Legal Updates for January 2017
Employment Law – Key Changes to Take Note of in 2017
2017 sees the coming into effect of a number of changes to Singapore's employment legislation. We have provided in this update a summary of some key changes that will affect businesses in the new year. Businesses must update their HR policies to take into account these new changes, and more importantly, businesses are well advised to keep abreast of any new developments in this area to avoid falling foul of the law.
Short Detention Order Imposed for Offence under Section 157(1), Companies Act
In a recent decision of the Singapore District Court, a former President of Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd was acquitted of three charges of conspiracy for corruption. In a novel occurrence, the Court also imposed a community sentence of a short detention order for a charge of failing to use reasonable diligence as a director, instead of the traditional binary options of a jail term or a fine. The Defendant was represented by Hamidul Haq and Istyana Ibrahim from Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.
Singapore to Allow Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration
On 10 January 2017, the Singapore Parliament passed the Civil Law (Amendment) Bill 2016, which will allow third-party funding but only – at the moment – in the field of international (but not domestic) arbitration and related proceedings. The introduction of this option may provide a more viable route for certain disputants to pursue legitimate legal claims, taking into account issues of cash flow and the potentially high costs of dispute resolution. This Update takes a look at the amendments, as well as the key features and restrictions of the proposed third-party funding framework.
Competition Bites – ASEAN & Beyond
A Happy New Year to all, as we share the latest competition news from the region and beyond. 2016, although a difficult year which saw new limits being pushed, remained one where competition regulators have been very busy, as was the last quarter. We strongly advocate businesses remain apprised of the competition developments and legislative changes as we move into the new year, to avoid any competition issues in their business activities and dealings. This is particularly critical for companies with businesses across many countries.
Public Consultation on Proposed Amendments to the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnerships Act and Accountants Act
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore ("ACRA") and the Ministry of Finance ("MOF") are seeking feedback on proposed amendments to the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnerships Act and the Accountants Act. The consultation ends on 13 January 2017.
In their press release, ACRA and MOF said that the proposed amendments seek to reduce the regulatory burden on business entities, improve the ease of doing business, and enhance the transparency of business entities. This update looks at the key proposed amendments.
Conflict of Laws in Misselling Claims
In the case of Ong Ghee Soon Kevin v Ho Yong Chong  SGHC 277, a banking customer brought a claim against a bank officer. Notably, the case raised numerous perplexing questions regarding conflicts of law, delving into the issues of choice of law, private international law vs domestic law, as well as tort law. This case is also the latest case in which the courts have dismissed claims of alleged misselling by a private banker. The private banker was successfully represented by Lai Yew Fei and Lee Hui Yi of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.
China's Supreme People's Court Passes New Judicial Interpretations on the PRC Company Law
The Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China (the "PRC") issued the Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Application of the PRC Company Law (IV) (Draft for Public Consultation) (最高人民法院关于适用《中华人民共和国公司法》若干问题的规定（四）（征求意见稿）) (the "Judicial Interpretation IV") on 12 April 2016 and passed the same on 5 December 2016 in principle. Judicial Interpretation IV provides further guidance on issues relating to the certain key aspects of the PRC Company Law. This Update provides a summary and analysis of Judicial Interpretation IV.