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.

Getting to the Root of the Problem: Written Representations to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods

The phenomenon of the spread of deliberate falsehoods has been exacerbated in the current day and age with the usage of technology. An examination of this issue shows that that the motivations and reasons for spreading such falsehoods have not changed. Instead, the primary mischief lies in the near instantaneous dissemination and ease of access via internet intermediaries. Despite this, there is a gap in the regulatory tools available to deal with this mischief. The solution hence should lie in imposing some sort of liability on internet intermediaries to remove deliberate falsehoods. Nevertheless, it is crucial that such intermediary liability must be carefully calibrated to minimize restrictions on the right to freedom of expression.

Punitive Damages & Contract Law: Implications of Airtrust

In PH Hydraulics & Engineering v Airtrust, the Singapore Court of Appeal (“CA”) addressed a significant point of law in respect of the availability of punitive damages for the breach of contract by a party. In their judgment, the CA held that concept of punishment has no place in the common law of contract. This case note aims to highlight the various arguments put forth by the CA in refusing to award punitive damages.