Legal Updates

Legal Updates for March 2019

PDPC-CCCS Discussion Paper on Data Portability
On 25 February 2019, the Personal Data Protection Commission in collaboration with the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, issued a discussion paper on the introduction of a data portability requirement in Singapore as part of an ongoing review of the Personal Data Protection Act 2012. This Update provides a summary of the Discussion Paper and focuses on the implications of a data portability requirement from a data protection and competition law perspective.

Public Consultation on Converged Competition Code for the Media and Telecommunication Markets
On 20 February 2019, the Info-communications Media Development Authority published its consultation paper on a converged competition code for the media and telecommunication market. The development of a harmonised competition code that applies to both the Singapore telecommunication and media markets marks a further step towards taking a holistic approach to regulation and competition management of the two sectors. In this Update, we provide a summary and our high-level comments on the key proposals put forth by the IMDA in its Consultation Paper.

Revamp of Foreign Investment Laws in China: More Opportunities or Challenges?
With the curtain falling on the Second Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress (“NPC”) of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”), the PRC Foreign Investment Law (中华人民共和国外商投资法, “Foreign Investment Law”) was, as widely anticipated previously, passed by the NPC on Friday, 15 March 2019, and will come into effect from 1 January 2020. The Foreign Investment Law symbolises a landmark change of PRC laws regulating the activities of foreign investment and foreign-invested enterprises (“FIEs”) in China. Foreign investors and FIEs should understand what this new law focuses on and what issues are yet to be resolved, so that they may know what opportunities and challenges they face with this new chapter of foreign investment legislation in China.

Proof Of Trusts In Family Settings
In the context of family property, or the property of family-owned companies, arrangements regarding ownership tend to be more informal and less likely to be recorded in writing or legal documentation. In Geok Hong Co Pte Ltd v Koh Ai Gek and others [2019] SGCA 15, the Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the High Court that a property registered in the name of a family-owned company was held on trust for one of the sons of the founder. The striking feature of this case was that the claim rested largely on an alleged oral representation from the founder of the company to the son around 1977, but both individuals had passed away, raising significant evidential challenges. The company was represented by Lee Eng Beng S.C. and John Seow of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP in its successful appeal.

The Singapore International Commercial Court Rules on Singapore’s First Cryptocurrency-Related Dispute
The Singapore International Commercial Court finds cryptocurrency exchange operator, Quoine Pte Ltd, liable for breach of contract and breach of trust in unilaterally reversing a customer’s BTC/ETH trades, in the first cryptocurrency-related dispute that has come before the Singapore Courts. In B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd [2019] SGHC(I) 03, the Court delved into novel issues relating to cryptocurrencies and emerging technologies. Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP’s specialists in financial services disputes, Danny Ong, Sheila Ng and Jason Teo, acted for the successful Plaintiff.

Commercial Litigation in 2018
As part of Singapore's growing role as a centre for dispute resolution in Asia, the Singapore courts have taken on novel cases spanning various areas of the law. In 2018, the courts have issued noteworthy decisions in the field of commercial litigation, taking on the task of further developing commercial law in the jurisdiction. Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP has had the opportunity to be involved in a number of these cases before the Singapore courts. In this Update, we look at some of the firm's notable decisions in commercial litigation from 2018.

Important Singapore Judgment on Collision Liability
Disputes on ship collision and apportionment of liability tend to be fairly complex, with the heavy involvement of issues of law and facts. While Singapore judgments on collision liability have been sparse in the past years, the Singapore Courts have seen a recent spate of cases dealing with ship collisions. The most recent of these is The “Mount Apo” and the “Hanjin Ras Laffan” [2019] SGHC 57. The “Hanjin Ras Laffan”, where liability was determined in her favour, was represented by Leong Kah Wah and Dedi Affandi of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP. This Update provides a summary of the proceedings and its evidential challenges, as well as the key elements of the judgment.

Novel Decision on Retention of Property Seized for Investigations
Law enforcement agencies routinely seize properties for the purposes of investigations. However, what is the extent of the law enforcement agency’s power to withhold possession of such property? What is the role of the Courts in policing the law enforcement agencies’ exercise of power? These questions were considered by the High Court in a ground-breaking decision, Lee Chen Seong Jeremy and others v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGHC 48, which sets out for the first time the appropriate procedure to be applied by the Court in all future applications concerning the law enforcement agency’s application for continued extension of seized properties. The Petitioners in this case were successfully represented by Adrian Wong and Ang Leong Hao of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

New Regulations Target Businesses to Tackle Electronic, Packaging and Food Waste
The new Resource Sustainability Bill ("Bill") will see new measures implemented to tackle electronic, packaging and food waste. The Bill will affect a wide range of businesses and impact business operations. With proper and advance planning, businesses can keep their compliance costs to a minimum. The measures are anticipated to take effect in 2021.

Welcome to our refreshed version of Competition Bites, providing you with updates of key developments primarily across South East Asia! The change this year sees a different approach for our quarterly competition law updates. We will now have short snippets of interesting competition law developments and include a feature article that describes the update in greater detail. Focus for this issue – Thailand’s new rules on merger controls. With the introduction of these rules, Thailand becomes the fifth country with an active merger control regime that must be analysed when transactions are being undertaken, whether in Thailand or across the world.

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