Legal Updates

Legal Updates for August 2016

SGX Seeks Feedback on Proposals to Refine Minimum Trading Price (MTP) Framework
After a review of the current minimum trading price ("MTP") framework and receiving industry feedback, the Singapore Exchange ("SGX") is proposing to refine the MTP framework and make the entry criteria for the MTP watch-list more targeted, with the addition of a market capitalisation test. SGX's proposals were set out in a consultation paper titled "Refinements to the Minimum Trading Price Framework" that was published on 23 August 2016. The consultation ends on 23 September 2016.

This Update takes a look at SGX's proposals set out in the Consultation Paper.

Are you Licensed to Claim? - The licensing regime under the Singapore Building Control Act
Builders carrying out building works in Singapore would be familiar with the licensing regime under the Building Control Act (Cap 29, 1999 Rev Ed) (the "Act"). The failure to obtain the necessary licences under the Act brings with it sometimes dire consequences, including the liability for fines as well as a possible imprisonment of up to 12 months, or the loss of right to be paid. In Nam Hong Construction & Engineering Pte Ltd v Kori Construction (S) Pte Ltd [2016] SGCA 42, the Court of Appeal examined whether a sub-contractor required a Specialist Builder's License under the Act for the performance of specialist building works.

The Employment Claims Tribunals – A Consolidated Forum for Salary Disputes
The Employment Claims Bill was passed in the Singapore Parliament on 16 August 2016. The Bill introduces a new forum for the resolution of salary-related disputes between employers and employees – the Employment Claims Tribunals ("ECT"). The ECT aims to provide a more consolidated and cost-efficient avenue for salary-related claims of up to $20,000 (or $30,000 where unions are involved). The introduction of the ECT marks a significant shift in the field of employment disputes. In this Update, we look at the key features of the ECT, its powers and its procedures.

MAS Consults on Enhancements to Regulatory Requirements on Protection of Customer's Moneys and Assets
In recent times, financial crises like the Lehman Brothers and MF Global insolvencies have brought the issue of protection of client assets to the forefront. As a result of these events, investors are now trying to better understand the potential implications of placing their assets with intermediaries. Regulators, such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS"), are also looking for ways to address potential risks to client assets and how to transfer or return client assets in case of default, resolution or insolvency scenarios.

MAS has undertaken a review of the regulatory requirements governing the protection of customers' moneys and assets and is proposing to enhance those relating to the safeguarding, identification and use of customer’s moneys and assets, and disclosures to customers and has come up with several proposals, which are contained in the Consultation Paper on Enhancements to Regulatory Requirements on Protection of Customer’s Moneys and Assets that was published on 18 July 2016. This Update takes a look at the key proposals in the Consultation Paper.

MCI's Public Consultation on Changes to the Telecommunications Act and the MDA Act
The Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information ("MCI") has, on 5 August 2016, sought public feedback on proposed amendments to the Telecommunications Act as well as some corresponding amendments to the Media Development Authority of Singapore Act. This Client Update seeks to provide a brief outline and commentary on the most salient of the MCI's proposed amendments.

When Will the Court Order a Minority Buyout?
In a dispute between shareholders of a company, it is not uncommon for the court to order the majority shareholder to buy out the shares of the minority shareholder, but far less usual for the court to make a converse minority buyout order. In Koh Keng Chew and others v Liew Kit Fah and others [2016] SGHC 140, the Singapore High Court was faced with a rare application for a minority buyout order, and took the opportunity to examine the situations in which it would be appropriate to have the minority shareholder buy out the majority shares. The majority shareholders in this matter were successfully represented by Francis Xavier S.C., Patrick Ang, Chong Kah Kheng, Amy Seow, Chai Wei Han and Priscilla Soh of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Intellectual Property Case Updates - Malaysia
This Update looks at the recent Malaysian intellectual property case of Restoran Oversea Holdings Sdn Bhd v Overseas Seafood Restaurant Sdn Bhd where the High Court allowed the striking out application of the plaintiff, holding that the defendant was not a "person aggrieved" within Section 45 of the Trade Marks Act 1976. The authors offer their insights on the decision of this case.

When Is the Right Time to Start an Action?
In a commercial dispute, timing can be a crucial issue. In Antariksa Logistics Pte Ltd and others v Nurdian Cuaca and others [2016] SGHCR 10, the Singapore High Court was faced with related claims which had been brought about six years apart, and had to determine the validity of the claimants' case management decision. The claimant had adopted an incremental approach by initially suing a single party in one cause of action, and then assessing whether to later commence proceedings against the other defendants. The claimant was successfully represented in this matter by Avinash Pradhan, Max Lim and Muslim Albakri of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Natural Justice in Arbitral Awards
The vast majority of challenges to arbitral awards involve allegations of breach of natural justice, but few are actually successful. JVL Agro Industries Ltd v Agritrade International Pte Ltd [2016] SGHC 126 provides a rare example of a case where an arbitral award was successfully set aside on this ground. Notably, this landmark case is the first reported decision in which the court has gone on to set aside the award after remitting the matter back to the arbitral tribunal. Andre Yeap S.C. from Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP was instructed as counsel for the Plaintiff in this successful setting aside application.

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