A Balanced Approach to Causation in Breaches of Fiduciary Duty: Sim Poh Ping v Winsta Holding [2020] SGCA 35

A fiduciary is someone who has undertaken to act for or on behalf of another (his principal). As such, a fiduciary owes an obligation of loyalty to the principal. Indeed, the principal relies on the fiduciary to act in his or her best interests, and is especially vulnerable to the fiduciary’s breach of duty. Thus, it has been observed that a fiduciary owes his or her principal the highest standard of duty known to the law. It is also well-established that a director of a company has a fiduciary relationship with the company.

A Modified Approach to Breach of Confidence: I-Admin (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Hong Ying Ting and others [2020] SGCA 32

Can an employer sue a former employee for the mere wrongful copying, abuse and exploitation of protected information, without also having to prove that the employee wrongfully used the information? This was the question before the Court of Appeal (“CA”) in I-Admin (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Hong Ying Ting and others [2020] SGCA 32.

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.

Unpacking Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Public Prosecutor v GCK [2020] SGCA 2

What happens when a criminal act is alleged, and the only evidence is from a sole eyewitness (i.e. the evidence is uncorroborated)? In Public Prosecutor v GCK [2020] SGCA 2, the Singapore Court of Appeal clarified that the "unusually convincing" standard applies to such cases as well, and is not just limited to cases dealing with sexual offences. Furthermore, a stricter standard is not to be imposed for cases dealing with sole eyewitnesses.

Charities, Contracts and Conspiracy: Singapore Shooting Association and others v Singapore Rifle Association [2019] SGCA 83

Singapore Shooting Association and others v Singapore Rifle Association [2019] SGCA 83 was the latest instalment in a series of cases about a long-running dispute between Singapore Shooting Association (“SSA”) and Singapore Rifle Association (“SRA”). This decision by the Court of Appeal, addressed issues of contractual indemnities, disproportionate litigation and the tort of unlawful means conspiracy.

Clarifying the distinction between fact and belief probability: Armstrong, Carol Ann v Quest Laboratories Pte Ltd [2019] SGCA 75

In cases involving medical negligence, lawyers for both parties often use, as evidence, voluminous amounts of scientific and statistical evidence. However, parties may incorrectly confuse what the evidence shows, with what is required by the legal standard of proof. In Armstrong, Carol Ann v Quest Laboratories Pte Ltd [2019] SGCA 75, the Court of Appeal clarified the proper approach in using statistical evidence to prove negligence

The appropriate sentencing framework for sexual assault by penetration cases: BPH v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGCA 64

Section 376 of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed) (“PC”) sets out the offences of sexual assault by penetration, including those through: digital-vaginal penetration; digital-anal penetration; and fellatio. The case of Pram Nair v Public Prosecutor [2017] 2 SLR 1015 (“Pram Nair”) established a sentencing framework for cases of sexual assault through digital-vaginal penetration. However, it left open the following questions: (a) whether the Pram Nair framework should apply to other forms of sexual assault by penetration, and (b) whether there was a hierarchy of severity, for the various permutations of “sexual assault by penetration” under section 376 of the PC. The Court of Appeal answered these questions in BPH v Public Prosecutor.

Misstep or malpractice: When does a doctor’s actions constitute professional misconduct? Singapore Medical Council v Dr Lim Lian Arn [2019] SGHC 172

Doctors are expected to uphold high standards when dispensing medical treatment to patients. However, not every misstep by a medical practitioner amounts to professional misconduct. Where a doctor does depart from acceptable standards of conduct, disciplinary action is warranted only where such departure is egregious. As highlighted in Singapore Medical Council v Dr Lim Lian Arn [2019] SGHC 172, the law seeks to strike a balance between (a) ensuring that serious misconduct and failings are duly censured, and (b) guarding against over-penalisation of doctors.