Conflicts in Legal Representation: Law Society of Singapore v Lee Suet Fern (alias Lim Suet Fern) [2020] SGHC 255

It is not surprising that the law regulates the conduct of lawyers, especially when it comes to the lawyer’s duty to the client. In such relationships, lawyers are placed in positions of trust, with clients relying on them for their expertise, integrity, and judgement. The law thus obliges lawyers to act with utmost loyalty and care in dealing with their clients. Such duties are not restricted to situations where a lawyer expressly enters into a retainer agreement[1] with a client (i.e. an express retainer). For example, where an express retainer is not established, but the parties nevertheless act in a manner which conveys a lawyer-client relationship, a retainer may still be implied, with similar duties imposed on the lawyer. Further, even if no retainer is established, a lawyer can still be sanctioned if his/her conduct is found to be unbefitting of a lawyer.

Limits on the Constitutional Right to Freedom of Assembly: Wham Kwok Han Jolovan v Public Prosecutor [2020] SGCA 111

Is section 16(1)(a) of the Public Order Act (Cap 257A, 2010 Rev Ed) (“the POA”), which restricts the constitutional right of peaceable assembly, a valid derogation from Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Cap 1, 1985 Rev Ed) (“the Constitution”)? This question was considered by a five-judge coram of the Court of Appeal (“the CA”) in Wham Kwok Han Jolovan v Public Prosecutor [2020] SGCA 111.

Changes to Sentencing Guidelines for Workplace Negligence: Mao Xuezhong v Public Prosecutor [2020] SGHC 99

In recent years, the higher courts have been issuing more sentencing guidelines to ensure the consistency of sentences being meted out to offenders. In Mao Xuezhong v Public Prosecutor (“Mao Xuezhong”), a three-Judge coram of the High Court issued a new sentencing guideline for offences under s 15(3A) of the Workplace Safety and Health Act (“WSHA”):

Gender Roles Have Changed – The Law on Maintenance Should Too

The Women’s Charter marked a significant swing for gender equality in Singapore. Its founders wanted to foster the principle of equality between women and men through its enactment.[1] Under the Charter, both spouses are regarded as equal beings capable of cooperating with each order to promote the interests of the marriage.

Recently, the debate on issues relating to gender equality has received much attention in the public forum. On 20 September 2020, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam has announced that the Singapore government will review crucial issues on gender equality which will culminate in a White Paper by the first half of next year.

Differing Common Intention Charges: Public Prosecutor v Aishamudin bin Jamaludin [2020] SGCA 70

Under section 34 of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed) (“Penal Code”), can the Prosecution charge two different people based on a common intention to commit a criminal act between them, but press a more serious charge against one accused person and a less serious charge against the other (“differing common intention charges”)? The Court of Appeal (“CA”) held that there was nothing under section 34 which required the Prosecution to bring identical charges against all who were charged pursuant to a common intention to do a criminal act. Further, there were good reasons why there was no general rule requiring the Prosecution to do so.

Dealing with workplace bullies

According to a survey by Kantar, Singapore has one of the highest levels of workplace bullying in the world. In just the past year, one in every four Singapore employee has felt bullied, undermined or harassed at the workplace. These acts of bullying can take many forms and come from many different people, including your co-workers, managers and customers.