To Leave or Not to Leave – Guidelines for Leave Applications from the Appellate Division to the Court of Appeal: UJM v UJL [2021] SGCA 117

In 2021, Singapore's court system underwent a momentous change with the creation of the Appellate Division of the High Court. In UJM v UJL, the Court of Appeal (“CA”) clarified the statutory scheme allowing for appeals from Appellate Division decisions to the Court of Appeal. The CA also explained what the requirements under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act and the Rules of Court entail.

Can a Doctor’s Private WhatsApp exchanges bring Disrepute to the Medical Profession?: Ong Kian Peng Julian v Singapore Medical Council and other matters [2022] SGHC 302

Doctors are medical professionals whom patients trust with personal information. But what happens when doctors share their patients’ contacts with each other in their own private WhatsApp exchanges? In Ong Kian Peng Julian v Singapore Medical Council, the Singapore High Court held that sharing patients’ contacts with one another could amount to improper conduct that brought disrepute to the medical profession, warranting significant penalties.

Are NFTs property?: Janesh s/o Rajkumar v Unknown Person (“CHEFPIERRE”) [2022] SGHC 264

Non-Fungible Tokens (“NFTs”) have, in recent times, emerged as highly sought-after collectors’ items. This has resulted in a number of disputes involving NFTs. A question has arisen over whether NFTs are capable of giving rise to proprietary rights, which could be protected via a proprietary injunction. In Janesh s/o Rajkumar v Unknown Person, the High Court answered this issue in the positive, granting the claimant’s application for a proprietary injunction over the NFT in question.

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.

Clarifying the Position on Compositions: Teo Seng Tiong v Public Prosecutor [2021] SGCA 65

Minor traffic offences are often the subject of compositions under section 135 of the Road Traffic Act to enable the efficient disposition of these less serious traffic violations. In Teo Seng Tiong v Public Prosecutor, the Court of Appeal held that offences compounded under the RTA or any other law can be taken into account in sentencing for any future offence, and may form the basis of an increase in the overall sentence of such offence.

Time Bars and Novel Factors in Unjust Enrichment: Esben Finance Ltd and others v Wong Hou-Lianq Neil [2022] SGCA(I) 1

The law of unjust enrichment deals with situations where one party is required to make restitution of a benefit acquired at the expense of another in unjust circumstances. In Esben Finance Ltd and others v Wong Hou-Lianq Neil, the Court of Appeal considered the applicability of the Limitation Act to claims in unjust enrichment, and in what circumstances a lack of consent ought to be recognised as an unjust factor. The Court also gave its provisional views on illegality as a bar to an unjust enrichment defence.

The Principle of Minimal Curial Intervention in Arbitrations seated in Singapore: Republic of India v Vedanta Resources plc [2021] 2 SLR 354

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 [2022] 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 [2022] 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.