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.

Sentencing Intellectually Disabled Young Offenders: Public Prosecutor v ASR [2019] SGCA 16

In Public Prosecutor v ASR [2019] SGCA 16, the Court of Appeal (“CA”) discussed the appropriate sentencing approach for a young offender, the respondent, who committed serious crimes, including aggravated rape and sexual assault by penetration on an intellectually disabled young girl, but who was also himself intellectually disabled, with a mental age of between eight and ten. The respondent was 14 years old when he committed the offences in question. When he was convicted in 2017, he was about 16 ½ years old. He was nearly 18 years old at the time of sentencing, in 2018.

Medical Negligence: Breaching the duty of care – Noor Azlin Binte Abdul Rahman v Changi General Hospital Pte Ltd & others [2019] SGCA 13

At the heart of Noor Azlin Binte Abdul Rahman v Changi General Hospital Pte Ltd & others [2019] SGCA 13 is the allegation that the three named doctors who attended to patient Noor Azlin binte Abdul Rahman (“Ms Azlin”) at Changi General Hospital (“CGH”) over a four-year period, as well as CGH, were negligent. Azlin argues that their negligence delayed the detection of the malignancy which resulted in her having lung cancer, and caused her to suffer the loss of a better medical outcome. The High Court (“HC”) found that the two Accident and Emergency (“A&E”) department doctors who saw Ms Azlin did not breach their duty of care. Conversely, the HC found that CGH, as well as CGH specialist respiratory physician Dr Imran Bin Mohamed Noor (“Dr Imran”) had indeed breached their respective duties of care. The HC nonetheless dismissed Ms Azlin’s claim of negligence against them, as she was unable to show that their actions had resulted in her delayed diagnosis. On appeal, while the Court of Appeal (“CA”) upheld the HC’s decisions regarding the three doctors, it allowed her claim of negligence against CGH.

Catch Me If You Can: Claiming jurisdiction over an overseas defendant – Shanghai Turbo Enterprises Ltd v Liu Ming [2019] SGCA 11

The appellant, Shanghai Turbo Enterprises Ltd (“Shanghai Turbo”), is a Singapore-listed company that owns Hong Kong-incorporated Best Success (Hong Kong) Ltd, which in turn owns China-incorporated Changzhou 3D Technological Complete Set Equipment Ltd (“CZ3D”). The respondent, Liu Ming (“Liu”), owned approximately 30% of the shares in Shanghai Turbo. He was also a director of all three companies, and held other management positions there. In April 2017, Shanghai Turbo fired Liu from all his positions in the companies, allegedly because of declining levels of profit under his management. Subsequently, Shanghai Turbo filed a suit against Liu for breaching his service agreement (“the Agreement”) with Shanghai Turbo in several ways, including disclosing confidential information to a competitor, and diverting business away from CZ3D. The complication for Shanghai Turbo was that Liu was a Chinese citizen who resided in Changzhou, China. Generally, the court can only adjudicate on disputes between parties if it has jurisdiction (or authority to hear and determine the matter) over them. However, Singapore courts generally do not have jurisdiction over parties, unless those parties voluntarily submit to the court’s jurisdiction or have been served with the necessary originating processes. Furthermore, where a defending party resides outside of Singapore, the initiating party has to go through the added step of obtaining the court’s permission to serve the originating processes overseas.