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.
This case involved two trustees of a testamentary trust, both of whom alleged that they had resigned as trustees. Trusteeship is a serious appointment that comes with responsibilities. Under the Trustees Act (Cap 337, 2005 Rev Ed) (“Trustees Act”), which governs trusts in Singapore, once a person takes up a trusteeship, he cannot simply relinquish his duties at will but must do so in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust instrument.
Parties (“creditors”) who loan money to others (“debtors”) are often concerned that the debtors will be unable or unwilling to repay them. Such creditors may then enter into deeds of guarantee with third parties (“guarantors”) to secure the repayment of their loans if their debtors default on payment of the same. Unlike a contract, a deed does not require consideration to be legally enforceable. However, for a deed to be legally enforceable, several other formalities must be fulfilled. In particular, the deed must be “signed, sealed, and delivered”.
Under section 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2008 Rev Ed) (the “MDA”), it is an offence, with consequences that may extend to the mandatory death penalty, to import into or export from Singapore controlled drugs. As part of proving the charge, the Prosecution must prove that the accused was both in possession of, and had knowledge of the controlled nature of the drugs involved. Further, under section 18 of the MDA, the Prosecution is also allowed to rely on a presumption - under certain circumstances - that the accused did indeed have said possession (section 18(1)) and knowledge (section 18(2)). If the accused is unable to rebut these presumptions, the elements of possession and knowledge are made out under section 7.
Where a judgment in respect of a debt is concerned, a “judgment creditor” is the party to whom the debt is owed, and a “judgment debtor” is the party who has been ordered by the court to pay a sum of money – the “judgment debt” – to the judgment creditor. However, obtaining the court order alone will not necessarily provide the judgment creditor with satisfaction, as the judgment debtor may not want to, or may not be able to, satisfy the judgment debt.
It is not surprising that the law regulates the conduct of lawyers, especially when it comes to the lawyer’s duty to the client. In such relationships, lawyers are placed in positions of trust, with clients relying on them for their expertise, integrity, and judgement. The law thus obliges lawyers to act with utmost loyalty and care in dealing with their clients. Such duties are not restricted to situations where a lawyer expressly enters into a retainer agreement with a client (i.e. an express retainer). For example, where an express retainer is not established, but the parties nevertheless act in a manner which conveys a lawyer-client relationship, a retainer may still be implied, with similar duties imposed on the lawyer. Further, even if no retainer is established, a lawyer can still be sanctioned if his/her conduct is found to be unbefitting of a lawyer.
Is section 16(1)(a) of the Public Order Act (Cap 257A, 2010 Rev Ed) (“the POA”), which restricts the constitutional right of peaceable assembly, a valid derogation from Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Cap 1, 1985 Rev Ed) (“the Constitution”)? This question was considered by a five-judge coram of the Court of Appeal (“the CA”) in Wham Kwok Han Jolovan v Public Prosecutor  SGCA 111.
Among all the doctrines of contract law, perhaps the most academic ink has been spilt on the doctrine of consideration. Broadly, consideration is a benefit (or detriment) provided or suffered by one party, in exchange for the other party entering into the contract.
Under section 34 of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed) (“Penal Code”), can the Prosecution charge two different people based on a common intention to commit a criminal act between them, but press a more serious charge against one accused person and a less serious charge against the other (“differing common intention charges”)? The Court of Appeal (“CA”) held that there was nothing under section 34 which required the Prosecution to bring identical charges against all who were charged pursuant to a common intention to do a criminal act. Further, there were good reasons why there was no general rule requiring the Prosecution to do so.
In line with the principle of freedom to contract, the courts will give effect to the intention of the parties in creating their contract, and also hold them to their duty to perform their primary obligations under such contract. However, where the contracting parties agree to vest certain decision-making powers to a specific (non-judicial) entity, to what extent may a court review the exercise of powers by such entity?