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Singapore allows “No-Win, No-Fee” and “No-Win, Less-Fee” arrangements for arbitration and SICC proceedings

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Sheila Ahuja

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Hodgson Matthew
Matthew Hodgson

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Joanne Lau

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Mainwaring-Taylor Christopher
Christopher Mainwaring-Taylor

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Rainbird John
John Rainbird

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Suh Jae Hee
Jae Hee Suh

Senior Associate

Singapore

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05 May 2022

Historically, Singaporean law prohibited third party funding arrangements and outcome-related fee structures (ORFS) such as “No-Win, No-Fee” or “No-Win, Less-Fee”. 

However, other common law jurisdictions, such as England and Wales and Australia, have relaxed their equivalent laws and now permit some third party funding and ORFS to some extent. Singapore took its first steps towards levelling the playing field when it legalised third party funding for arbitration and the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) proceedings in 2017 and 2021 respectively. However, the prohibitions on ORFS remained.

This is now set to change. With effect from 4 May 2022,1 Singapore-based lawyers may enter into conditional fee arrangements (which are a form of ORFS) for arbitrations, certain proceedings in the SICC, and related court and mediation proceedings. These reforms are expected to boost Singapore’s competitiveness as a leading hub for arbitration and cross-border dispute resolution. 

This bulletin provides an overview of the key features of Singapore’s ORFS reforms by considering the following questions: 

  1. What are ORFS?

  2. Which forms of ORFS are legal?

  3. Is there a cap on “uplift fees”?

  4. Can “uplift fees” be recovered from the unsuccessful party?

  5. What are the requirements for an ORFS agreement? 

  6. How does Singapore’s ORFS regime compare with the ORFS regimes in other jurisdictions?

1Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2022 (Commencement) Notification 2022, available at: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/SL-Supp/S332-2022/Published/20220428?DocDate=20220428

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