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Legal Updates

Legal Updates for August 2017

Unlicensed Moneylending Agreements: Form vs Substance and Legal Implications of Purported Compromise
Moneylending is a tightly-regulated business in Singapore. A contractual loan may appear sophisticated, complex and layered but at times, once pierced to the core, could reveal a prohibited moneylending agreement. This was one of the key facets of the recent case of Shanker s/o Neela Segaran and another v Right Angle Investment Holdings Pte Ltd and another (unreported). The Singapore High Court faced the question of whether in substance, as opposed to form, there was a triable issue of whether the transaction involved an illegal and unenforceable moneylending agreement. The Defendants here successfully resisted a summary judgment application for a claimed amount above S$6 million, interest and costs, and were represented by lead counsel Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP’s Gregory Vijayendran assisted by Evelyn Chua (at first instance) and Pradeep Nair (on appeal).

Claims for Ship Damage – Proof of Cause
In the Singapore High Court decision of Pan-United Shipping Pte Ltd v Cummins Sales and Service Singapore Pte Ltd [2017] SGHC 198, the Court awarded Judgment to the Plaintiff ship owner who brought a claim against the Defendant (an international engine service company) for damage caused to one of its ship's engines during overhaul. Our team successfully represented the Plaintiff, and was led by Mr Philip Tay and Ms Yip Li Ming of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Indonesia’s E-Commerce Road Map
After an extended waiting period from when the proposed plan was first announced, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia finally issued Indonesia's e-commerce road map through Presidential Regulation No. 74 of 2017 on E-Commerce Road Map for the Year of 2017-2019 (the "E-Commerce Road Map"). This E-Commerce Road Map purports to provide direction and strategic guidance to various Government agencies to support and accelerate development of e-commerce in Indonesia. The guidelines instruct both the Central and Local/Regional Governments to develop sectoral policies and programs on e-commerce.

High Court Issues Guide on Restructuring of Business Trusts
Restructuring is a potentially complex issue, requiring a balance of the interests of stakeholders, as well as the observation of procedural obligations. In Singapore, while the restructuring process for companies is largely entrenched in statute, the equivalent procedure for business trusts is less clear. In Re: Croesus Retail Asset Management Pte Ltd [2017] SGHC 194, the Singapore High Court sought to remedy this by issuing some guidance for practitioners on the restructuring of business trusts.

High Court Sets Aside Arbitral Award
In a commercial arbitration, the final award doesn't always mark the end of proceedings. The award can still be challenged before the courts at the stage of recognition and enforcement, although the court is generally slow to interfere with arbitral proceedings. In GD Midea Air Conditioning Equipment Co Ltd v Tornado Consumer Goods Ltd [2017] SGHC 193, the Singapore High Court set aside an arbitral award on a number of grounds. The applicant was successfully represented by Paul Tan and Devathas Satianathan of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Singapore Court Sets Aside First Investor-State Arbitral Award
In Kingdom of Lesotho v Swissbourgh Diamond Mines (Pty) Limited and others [2017] SGHC 195, the High Court had the opportunity to consider the first application in Singapore for an investor-State arbitral award on the merits to be set aside. The decision engaged novel issues of arbitration and international investment law yet to be considered by the Singapore courts. The Kingdom of Lesotho was successfully represented by Paul Tan and Alessa Pang of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Highlights of China’s 2017 Foreign Investment Catalogue
On 28 June 2017, the PRC National Development and Reform Commission and the PRC Ministry of Commerce jointly released a revised Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries (2017 Revision) ("2017 Catalogue"), which came into effect from 28 July 2017. The 2017 Catalogue reflects the intention of the State Council to improve the investment environment, further loosen the requirements for market access in the service, manufacturing and mining industries, and to adopt a "negative list" management approach on a nationwide basis. This Update looks at the major amendments in the 2017 Catalogue.

Competition Appeal Board Upholds Financial Penalty Imposed on IPP
On 29 June 2017, the Singapore Competition Appeal Board ("CAB") published its decision on an appeal made by IPP Financial Advisers Pte Ltd ("IPP") seeking a substantial reduction in the financial penalty imposed by the Competition Commission of Singapore ("CCS"). The CAB dismissed the appeal and ordered IPP to pay the original financial penalty of S$239,851 imposed by CCS, together with interest and costs. In this Update, we provide you with a brief overview of the issues raised in the appeals and the potential implications for Singapore businesses.

The Changing Landscape of Employment Regulations and Standards
Singapore's framework of employment regulations and standards is in constant development. Recently, the Ministry of Manpower has announced two areas which are under review. The first relates to the employment conditions for term contract employees, and the second relates to workplace safety. On this front, new standards have already been rolled out, and revised regulations may soon follow. This Update looks at the scope of the announced government reviews, the changes which may be expected, and their potential impact on employers and employment practices.

When Time is of the Essence – The Importance of Complying with SOPA Timelines
The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act ("SOPA") provides for a system of adjudication of payment disputes, which features strict timelines, including the timings for payment claims, payment responses and submission for adjudication. The importance of complying with these timelines was highlighted in a few recent cases before the Singapore High Court. This Update takes a look at these decisions, as well as the various stages of the SOPA timeline and the consequences of non-compliance.

Public Consultation on the Review of the Personal Data Protection Act
Singapore’s overarching data protection law, the Personal Data Protection Act (the "PDPA"), was enacted in 2012, and came into full effect on 2 July 2014. On 27 July 2017, the Personal Data Protection Commission (the "PDPC") announced that they were holding a public consultation on the review of the PDPA, with a view of seeking public feedback on their proposals to, inter alia: (1) implement an enhanced framework for collection, use and disclosure of personal data; and (2) introduce a mandatory data breach notification framework. This Update sets out a summarised overview of the PDPC's proposals to reform the PDPA. In addition we take the opportunity to share some of our preliminary views on how the amendments can impact your organisation and why it is important for organisations to participate in this consultation process.

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