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Memorandum of Understanding between the Supreme Court of Singapore & DIFC Courts on References of Questions of Law

Memorandum of Understanding between the Supreme Court of Singapore & DIFC Courts on References of Questions of Law

January 20, 2015


MoU with Singapore

The Supreme Court of Singapore and the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) Courts (hereafter referred to individually as “the Party” or “each Party” and collectively as “the Parties”):

RECOGNISING the relationship between the Parties as an important element in promoting and facilitating legal co-operation;

CONVINCED OF the value of close co-operation for mutual benefit in the field of the administration of justice;

RECOGNISING the difficulties and costs involved in traditional processes for determining questions of law by the judges of one Party with respect to the law applicable in the jurisdiction of the other Party;

ACKNOWLEDGING the innovative procedure adopted by certain common law courts of referring questions of foreign law to each other’s courts such as in Westacre Investments Inc v The State-Owned Company Yugoimport SDPR (also known as Jugoimport-SDPR) [2009] 2 SLR(R) 166 and Westacre Investments Inc v Yugoimport SDPR [2008] EWHC 801 (Comm.)




If an issue in proceedings before one Party is governed by the law of the other Party, each Party will give consideration, in accordance with its Rules and procedures, to directing the parties in the proceedings to take steps to have any contested issue of law determined by the courts of the Party of the governing law.


The consideration referred to in Article 1 may include:

(i)       the identification of the precise question of foreign law to be answered;

(ii)      the identification of the facts or assumptions upon which the answer to the question is to be determined;

(iii)     the identification of whether and, if so, in what respects the Parties may depart from the facts or assumptions and/or vary the question to be answered in any proceedings in the court of the other Party.


Upon the institution of proceedings for the answer to a question pursuant to Articles 1 and 2, the court of each Party undertakes to provide an answer to the referred question of law as expeditiously as its procedures allow.


In addition to the procedure for assistance and cooperation set forth in Articles 1 and 2, each Party shall take steps to encourage other less formal forms of communication and consultation between the Parties regarding questions of law.


Differences arising from the interpretation, operation and implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding will be settled amicably through consultation between the Parties based on the principles of mutual understanding and respect.


(i)        This Memorandum will come into effect on the date of its signing.

(ii)        This Memorandum may be terminated early by either Party giving written notice to the other Party and such termination will take effect three calendar months after the date of written notice.

(iii)       This Memorandum will terminate five calendar years after the date of signing at which time it is anticipated that the procedures herein referred to will be sufficiently well established not to require a succeeding agreement.

(iv)        This Memorandum has no binding legal effect. It does not constitute a treaty or legislation, is not binding on the judges of either party and does not supersede any existing or future laws, judicial decisions or court rules.


SIGNED this 19th day of January, 2015 by:


 Sundaresh Menon

Chief Justice

Supreme Court of Singapore

Michael Hwang, SC

Chief Justice

DIFC Courts