In the decision of BOI v BOJ, the Court of Appeal clarified that lottery winnings received during a marriage constitute matrimonial assets to be divided between parties, should they divorce. The court also set out the approach to attributing contributions from lottery winnings. Instead of examining who purchased the winning ticket, the court will focus on the intention with which the ticket was purchased. For parties seeking a divorce, this approach creates a greater responsibility to clearly show their intention that the winnings be fully attributed to them.
In a collaboration with the Supreme Court, SMU Law students (under SMU Lexicon) are reporting on selected Court of Appeal judgments, highlighting the significant points, so as to foster greater public awareness of these cases and their implications. The summaries are available on the Supreme Court of Singapore Website, and are reproduced here on SMU Lexicon's website as well.
In Singapore Medical Council v Dr Soo Shuenn Chiang  SGHC 250, psychiatrist Dr Soo Shuenn Chiang received a call regarding a patient (“Complainant”) from someone he thought was the Complainant’s husband. The caller informed Dr Soo that the patient was suicidal and needed to be brought to the Institute of Mental Health for an urgent assessment of her suicide risk. Dr Soo then wrote a memorandum (“Memorandum”), with pertinent information about the Complainant’s medical history, to be used by the police and ambulance staff. Dr Soo left the Memorandum with his clinic staff, with instructions that it should be handed to the Husband. However, unknown to Dr Soo, it was the Complainant’s brother who collected the Memorandum. The Complainant lodged a complaint with the SMC, and Dr Soo was subsequently found guilty of professional misconduct under section 53(1)(d) of the Medical Registration Act (Cap 174, 2014 Rev Ed). On appeal, the High Court ("HC") set aside the conviction. In its ruling, the HC clarified when a doctor may disclose a patient's confidential medical information without the patient's consent, and also that doctors are under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the information is not mishandled or released negligently to unauthorised persons.
In the case of BLV v Public Prosecutor  SGCA 62, the Singapore Court of Appeal ("CA") found that the offender, who had falsified his evidence and even procured a witness to do the same, had abused the process of the court. In light of such conduct, the CA imposed a significant "uplift" (or increase) on the offender's existing sentence. In doing so, the CA discussed the factors that the court would consider for imposing an uplift which was due to an offender's abuse of the court's process.
On 22 August 2019, SMU School of Law welcomed Professor Birke Häcker (Professor of Comparative Law and Director of the Institute of European and Comparative Law at the University of Oxford), for a discussion on comparative law. She provided ‘a personal roadmap to comparative law’, touching on the history and origins of the field, as well as some basic comparative methodologies. She also shared her views on the future of comparative law in Singapore.
Since its inception in 2011, the Attorney-General's Cup – the brainchild of former Attorney-General, Professor Walter Woon, SC – has played an instrumental role in introducing law undergraduates to the intricacies of criminal law. The 2019 edition of the competition had a scenario considering the criminal sanctions for the offence of "making atmosphere noxious to health of persons in general". 3rd-Year LL.B. student Marcus Chia Hao Jun reports on the finals held on 29 August 2019.
When a case goes on appeal, parties often try to adduce (or offer) new evidence as part of the appeal. Generally, where the new evidence concerns matters which occurred before the date of the decision in the court below, parties are allowed to offer such evidence only with leave (or permission) from the higher court. This is in the interests of finality in litigation, and also of the fair administration of justice (so as to incentivize parties to advance their entire case at trial, rather than deliberately leave over points solely for the purpose of appeals and thereby obtaining a “second bite at the cherry”).