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Legal Updates

Legal Updates for April 2017

Quick Guide to Inward Re-domiciliation to Singapore
One of the key changes introduced by the Companies (Amendment) Act 2017 is the introduction of an inward re-domiciliation regime in Singapore to boost Singapore's competitiveness as an international business hub. Under this regime, a foreign corporate entity ("FCE") will be allowed to transfer its registration to Singapore. Once re-domiciled, the FCE will become a Singapore company registered under the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore, and will be required to comply with the provisions of the Companies Act.

It is anticipated that the provisions relating to the inward re-domiciliation regime will come into force in the first half of 2017. This update provides an overview of the inward re-domiciliation regime.

China Passes the General Provisions of its Civil Law
The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China (the "PRC") passed the General Provisions of the PRC Civil Law (in Chinese, 中华人民共和国民法总则) (the "General Provisions") on 15 March 2017, which will take effect on 1 October 2017. The General Provisions are the opening chapter of the PRC civil code planned to be enacted in 2020, covering principles of civil law, definitions of terms in the civil legal system, civil rights, basic rules for civil acts, agency, civil liability, and litigation. In this Update, we set out some key highlights of the General Provisions.

Do Hacked Emails Retain Confidentiality?
The confidentiality of and legal professional privilege over documents and communications are key concerns of any client. They are also of concern to corporate entities with in-house counsel who provide legal advice to management. These issues take on a new dimension in an age when the security of computers is threatened as never before. In the case of Wee Shuo Woon v HT S.R.L. [2017] SGCA 23, the Singapore Court of Appeal had to consider whether advice that had been accessed by hacking the client’s email account and then posted on WikiLeaks were in the public domain and no longer entitled to legal protection.

Voluntary Arrangements in Bankruptcy – Duties of the Debtor and Nominee
As an alternative to bankruptcy, debtors may explore voluntary arrangements, whereby the debtor seeks to obtain the creditors’ approval of a debt settlement proposal. In Re Aathar Ah Kong Andrew [2017] SGHCR 4, the High Court explored novel issues regarding such voluntary arrangements, including the scope of the duties of the debtor and the nominee supervising the arrangement. Jansen Chow and Priscilla Soh of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP successfully represented one of the creditors in this matter.

Execution of Judgments – Payment Before or After Appeal?
In the course of litigation, a successful party may be awarded damages, costs and interest. However, if the other party appeals the decision, can he defer the execution of the judgment? This was the question considered by the Singapore International Commercial Court in Telemedia Pacific Group Ltd and another v Yuanta Asset Management International Ltd and another [2017] SGHC(I) 3. The Plaintiffs were successfully represented by Paul Tan, Yam Wern-Jhien and Josephine Chee of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Competition Bites – ASEAN & Beyond
Welcome to the latest edition of our quarterly regional competition update. The first quarter of 2017 saw Myanmar's competition law come into force, making it the 9th ASEAN Member State to have in place a generic competition policy. This quarter also saw various companies getting fined for 'gun-jumping', i.e. proceeding with a merger transaction before obtaining the relevant approvals from antitrust regulators. This Update will provide short and easy to read write-ups on these developments, as well as other important legal and economic developments with respect to competition law across a number of key jurisdictions that took place in the last quarter.

Proposed Changes to Singapore’s Registered Designs Regime
The Registered Designs (Amendment) Bill was read the first time in Parliament on 3 April 2017. The proposed legislative changes will update Singapore's registered designs regime to take into account latest trends in design and technology. This will also support the growth of the design industry in Singapore. This is the first major amendment to the Registered Designs Act proposed since the law was enacted in 2000.

This Update provides an overview of the key features of the Bill.

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