In keeping with the principle of minimal curial intervention, Singapore courts are extremely reluctant to intervene in the conduct and outcomes of arbitral proceedings, outside of the avenues permitted by the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration or the International Arbitration Act. While dissatisfied parties may nonetheless attempt to devise creative tactics to get around this principle, the case of Republic of India v Vedanta Resources plc demonstrates that the courts are both highly sensitive to and extremely critical of any attempts to do so, as such attempts would be regarded as improper and vexatious, and constitute an abuse of the processes of the court.
The Covid-19 Pandemic as a Supervening Event in the Assessment of Damages: iVenture Card Ltd and others v Big Bus Singapore City Sightseeing Pte Ltd and others  1 SLR 302
When a contract is breached, the general rule in assessing damages is that the innocent party should be compensated with a sum that would place them in the same position they would have been in had the contract not been breached. Often, those damages will be calculated based on the conditions at the time of the breach, a rule known as the “breach-date” rule. In iVenture Card Ltd v Big Bus Singapore City Sightseeing Pte Ltd, the Court of Appeal considered whether disruptive external events occurring after the breach such as the Covid-19 pandemic could be taken into account to reduce the amount of damages the innocent party receives.
Should penalties imposed under Prevention of Corruption Act cases take into account monies already repaid?: Public Prosecutor v Takaaki Masui and another and other matters  1 SLR 1033
The Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) penalizes those who engage in corruption. Section 13(1) of the PCA states that a court may order a person convicted of an offence under the PCA to pay a penalty equal to the amount or value of the bribe. In Public Prosecutor v Takaaki Masui, the SGCA decided that monies already returned, repaid or disgorged by the authorities should be deducted from the penalty imposed under section 13(1) of the PCA, as it serves to prevent corrupt recipients from retaining their ill-gotten gains.
Clarifying the application of the Riddick principle: Ong Jane Rebecca v Lim Lie Hoa and other appeals and other matters  SGCA 63
The Riddick Undertaking refers to an implied undertaking not to use documents disclosed during discovery for any collateral purpose. In Ong Jane Rebecca v Lim Lie Hoa, the Court of Appeal laid out a framework delineating the approach that should be taken in cases involving the Riddick undertaking. This framework explains the extent and scope of the Riddick undertaking, and clarified the situations in which parties seeking to use disclosed documents are required to seek leave of court.
Ascertaining the delicate balance between justice and finality: Public Prosecutor v Pang Chie Wei and others  SGCA 101
Finality and justice are twin pillars of the criminal justice system. A presumption of finality attaches to every judgment rendered by the court, lending credence to the notion that justice has been done and may be treated as having been done. Only in exceptional cases may applicants may successfully have their case readjudicated based on subsequent changes to the law. In PP v Pang Chie Wei, the apex court considered where the delicate balance between finality and justice properly lies.
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.
Collaboration with the Supreme Court
In a new collaboration with the Supreme Court, SMU Law students (under SMU Lexicon) will pen articles on a number of issues concerning the rule of law, so as to foster greater public awareness of how cases are decided as well as the legal processes involved.
The Murderer’s Defence: challenging a murder charge under s 300 of the Penal Code
A conviction of murder is one with grave implications, one which may result in a sentence of death, or of life imprisonment. Against this backdrop, it is crucial to understand what defences are available to an accused person alleged of criminal homicide. Was the accused provoked into killing the deceased? Was the accused unable to comprehend his actions due to a mental infirmity? And more importantly, do these factors alone justify one’s exculpation? These questions are explored in this article, where focus is placed on several defences typically raised by an accused where the charge of murder is concerned.
Defence of Diminished Responsibility for a Premeditated Murder? Ahmed Salim v Public Prosecutor  SGCA 6
The defence of diminished responsibility is made out when the accused is proven to suffer from a recognised abnormality of mind that substantially impaired his mental responsibility for the murder. It is difficult to see how accused persons in cases of premeditated murder can avail themselves to this defence. Nevertheless, the CA in Ahmed Salim v PP examined the issue and held that such a defence was not precluded.
Which Costs Regime Applies for Which Court: CBX and another v CBZ and others  SGCA(I) 4
There are separate costs regimes governing proceedings in the Singapore courts. Costs in civil proceedings in the SGHC are governed by the Rules of Court, while costs in proceedings commenced in the SICC are governed by the SICC Rules. However, what was unclear is which costs regime applied when a matter is transferred from the SGHC to the SICC. In CBX v CBZ, the SGCA has clarified the law as to how costs should be assessed pre and post transfer. Further, the CA also provided a clear approach as to the assessment of quantum of costs.