Conference Notes: A Matter of Trusts

The SICC and SIDRA recently concluded a thought leadership event on dispute resolution options for trust disputes. The key issue was: given the increasing prevalence of alternative forms of dispute resolution (“ADR”), why was there still uncertainty as to whether trust disputes were amenable to ADR (and in particular, arbitration)? The distinguished panellists provided a stimulating discussion of the various conceptual and practical difficulties faced in submitting trust disputes to arbitration.

Sentencing Approach for Workplace Safety Breaches: Nurun Novi Saydur Rahman v Public Prosecutor [2019] 3 SLR 413

The recent case of Nurun Novi Saydur Rahman v Public Prosecutor was the first time an offence under s 15(3A) of the Workplace Safety and Health Act (“WSHA”) had been brought before the Singapore High Court. The High Court introduced a new two-stage sentencing framework to be applied to such offences. This paper examines the rationale and implications of the proposed sentencing framework.

Conference Notes: Forum (Non) Conveniens in England – Past, Present and Future

Dr Ardavan Arzandeh (Ardavan Arzandeh, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Bristol Law School) discussed his recently published book, Forum (Non) Conveniens in England: Past, Present, and Future (Hart Publishing, 2019) during a research seminar of the same name. Here are the conference notes for this discussion of the history. application, and direction of the doctrine of forum (non) conveniens in private international law.

Lost Chance – Acceptance at last? A commentary on Armstrong, Carol Ann v Quest Laboratories Pte Ltd [2018] SGHC 66

In the tort of negligence, damages are awarded if the claimant can establish that he has suffered loss. While most claims for loss in the tort of negligence usually revolve around physical damage, courts have recognised losses of a non-physical nature, including claims for pure economic loss or loss of genetic affinity. Courts, however, have consistently refused to recognise claims for a loss of chance in the context of medical negligence. Simply put, a lost chance arises where negligence on the part of the doctor deprives the patient of his chances of recovery.

Case Commentary: Ochroid Trading v Chua Siok Lui

Where a contract is illegal, the contract is void and the courts will not enforce the contract. Despite the simplicity of the foregoing logic, the concept of illegality in contract law – often used as a defence mechanism in lawsuits – has long vexed students and practitioners alike. As Lady Justice Gloster in Patel v Mirza (“Patel”) remarked, it is “almost impossible to ascertain or articulate principled rules from the authorities relating to the recovery of money or other assets paid or transferred under illegal contracts”. In Singapore, the Court of Appeal (“CA”) in Ting Siew May v Boon Lay Choo (“Ting Siew May”) sought to overcome this difficulty by establishing a two-stage approach to the application of the principles of statutory illegality, common law illegality and restitutionary recovery. In the later case of Ochroid Trading Ltd v Chua Siok Lui (“Ochroid”), the CA affirmed the Ting Siew May framework and the principles encapsulated within. In coming to its decision, the CA in Ochroid also considered and rejected the approach adopted by the UK Supreme Court in Patel, which, essentially, determines whether a contract should be struck down for illegality based on a range of factors.

Sex and Lies in Asia Pacific: A Comparative Study of Fraudulent Sex Criminalisation in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong

Report on a research seminar by Associate Professor Chen Jialin from Melbourne Law School on 30 January 2019. A/P Chen first noted that the criminal laws of Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong were derived from three different sources: Singapore’s from the Indian Penal Code, Hong Kong’s from English criminal law, and Taiwan’s from the German Penal Code. A/P Chen then compared how Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong treated fraudulent sex crimes, with focus on the issue of consent. He also highlighted how underlying societal attitudes could sometime transcend (or ignore) ostensible legal differences.

The validity of “No Oral Modification” clauses and the UKSC decision in Rock Advertising Limited v MWB Business Exchange Centres Limited [2018] UKSC 24

The recent UK Supreme Court’s decision in Rock Advertising Limited v MWB Business Exchange Centres Limited was highly anticipated. Modern litigation rarely raises new fundamental issues in the law of contract; this case, however, dealt with two. The first issue was whether a contractual term providing that an agreement can only be modified in writing and must be signed by both parties was effective. Such terms are commonly referred to as “No Oral Modification” clauses. The second issue was whether an agreement to vary a payment obligation was supported by consideration.