Foreign bodies corporate appearing without legal representation in Singapore International Commercial Court matters?
The recent Court of Appeal case of Offshoreworks Global (L) Ltd v POSH Semco Pte Ltd  SGCA(I) 4 clarifies that the prohibitions against corporate self-representation in O5 r6(2) and O12 r1(2) of the Rules of Court (“ROC”) apply to matters heard by the Singapore International Commercial Court (“SICC”).
The leave mechanism in O1 r9(2) of the ROC is not available to foreign bodies corporate appearing in SICC matters.
This decision reveals a lacuna in the current legal regime governing corporate self-representation by foreign bodies corporate.
It is surprising that this issue had not surfaced earlier. Although the Court of Appeal took a pragmatic approach by concluding that the Appellant had suffered minimal prejudice as it had ample notice to secure legal representation, this lacuna needs to be addressed with legislative amendments very quickly as the SICC continues to hear many matters involving at least one party which is a foreign body corporate.
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