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.

The penal-compensatory dichotomy of liquidated damages clauses: Denka Advantech Pte Ltd v Seraya Energy Pte Ltd [2021] 1 SLR 631

I.          Executive summary Parties are generally free to contract as they wish, through exchanging promises and imposing obligations on one another that are enforceable in a court of law. However, there are specific limitations that the court has set on contracts, whether for policy or practical reasons.One such limitation is the ability of a party … Continue reading The penal-compensatory dichotomy of liquidated damages clauses: Denka Advantech Pte Ltd v Seraya Energy Pte Ltd [2021] 1 SLR 631

Establishing the Authenticity of a Document: CIMB Bank Berhad v World Fuel Services (Singapore) Pte Ltd and another appeal [2021] SGCA 19

Written by: Teo Kay Liang Alan, 2nd-year JD student                              I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe authenticity of a document is of paramount importance in the law of evidence.[1] This was illustrated in CIMB Bank Berhad v World Fuel Services (Singapore) Pte Ltd and another appeal [2021] SGCA 19, which concerned the authenticity of a deed of debenture, i.e. a document which creates or … Continue reading Establishing the Authenticity of a Document: CIMB Bank Berhad v World Fuel Services (Singapore) Pte Ltd and another appeal [2021] SGCA 19

The Right Time and Place for a Criminal Motion: Amarjeet Singh v Public Prosecutor [2021] SGHC 73

Written by: Adel Zaid Hamzah* I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYCriminal motions are routinely filed to seek a broad range of remedies associated with the court’s criminal jurisdiction. There being no explicit limits on the sort of remedies pursuable by way of a criminal motion, it risks being abused to subvert established mechanisms that gatekeep other court procedures. … Continue reading The Right Time and Place for a Criminal Motion: Amarjeet Singh v Public Prosecutor [2021] SGHC 73

Retirement from Trusteeship – Express and Statutory Powers: Chan Yun Cheong (trustee of the will of the testator) v Chan Chi Cheong (trustee of the will of the testator) [2021] SGCA 33

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.  

The precise ambit of the sealing requirement for deeds: Lim Zhipeng v Seow Suat Thin [2020] SGCA 89

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.[1] However, for a deed to be legally enforceable, several other formalities must be fulfilled. In particular, the deed must be “signed, sealed, and delivered”.

Wilful Blindness in the Context of the Presumption of Knowledge: Gobi a/l Avedian v Public Prosecutor [2021] 1 SLR 180

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.  

Deciding Priority between Two Competing Judgment Creditors: Singapore Air Charter Pte Ltd v Peter Low & Choo LLC and another [2020] 2 SLR 1399

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.

Conflicts in Legal Representation: Law Society of Singapore v Lee Suet Fern (alias Lim Suet Fern) [2020] SGHC 255

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[1] 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.

Limits on the Constitutional Right to Freedom of Assembly: Wham Kwok Han Jolovan v Public Prosecutor [2020] SGCA 111

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 [2020] SGCA 111.