Legal Updates

Legal Updates for July 2016

Singapore Bankruptcy Amendment Act Comes Into Force
In July 2015, the Singapore Parliament passed the Bankruptcy Amendment Bill, which set the stage for the reform and updating of the bankruptcy regime. The imposition of these changes has been greatly anticipated, and the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Act 2015 will now come into force on 1 August 2016. In this Update, we highlight the key elements of the new bankruptcy regime, as well as what these changes mean in practice.

Regulations for the Administration of Mobile Internet Application Information Services
The People's Republic of China ("PRC") State Internet Information Office has recently issued the Regulations for the Administration of Mobile Internet Application Information Services ("Regulations"), and which will come into effect on 1 August 2016. It is the first mobile-app specific set of rules in PRC and aims at tightening the regulation of mobile Internet applications. This Update examines the key features of the Regulations, as well as its implications on business practices and decisions.

What Makes Up A House? – Examining the Boundaries of Ownership of Property
One of the features of Singapore's system of land and title ownership is clarity; boundaries must be properly delineated, ownership must be registered and caveats must be properly lodged. However, this system is a product of development, and earlier records of proprietary rights were sometimes not as clear. In Peh Kah Chan v Tan Chong Realty (Pte) Ltd [2016] SGHC 135, the Singapore High Court was faced with a property transfer from the 1950s, and had to consider how far a shophouse owner had rights over the surrounding land. Andre Yeap S.C. and Yam Wern-Jhien of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP served as instructed counsel for the Defendant in this matter.

The 2016 Indonesian Tax Amnesty
After a long and difficult gestation period, the Indonesian government has passed and enacted a new Tax Amnesty Bill (RUU tentang Pengampunan Pajak) ("Tax Law 11/2016") on 1 July 2016. This update provides an overview of the key features of Tax Law 11/2016.

Are Builders and Architects Liable for the Negligence of Their Sub-Contractors?
Construction projects often involve multiple specialists, including developers, builders, architects and sub-contractors. In the event of a claim for defects, the question arises as to which party will be held liable. In MCST Plan No 3322 v Tiong Aik Construction Pte Ltd and another [2016] SGCA 40, the Singapore Court of Appeal examined the apportionment of liability between builders and architects and their sub-contractors.

Guide to Public Mergers & Acquisitions in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand
This guide gives a brief comparative overview of certain key regulatory requirements relating to mergers and acquisitions ("M&A") of public-listed companies ("Listcos") in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

E-Tax Guide on the General Anti-Avoidance Provision of the Income Tax Act and its Application
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore ("IRAS") has, on 11 July 2016, issued guidance by way of an e-Tax Guide ("Guide") on the application of the Anti-Avoidance Provision, section 33 of the Income Tax Act. The Guide, available at IRAS’ website at www.iras.gov.sg, recognises that there is a spectrum of tax planning activities; at one end is legitimate tax planning, and at the other end is tax avoidance, which is planning that concerns the use of tax provisions in a manner that is not within the Parliamentary intent of those provisions.

This Update provides the key features of the Guide.

Competition Bites – ASEAN & Beyond
In the latest edition of our quarterly regional competition update, we provide a high-level roundup of the more interesting happenings around the globe from a competition law perspective. Competition regulators worldwide have not tired in their enforcement efforts, with multiple infringement decisions being issued and investigations launched in a varied range of industries. On merger notifications, we see cases where regulators have imposed fines on parties for failure to notify their acquisitions or joint ventures. In addition, regulatory interest in big data and e-commerce continues to increase, and these look to become the next big issues.

Updated Patent Registry Guidelines: Criteria for Allowing Post-Grant Amendments in Light of Recent Singapore Cases
The Registry of Patents recently issued Circular No. 1/2016, which will take effect from 30 June 2016. By this Circular, the Registry has notified that in addition to the requirements under Section 84 of the Patents Act (i.e. amendments to patents shall not disclose any additional matter or extend the protection conferred by the patent), the Registry of Patents will also assess applications for post-grant amendments to patents on the following criteria: (i) Whether relevant matters are sufficiently disclosed; (ii) Whether there was any unreasonable delay in seeking amendments; and (iii) Whether the patentee has gained an unfair advantage by delaying amendments which are known to be needed. This update highlights how two recent decisions of the Singapore Courts have contributed to the issuance of this Circular, how the above criteria have been applied judicially, and some points which patentees who wish to amend their patents ought to take note of.

SICC Releases First Full Judgment on Liability
In only the second case before the newly-minted Singapore International Commercial Court, and in the first full judgment on liability issued by the SICC, the court found in favour of the Plaintiffs represented by Paul Tan and Yam Wern-Jhien from Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP. This Update looks at the significant aspects of this decision.

Last Week to Respond to CCS Consultation on Amendments to Penalty and Enforcement Guidelines
This update provides a brief outline and discussion of the CCS's latest proposed amendments to the Penalty Guidelines and Enforcement Guidelines, which is up for public consultation until 8 July 2016.

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