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.

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.

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.

Updating and rectifying the Constitution: Wong Souk Yee v Attorney-General

The High Court in the recent matter of Wong Souk Yee v Attorney-General introduced techniques of statutory interpretation heretofore absent from Singapore constitutional law. In interpreting Article 49(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (“the Constitution”), Chua Lee Ming J (“Chua J”), faced with a seemingly conflicting provision in s 24(2A) of the Parliamentary Elections Act (“PEA”), had recourse to an updating construction and a rectifying construction of Article 49(1). This case note briefly analyses the judgment and explores some fundamental issues arising from employing these two methods of statutory interpretation on constitutional provisions.

Ah Boys to Men: Training Deaths and Accountability

Croesus might have been mistaken when he commented that “in peace, sons bury fathers, but in war fathers bury sons”. Training accidents do occur, and soldiers pay the ultimate price. On 18th April 2018, Corporal Dave Lee, a full-time National Serviceman, succumbed to heat injury following his fast march. Since then, allegations of the “reckless” behaviour of the training commanders involved have surfaced.

Negotiating Damages for Breach of Contract: Morris-Garner v One-Step Support Ltd [2018] UKSC 20

At the quantification stage in breach of contract claims, claimants must sometimes think out of the box. Where no loss has been suffered or loss is hard to prove, one solution is to argue for “negotiating damages”, or damages for breach of contract assessed by reference to the sum a claimant could hypothetically have received in return for releasing the defendant from the obligation breached. Unfortunately, the principles regarding their availability have been so lax and uncertain that negotiating damages have been labelled “jackpot damages”. In Morris-Garner v One Step (Support) Ltd, the UK Supreme Court considered the issue for the first time and sought to remedy this unsatisfactory state of affairs.