Anti-suit injunctions in Singapore. The ‘quasi-contractual’ ground recognised.

 

Hai Jiang 1401 Pte. Ltd v. Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd. [2020] SGHC 20 involved an anti-suit injunction granted by Quentin Loh J on the ‘quasi-contractual’ ground under which a claim made in foreign proceedings is based on a contract subject to an arbitration or exclusive jurisdiction clause although the claimant is not a party to that contract.

A yard in Singapore had done work upgrading cranes on the ‘Seven Champion’ which was at that time on demise charter. The contract was with the demise charterer who were later wound up by the vessel owners who then concluded a new demise charter with another company. The yard subsequently arrested the vessel at Sharjah for unpaid sums due under the contract to upgrade the cranes and sought to have the substantive claim against the vessel owners  heard there. Owners sought an anti-suit injunction before the courts of Singapore on two grounds. First, they were the assignees of the former demise charterer’s arbitration clause in its contract with the yard. There was held to be a prima facie case of assignment to the shipowner of the arbitration clause in its contract with the yard to justify remission to the tribunal. Second, the yard’s claim was based on a contract with an exclusive Singapore law and arbitration clause. They sought to enforce the contract against third parties to that contract, the shipowner, and were bound by the arbitration clause in it. The proceedings in Sharjah were vexatious and oppressive. This was a situation recognised by the English courts as the ‘quasi-contractual’ ground for granting an anti-suit injunction and this ground was also recognised under the law of Singapore.

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