The extent of auditors’ liability in negligence has, on the whole, been a settled area of law, stemming from the important English case of Caparo Industries Inc v Dickman (“Caparo”). The decision in Caparo with respect to negligent audit work has been followed in Singapore and other Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada. Nonetheless, with the benefit of legal advice, disclaimers of liability limiting auditor liability to the audit clients have crept into auditors’ reports.
In PH Hydraulics & Engineering v Airtrust, the Singapore Court of Appeal (“CA”) addressed a significant point of law in respect of the availability of punitive damages for the breach of contract by a party. In their judgment, the CA held that concept of punishment has no place in the common law of contract. This case note aims to highlight the various arguments put forth by the CA in refusing to award punitive damages.
The recent Court of Appeal decision in Hii Chii Kok v Ooi Peng Jin London Lucien (“Hii Chii Kok”) has been a long time coming. Affirming the demise of the antiquated Bolam-Bolitho test in relation to pre-treatment advice, this decision also adds Singapore to a growing list of countries which have embraced the concept of patient autonomy. This paper will briefly describe the court decisions, before proceeding to an analysis of both the Bolam-Bolitho test, and the new legal test propounded by the Court of Appeal.
The interplay between law and policy has long been a bone of contention in the courts, underpinned by the famous declaration that public policy is an “unruly horse” – once you are astride it, it may lead you astray from the sound law. This could be said to be particularly pertinent to the defence of illegality – where a person claiming restitution has premised his case upon an illegality, public policy has traditionally dictated that his claim be barred (the “illegality defence”, or “defence of ex turpi causa”).