Court documents that initiate proceedings against foreign states must be served on ministry of foreign affairs

In what has been described as an issue that has taken the court “into unchartered waters as far as Singapore jurisprudence was concerned”, the High Court of Singapore, in Josias Van Zyl and others v Kingdom of Lesotho [2017] SGHC 104, recently dealt with the issue as to whether an order granting a party leave to enforce an arbitral award against a State should be served in accordance with section 14 of the State Immunity Act (Cap 313, 2014 Rev Ed).

The High Court considered the statutory interpretation of the Act which was based on the UK State Immunity Act and the English authorities of Norsk Hydro ASA v State Property Fund of Ukraine and others [2002] EWHC 2120 (“Norsk Hydro”) and PCL and others v Y Regional Government of X [2015] EWHC 68 (“PCL”) and found that any court document which initiates the mechanism and power of the courts must be served on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as required by s 14 of the Act.

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