An application to enforce a foreign arbitral award as a judgement of the Federal Court. The applicant, HongKong Henson Industrial Limited, entered into a contract to purchase mineral sands from the respondent, Victorian Ferries Pty Ltd. The contract provided for disputes concerning the contract to be settled by arbitration subject to the rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (‘SIAC’). SIAC made a Final Award in favour HongKong Henson against Victorian Ferries.
HongKong Henson sought to enforce the SIAC award in the Federal Court. The contract containing the arbitration clause had been executed by way of it being signed by Victorian Ferries in Melbourne then being scanned and emailed to Hongkong Henson in Shanghai where it was printed out, signed, scanned and emailed back to Victorian Ferries. Hongkong Henson misplaced the ‘wet ink’ original of its counterpart copy. Colvin J held that the requirement in section 9 of the International Arbitration Act 1974 (Cth) to produce the original or duly certified copy of the arbitration agreement was satisfied, as the inclusion of a scanned copy of the arbitration clause in the award amounted to authentication of it by the arbitrator, and additionally, the person at Hongkong Henson who had printed out and scanned the counterpart copy gave evidence which satisfied him that the version produced to the court was a true copy of the electronic counterpart. Further, the Court determined that judgment should be entered in Australian dollars.
Shane Monks appeared for the Applicant, instructed by King & Wood Mallesons.
The judgment is published here.
King & Wood Malleson’s article ”Wet Ink’ Out of Style? Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in the Electronic Era’ considers some implications of the judgment.