Legal Updates for April 2016
Intellectual Property Update: Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia
This Intellectual Property Update compiles a selection of recent published cases relating to intellectual property in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Choice of Court Agreements Act - Enhancing International Dispute Resolution in Singapore
On 14 April 2016, the Singapore Parliament passed the Choice of Court Agreements Act ("CCAA"), which gives effect to the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (the "Hague Convention") and enhances cross-boundary dispute resolution by providing a framework for the mutual recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments of states which are parties to the Hague Convention. This Update takes a look at the key elements of the CCAA, as well as its potential impact on dispute resolution in Singapore.
Standalone Cybersecurity Bill to be Tabled Next Year
A standalone Cybersecurity Bill ("Bill") will be tabled in Parliament next year to keep pace with the evolving cyber security landscape in Singapore and beyond. This was revealed by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Committee of Supply Debate on 11 April 2016. The new Bill will ensure that the operators of Singapore's critical information infrastructure ("CII") take proactive steps to secure such CIIs and report incidents of cyber security breaches. It will also empower the Cyber Security Agency to manage cyber incidents and raise the standards of cyber security providers.
This Update provides an overview of the potential scope, and the intended change and effect of the new Bill on organisations. It also offers general pointers on what organisations should do at this time, even before the Ministry of Communications and Information conducts public consultation for this new Bill.
PDPC Issues Report on Enforcement Actions Taken Against Errant Companies and New Advisory Guidelines on Enforcement
On 21 April 2016, the Personal Data Protection Commission ("Commission") released details of the various enforcement actions it has taken against errant organisations that have infringed the Personal Data Protection Act since the data protection provisions of the Act came into force on 2 July 2014. The Commission has also issued a new set of Advisory Guidelines on Enforcement of the Data Protection Provisions, providing greater clarity on the Commission's approach to enforcement actions.
We set out in this Update a brief overview of the key points in the Commission's report, and highlight what information can be found in the new advisory guidelines.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Intellectual Property: Potential Changes in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam
On 4 February 2016, the Trans-Pacific Partnership ("TPP") was signed between 12 countries, of which Rajah & Tann Asia is present in 3 (Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam). Chapter 18 of the TPP sets out various provisions relating to intellectual property which signatories are expected to implement into their legislation, if these provisions are not already part of each signatory's law. In this article, we hope to give a snapshot of the level of compliance of the current laws of Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam with the intellectual property provisions of the TPP, and provide some examples of areas where changes may be forthcoming in future.
2016: A Manpower-lean and Productive Economy, with a Strong Singaporean Core
During the Committee of Supply debate on 8 April 2016, the Ministry of Manpower highlighted that labour policies will be focused along three main thrusts: (a) A manpower-lean and productive economy, (b) a strong Singaporean Core in the workforce, and (c) a competitive Singapore workforce at a global level. This Update will provide a brief summary of these policy thrusts and other key announcements in Singapore's employment landscape.
Public Consultation on the Draft Mediation Bill
The Ministry of Law launched on 17 March 2016 a public consultation on the draft Mediation Bill ("Bill"). The introduction of the Bill gives effect to one of the recommendations made by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group to strengthen the overall framework for mediation in Singapore. The public consultation closes on 28 April 2016.
This Update highlights the key features of the draft Bill.
Obtaining Discovery Against Banks
In the course of a commercial dispute, it is not uncommon for parties to seek information and documents relating to bank accounts. However, obtaining pre-action discovery against a bank may not be a simple matter, as applicants must fulfil the discovery requirements without breaching banking secrecy rules. The case of La Dolce Vita Fine Dining Co Ltd and another v Deutsche Bank AG and another  SGHCR 3 presents an example of a successful application for pre-action discovery against two banks. The decision provides a look at the framework which must be satisfied before such discovery is allowed.
Budget 2016 – Tax Updates
Budget 2016 was delivered on 24 March 2016. This budget laid the road map for Singapore’s next 50 years, towards SG100. The main aim of this year’s budget is to assist Small and Medium Enterprises. We are pleased to highlight the tax changes announced in Budget 2016.
Competition Bites – ASEAN & Beyond
The first quarter of 2016 has been a busy one, particularly for the Competition Commission of Singapore ("CCS"). This Update brings to you short highlights of the decisions issued by the CCS in the first quarter of 2016, as well as other key competition-related legal and economic developments in ASEAN and key jurisdictions across the world. Written in a basic, easy to understand manner, this Update aims to assist businesses in understanding and recognising key competition issues in their business practices and / or dealings.
Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill 2016 Passed
The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill 2016 ("Bill"), read for the first time in Parliament on 29 February 2016, was passed on 14 March 2016. It seeks to amend the existing Mental Capacity Act ("MCA") to better protect individuals who have lost mental capacity. This Update provides the key amendments to the MCA as set out in the Bill.