Singapore International Commercial Court - Originating Summons No 6 of 2022 (Summons No 5882 of 2021) and Originating Summons No 7 of 2022
Philip Jeyaretnam J, Vivian Ramsey IJ and Douglas Jones IJ
Philip Jeyaretnam J (delivering the judgment of the court):
1 This matter principally concerns an arbitral tribunal’s invocation of the doctrine of collateral estoppel under New York law, which precluded the reopening of certain issues in a Singapore seated arbitration. We consider, in accordance with established case law, that even if the tribunal had been wrong to do so, this would amount to no more than an error on the merits of the claim, and would not ground any challenge to the award. In this judgment, we explain why we have concluded this, as well as deal with arguments put forward to resist enforcement of part of the costs order made by the tribunal.
2 Lao Holdings NV (“LH”) and Sanum Investments Ltd (“Sanum”) (collectively, the “Investors”) took out SIC/OS 7/2022 (“OS 7”) to set aside an arbitral award (the “Award”) which found in favour of the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (“GOL”), San Marco Capital Partners LLC (“SM”) and Kelly Gass (“Gass”) (collectively, the “GOL Parties”). The Investors also filed a related application in SIC/OS 6/2022 (“OS 6”), HC/SUM 5882/2021 (“SUM 5882”), to set aside an ex parte order of court (HC/ORC 4993/2021 (“ORC 4993”)) which granted the GOL Parties leave to enforce the Award.
3 OS 7 and SUM 5882 are continuations of a long-running dispute relating to the Investors’ investments in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (“Laos”), which has been the subject of numerous decisions from the Singapore courts: see, eg, Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic v Sanum Investments Ltd  2 SLR 322, Sanum Investments Ltd v Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic  5 SLR 536, Sanum Investments Ltd v ST Group Co, Ltd and others  3 SLR 225, ST Group Co Ltd and others v Sanum Investments Ltd and another appeal  1 SLR 1 and Lao Holdings NV v Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and another matter  5 SLR 228 (“Lao Holdings (HC)”). The lengthy and fraught history between parties has been described at length in these prior decisions, and we will only set out the salient facts which provide context to and have a bearing on the present applications.