winding up proceedings will ordinarily be stayed or dismissed where the debtor can show that (i) there is a valid arbitration agreement between the parties and (ii) the dispute in respect of the debt falls within the scope of the arbitration agreement. The court would only refuse to grant a stay or dismissal in exceptional circumstances, such as where the debtor engages in an abuse of process or there is no genuine dispute in relation to the debt.

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