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.

The Limits to Freedom of Contract: Leiman, Ricardo and another v Noble Resources Ltd and another [2020] SGCA 52

In line with the principle of freedom to contract, the courts will give effect to the intention of the parties in creating their contract, and also hold them to their duty to perform their primary obligations under such contract. However, where the contracting parties agree to vest certain decision-making powers to a specific (non-judicial) entity, to what extent may a court review the exercise of powers by such entity?

Dealing with the neighbour from hell

In a perfect world, we would all live in neighbourhoods with perfectly manicured lawns, picture-perfect houses and most importantly, friendly neighbours who ask about your day. Unfortunately, in population-dense Singapore, where housing grows narrower, this perfect world may be out of reach for most of us. And with so many Singaporeans living at close quarters with each other, disputes are bound to come up.

Erring on the Side of Disclosure: the Prosecution’s Additional Disclosure Obligations under Muhammad Nabill bin Mohd Fuad v Public Prosecutor [2020] 1 SLR 984

The Prosecution has been described as owing “a duty to the court and to the wider public to ensure that only the guilty are convicted, and that all relevant material is placed before the court to assist it in its determination of the truth”. However, what exactly does the scope of this duty entail? The Court of Appeal (“CA”) addressed this question in Muhammad Nabill bin Mohd Fuad v Public Prosecutor [2020] 1 SLR 984.