Legal Updates for September 2016
EU Judgments Enforceable In Singapore With Effect From 1 October 2016
On 14 April 2016, Singapore Parliament enacted the Choice of Court Agreements Act 2016, which provides for the implementation into Singapore law of the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements ("Hague Convention"). Singapore ratified the Hague Convention on 2 June 2016, and it will come into force on 1 October 2016. The European Union, with the exception of Denmark, forms the main bulk of the countries that have ratified the Hague Convention.
The Hague Convention establishes an international legal regime for upholding choice of court agreements in international civil or commercial cases among Contracting States. One of the most significant effects of the Hague Convention is that court judgments emanating from a Contracting State must now be recognised and enforced in another Contracting State, subject to very limited exceptions. This update focuses on this latter enforcement aspect of the Hague Convention.
Do Arbitration Agreements Attach to Bills of Exchange?
Bills of exchange are a vital part of financing in international trade, and are commonly issued to guarantee payment under commercial contracts. They provide a form of security in that they bind a party to payment at a future date, and can also be monetised in the present by transfer to a third party. In Rals International Pte Ltd v Cassa di Risparmio di Parma e Piacenza SpA  SGCA 53, the Singapore Court of Appeal examined the nature of bills of exchange with respect to arbitration agreements – in this case, whether the indorsee of a promissory note is bound by an arbitration agreement in the underlying contract. The Respondent in this matter was successfully represented by Elaine Tay and Wong Jun Ming from Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.
ASAS Publishes Social Media Marketing Guidelines – Influencers to Disclose Sponsorships
On 29 August 2016, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore published its Guidelines on Interactive Marketing Communications & Social Media (the "Guidelines"), which are aimed at setting ethical standards of conduct for digital marketing communications, with a particular focus on social media marketing. This Update looks at the key features of the Guidelines and what they may mean for marketers and media owners.
SGX Moves Towards Allowing Dual-Class Shares
The Listings Advisory Committee ("LAC"), established by the Singapore Exchange ("SGX") to supplement its listings regulatory process in reviewing Mainboard listing applications and formulating listing policies, has voted in favour of permitting dual-class share ("DCS") structures to list on SGX. Such listings will be subject to appropriate safeguards to ensure quality listings, and to mitigate entrenchment and expropriation risks associated with DCS structures. SGX's CEO Loh Boon Chye has said that SGX would consider the LAC's advice and seek feedback via a public consultation before any amendment to the Listing Rules is made to allow DCS structures.
Singapore High Court uses Inherent Powers to Stay Proceedings against Hanjin
The financial troubles of container-shipping giant Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd ("Hanjin") have shaken the maritime industry, leading to several claims by concerned creditors across numerous jurisdictions against Hanjin, its subsidiaries and its fleet. In light of its rehabilitation proceedings in the Republic of Korea, Hanjin has been seeking to halt the deluge of actions against it. In Re Taisoo Suk (as foreign representative of Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd)  SGHC 195, the Singapore High Court granted Hanjin's application, approving a temporary stay on all present proceedings and restraint of fresh proceedings against Hanjin. This Update provides a summary of the High Court's decision and what it means for Hanjin and its potential creditors.
Suspicious Transaction Reports and the Indonesia Tax Amnesty
Recent statements by the Monetary Authority of Singapore have cast the spotlight on the need for banks to file a Suspicious Transaction Report ("STR") in respect of clients who participate in the Indonesia tax amnesty programme. In this update, we examine the proposition that an STR is required whenever a client takes part in a tax amnesty scheme.
MAS Seeks Feedback on Proposals for Activity-Based Payments Framework and New National Payments Council
On 19 August 2016, Mr Ravi Menon, the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") delivered a keynote address on "An Electronic Payments Society", setting out the roadmap for the future electronic payments framework in Singapore.
In his speech, Mr Menon outlined four key strategies to create an e-payments society, namely, streamlined regulation, inclusive governance, inter-operable infrastructure and pervasive digitization. These strategies are aimed at streamlining and strengthening the regulatory framework, establishing a new governance model for payments, and enhancing the adoption of electronic payments.
MAS subsequently published a consultation paper on the "Proposed Activity-Based Payments Framework and Establishment of a National Payments Council". The consultation ends on 31 October 2016.
This Update takes a look at the proposals in the consultation paper.