Collaboration with the Supreme Court

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.

Jurisdiction over a foreign contemnor: Li Shengwu v Attorney General [2019] SGCA 20

In July 2017, the appellant Li Shengwu published a post on Facebook stating that the “Singapore government is very litigious and has a pliant court system. This constrains what the international media can usually report.” The Attorney-General ("AG") considered this statement to be made in contempt of court, specifically scandalising the courts (or “scandalising contempt”). Li argued in the High Court that the courts had no jurisdiction (or authority) over him, as leave to serve the committal papers on him out of jurisdiction had been wrongly given. As such, service should be set aside and not be considered effective. The High Court disagreed. On appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's judgment. 

To plead or not to plead? Qualifying a guilty plea during mitigation: Public Prosecutor v Dinesh s/o Rajantheran [2019] SGCA 27

In Public Prosecutor v Dinesh s/o Rajantheran [2019] SGCA 27, the Court of Appeal (“CA”) answered two questions by the Prosecution, regarding the proper interpretation of section 228(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68, 2012 Rev Ed) (“CPC”). Under section 228(4), the court “must reject” a party’s guilty plea if it is satisfied that any matter raised in mitigation “materially affects any legal condition” which constitutes the underlying offence.

By-elections for single vacancies in GRCs: Wong Souk Yee v Attorney-General [2019] SGCA 25

In Singapore, there are two types of electoral divisions – Single Member Constituencies (“SMCs”) and Group Representation Constituencies (“GRCs”). The number of seats in a GRC varies from 4 to 6 seats. The GRC scheme was introduced in 1988 with the goal of promoting greater minority representation. As such, each GRC must have at least one Member of Parliament (“MP”) from a minority racial group. In Wong Souk Yee v AG [2019] SGCA 25, the Court of Appeal (“CA”) addressed the question of whether a by-election for all the seats of the GRC is required when only one MP vacates his or her seat in the GRC. The CA held that a by-election is not required under such circumstances.

Arbitration: A second chance to object to the tribunal’s jurisdiction – Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd v Avant Garde Maritime Services (Private) Limited [2019] SGCA 33

In Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd v Avant Garde Maritime Services (Private) Limited [2019] SGCA 33, a respondent disagreed with an arbitral tribunal’s ruling that the tribunal had jurisdiction over the respondent’s dispute with the claimant, and did not participate in arbitral proceedings over the dispute. The respondent also did not appeal the ruling within the 30-day period. The Court of Appeal held that the respondent was not precluded by Article 16(3) of the UNCITRAL Model law from raising such objections in setting-aside proceedings.

A Code of Conduct for Collective Sale Committees:   Kok Yin Chong and others v Lim Hun Joo and others [2019] SGCA 28

In Kok Yin Chong v Lim Hun Joo [2019] SGCA 28, a group of subsidiary proprietors (the “Dissenting SPs”) attempted to block the collective sale of the residential development Goodluck Garden, by challenging the conduct of three (out of six) members of the Collective Sale Committee (“CSC”). Specifically, they appealed against a decision by the High Court (“HC”) to order the collective sale of the development, on the basis that the three members of the CSC (the “Respondents”) had breached the Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158, 2009 Rev Ed) (the “LTSA”) in their conduct of the sale.