Indemnity Clauses in Singapore Commercial Contracts: A Legal Guide

Written by Team Farallon

  • Farallon Law Corporation
  • January 29, 2022


An indemnity is a contract between two parties that specifies a type of insurance payout for potential damages or losses. In an indemnity agreement, one party agrees to pay monetary compensation for any prospective losses or damages caused by the other party, as well as to accept legal responsibility for those damages.

What is an Indemnity Clause?

An indemnity clause is a contract provision that assigns certain defined legal and commercial risks to the contracting party that is best positioned to manage them. Indemnity clauses can sometimes be known as “indemnities” or “indemnified matters” in some instances.

An indemnity clause consists of a commitment from one group (the indemnifier) who is obligated to pay for the monetary loss incurred by the other party (the indemnified party) where a pre-agreed event does or does not happen.

For example, if you are the indemnified party, the indemnifier promises to hold you harmless against losses that fall within the terms of the indemnity.

Any incident described by the contracting parties, such as a natural disaster, can result in such damages.

  • a contract violation;
  • the fault or negligence of one of the parties; or
  • allegations of infringement of intellectual property rights by other parties.

In general, the scope of an indemnification provision will be determined by the parties’ intentions and bargaining power. Provisions that are excessively broad or poorly drafted, on the other hand, can lead to a number of issues.

Importance of an Indemnity Clause

Indemnity clauses are designed to put risks in the hands of those who are best prepared to manage them. Indemnity provisions are especially beneficial in business contracts with high risk and huge sums of money at stake because of the protection they provide.

In any situation where a party may be subjected to a large loss caused by the other party, indemnities are essential, particularly when it is not possible to predict how large the loss will be or how likely it will occur.

Drafting an Indemnity Clause

Majority of well-established companies apply detailed restrictions as to what indemnities they require, or if they accept an indemnity clause.

If a power imbalance exists, it will be reflected in he allocation of risks in the indemnity clause of the contractual agreement.

Understand the functions of the parties’ in the business and the potential risks

Drafting an indemnity clause requires it to be tailored to the unique business and legal risks involved with the project in question.The way it is written will depend on your function in the transaction and the role of the other party, whether you’re the buyer, seller, service provider, customer, licensor, or licensee.

An indemnity clause is influenced by the constraints of the business. There is no standardized indemnity clause.

Parties should be prepared to compensate the other for their own mistakes and intentional misbehavior

A general rule of thumb is that neither of the involved parties’ are expected to bear the risk of negligence or the willful misconduct of the other party. Instead, parties should be prepared to compensate the other for their own mistakes and intentional misbehavior.

The risk in question is often disproportionate for one party as the parties’ obligations under an agreement are usually asymmetrical.

The nature of the transaction itself will also have a bearing on the type of indemnities required.

Generally, a good rule to follow when deciding whether or not to agree to an indemnity request from another party is to assess whether the occurrence for which an indemnity is requested is more under your control or under the control of the other party.

In most cases, it is considered appropriate to require the party who has more control over an occurrence to compensate it.

How can Indemnity Clauses help those indemnified who have suffered losses?

The indemnified party receives compensation

Indemnities provide greater protection to the indemnified party because they do not have to show a link between their financial loss and the indemnity. Essentially, if the incident occurs, the indemnifier is obligated to pay.

To put it another way, the indemnity assigns risk to the indemnifier as the one that created it.

As long as the indemnifier has money to pay, this technique essentially eliminates that risk for the indemnified party.

Debts owed by the indemnified party are offset by the indemnifier

An indemnification obligation can also be considered as a “debt” payable to the indemnified party.

This means that if an indemnified party suffers a loss covered by an indemnity, instead of having to go to court to establish its claim, it can balance whatever money it owes to the indemnifier (i.e. lower the payments it pays under the indemnifier’s invoices).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Indemnity Clauses


  • There is no requirement to prove the indemnified party’s financial loss. The indemnifier is required to pay the indemnified party.
  • It removes the need for legal proceedings.


  • Both the indemnifier and the indemnified party may be harmed by indemnities with confusing language. A provision that is ambiguously written runs the danger of not being held liable for losses that the parties expected it to cover. Improperly drafted provisions can lead to overexposure to responsibility, with the indemnifier being held liable for losses that were not anticipated.

Should I include an Indemnity Clause in my contract?

An indemnification clause is a significant risk-shifting mechanism that can drastically affect the rights of contract parties. As a result, indemnity clauses are frequently thoroughly negotiated and reviewed to ensure that parties are well-protected and in the best possible position.

An indemnity clause should be properly worded and read carefully. To provide the right level of protection, the provision should be tailored to the specified unique circumstances and needs.


In most cases, indemnity provisions are derived from business agreements and are intended to protect specific commercial risks. Indemnity provisions are sometimes appropriate for the contract’s conditions or even required for the parties to fulfil their obligations. Before including an indemnity clause in a contract, it must be properly negotiated. A badly worded indemnity clause might have serious implications.

Owing to ambiguity in the design of an indemnity provision, the indemnity may not be held liable for losses that they believed it to cover. It is therefore critical to write the indemnity terms correctly and accurately. They are significant because they move the loss from one party to another, which may have been caused by the former’s negligence. When in doubt, it is recommended to consult a legal expert.

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