Legal Updates

Legal Updates for March 2018

Can a Joint Tenant’s Interest be Subject to Seizure and Sale?
A Writ of Seizure and Sale assists in the enforcement of a judgment or order by allowing for the judgment debtor's property to be seized and sold off. In Peter Low LLC v Higgins, Danial Patrick [2018] SGHC 59, the Singapore High Court considered whether a Writ of Seizure and Sale is applicable where the property in question is an interest as joint tenant in an immovable property.

Dispute Resolution in an International Context
In Hilton International Manage (Maldives) Pvt Ltd v Sun Travels & Tours Pvt Ltd [2018] SGHC 56, the Singapore High Court had to balance between the competing regimes of domestic litigation, arbitration, and proceedings in foreign jurisdictions. The Plaintiff successfully applied for a permanent injunction restraining the Defendant from taking any steps in reliance on a foreign judgment, which had been obtained in conflict with an earlier arbitral award. The Plaintiff was represented by Paul Tan, Alessa Pang and David Isidore Tan from Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Trade Developments in Southeast Asia - 2017 and Beyond
Significant developments have taken place on the trade front in Southeast Asia from 2017 to date. Notably, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei are part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was just signed on 8 March 2018. 2017 also saw an increase in the number of new anti-dumping and safeguards investigations and duties imposed worldwide, including by, and against ASEAN members. On the regulation of trade, new legislation and other instruments have been introduced in various countries. This Update provides an overview of the noteworthy regional developments in 2017.

Security of Payment Act – Separate Contract, Separate Claim?
Under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act, an employer can withhold payment on a payment claim based on an asserted claim or set-off against the contractor. However, what if the contract from which the payment claim arises and the contract from which the set-off arises are separate agreements? This was the question before the Singapore Court of Appeal in Civil Tech Pte Ltd v Hua Rong Engineering Pte Ltd [2018] SGCA 12.

TPP Takes on Renewed Life as CPTPP – A New Opportunity
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership ("CPTPP"), a regional Free Trade Agreement that is a successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership ("TPP") which stalled after the withdrawal of the US, was signed on 8 March 2018 by all 11 original TPP members except the US, and incorporates most of the provisions of the TPP. The CPTPP presents a new opportunity for companies to boost trade and increase investments across the trans-pacific region. This update highlights the key differences between the CPTPP and the TPP, and also discusses the trade benefits under the CPTPP.

Court of Appeal Upholds Setting Aside of Arbitral Award
In GD Midea Air Conditioning Equipment Co Ltd v Tornado Consumer Goods Ltd [2017] SGHC 193, the Singapore High Court allowed an application to set aside the key parts of an arbitral award – amounting to around US$9m – on jurisdictional and procedural grounds. On 1 March 2018, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's decision and its reasons, maintaining the setting aside order. The applicant/respondent was successfully represented at the High Court and the Court of Appeal by Paul Tan and Devathas Satianathan of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Philippines Raises Thresholds for Compulsory M&A Notifications
The Philippine Competition Commission has raised the thresholds for required notifications of mergers and acquisitions. In a memorandum circular issued on 5 March 2018, the thresholds have been raised to 5 Billion Pesos for the Size of Person and 2 Billion Pesos for the Size of Transaction, up from 1 Billion Pesos each.

Just Announced – 5 March: Employment Act to be Broadened to Cover More Employees
On 5 March 2018, the Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say announced in Parliament that key changes will be made to the Employment Act to cover more employees in Singapore with effect from 1 April 2019. This update provides a key overview of the amendments that will be made.

Release of Claims Against Third Parties in Schemes of Arrangement
Under a scheme of arrangement, a company in financial distress is able to propose a compromise or arrangement with its creditors, in which claims against the company may be given up. However, does the scope of a scheme of arrangement include the release of claims against third parties as well? This was one of the questions considered by the Singapore High Court in Re: Empire Capital Resources Pte Ltd [2018] SGHC 36.

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