Legal Updates

Legal Updates for Nov - 2019

Court of Appeal Clarifies Court's Role in Standing Down Criminal Charges
In Lim Chit Foo v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGCA 70, the Singapore Court of Appeal had to determine an important question relating to the conduct of criminal proceedings: whether the decision to stand down charges is purely within the Prosecution's discretion, or whether it is subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the court. This decision clarifies the court's scope of authority with regard to the management of charges which have been stood down.
29 Nov 2019 | Singapore

Recent Legal Developments in Vietnam

This update sets out the recent legal developments in Vietnam.

29 Nov 2019 | Vietnam

Indonesia Looks Ahead to Abolish the Negative Investment List

As part of the implementation of President Joko Widodo's statement on the need to attract more investment into the country and his promise to make Indonesia more investment-friendly, the government will finally take a step to realise this promise by abandoning the Negative Investment List by January 2020.

28 Nov 2019 | Indonesia

Enforcement of Arbitral Awards – How Important is the Seat of Arbitration?
Resisting the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award can be a challenging endeavour. There are limited grounds on which enforcement can be opposed, and the courts have thus far taken a pro-arbitration position of non-interference. However, in ST Group Co., Ltd. & 2 Ors v Sanum Investments Limited [2019] SGCA 65, the Singapore Court of Appeal demonstrated when it would refuse enforcement of an award in the context of a wrongly-seated arbitration. Francis Xavier S.C., Tee Su Mien and Edwin Tan of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP were instructed counsel before the Court of Appeal, successfully resisting the enforcement of the arbitration award.
27 Nov 2019 | Singapore

Court Rules Imprisonment to be Manifestly Excessive for First-time Offenders Convicted of Illegal Remote Gambling
In Lau Jian Bang v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGHC 254, the High Court substituted the two-week imprisonment sentence handed to the Appellant with the maximum fine of S$5,000 on each of his two charges under section 8 of the Remote Gambling Act ("RGA"). Crucially, the High Court found that imprisonment was an inappropriate punishment for first time remote-gambling offenders who are punters. This decision is significant as it sets out a clear sentencing framework for offenders under section 8 of the RGA, superseding all previous sentencing precedents (which the High Court felt were inconsistent). The High Court's decision also explored the legislative intent behind criminalising remote gambling activities, and whether such intent could only be fulfilled by imposing custodial sentences on offenders.
26 Nov 2019 | Singapore

The EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Comes into Force
The EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“EUSFTA”) has come into force on 21 November 2019. This marks a new chapter in the economic relations between Singapore and the EU.

The key benefits of the EUSFTA include:

(a) Elimination of tariffs between the EU and Singapore;

(b) Removal of unnecessary technical barriers to trade; and

(c) Liberal and flexible rules of origin.

The EU is Singapore’s largest foreign investor and services trading partner, and third-largest goods trading partner. This development opens new trade opportunities for businesses in Singapore and the EU.

If you would like to know more about the EUSFTA and its provisions, please see our earlier Client Update.
23 Nov 2019 | Singapore

MAS Consults on Proposed Regulatory Approach for Derivatives Contracts on Payment Tokens
On 20 November 2019, the Monetary Authority of Singapore issued the "Consultation Paper on Proposed Regulatory Approach for Derivatives Contracts on Payment Tokens" proposing to regulate payment token derivatives offered by an approved exchange in Singapore. The consultation closes on 20 December 2019.
22 Nov 2019 | Singapore

When is it an Abuse of Process to Reject an Offer to Settle?
In TMT Asia Ltd v BHP Billiton Marketing AG (Singapore Branch) and another [2019] SGCA 60, the Singapore Court of Appeal demonstrated that a rejection of an offer to settle a claim in full could entail serious consequences. Here, the Court found the Appellant's refusal of the Respondents' offer to make payment of the entire amount claimed to be abuse of process, and thus struck out the Appellant's claim. The Respondents were successfully represented by Kelvin Poon, Derek On and Ang Tze Phern of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.
20 Nov 2019 | Singapore

Reminder: Registration of Exporters on REX System by 31 December 2019

The Ministry of Commerce ("MOC") has issued Notification No. 4228 MOC.EID dated 30 October 2019 to alert all exporters who intend to export all kinds of goods to the European Union under the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative and Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) of Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, to register on the Registered Exporter System ("REX System") with MOC latest by 31 December 2019.

19 Nov 2019 | Cambodia

Supreme Court Decision a Blow to Restructuring After PKPU

The Supreme Court recently issued a decision cancelling a settlement agreement despite creditors' approval. PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk. ("CIMB") had filed an application to the Supreme Court to cancel the settlement agreement of PT Arpeni Pratama Ocean Line Tbk. ("APOL"), despite approval from the majority of APOL's creditors to amend such agreement.

 In the first instance, CIMB's application to cancel the court-approved settlement agreement was rejected by the Commercial Court, which found the amendment to be valid and binding on all parties. The Supreme Court subsequently overturned the Commercial Court's decision based on the following considerations:

 (i)   a court-approved settlement agreement must be treated in the same manner as a final and binding court decision, and therefore it cannot be amended privately by the parties; and

(ii)   amendment to the court-approved settlement agreement contradicts the fairness and equity principle in bankruptcy law as it nullifies the assurance of debtor's performance under the settlement agreement.

12 Nov 2019 | Indonesia

Human Tissue Framework in Effect From 1 November 2019
On 1 November 2019, the provisions under the Human Biomedical Research Act 2015 which regulate human tissue activities and tissue banks came into effect. The provisions establish the Human Tissue Framework, which regulates dealings in human tissue and prohibits commercial trading in human tissue. In this Update, we provide a summary of the key features of the Human Tissue Framework in safeguarding the safety and welfare of tissue donors.
12 Nov 2019 | Singapore

Wading through Indonesia's New Water Resources Law

The Indonesian Government has enacted a new law on water resources, Law No. 17 of 2019 on Water Resources("2019 Law"), which replaced the previous Law No. 11 of 1974 on Irrigation. The 2019 Law explicitly states that water resources must be controlled by the state and used for the utmost prosperity of the community. Therefore, individuals, community groups or business entities cannot possess or control water resources, and control remains with the central and regional governments. It further emphasises that society's right to water as guaranteed by the state is not to be interpreted as a title over water resources, but rather a right to receive and use water.

08 Nov 2019 | Indonesia

China Passes New Cryptography Law as Part of Greater Effort to Develop and Apply Blockchain Technologies

On 26 October 2019, China's top legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, voted to adopt the Cryptography Law of People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国密码法) ("Cryptography Law"). The law will come into force on 1 January 2020. This Update takes a look at the key aspects of the Cryptography Law.

07 Nov 2019 | China

China Passes New Cryptography Law as Part of Greater Effort to Develop and Apply Blockchain Technologies
On 26 October 2019, China’s top legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, voted to adopt the Cryptography Law of People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国密码法) ("Cryptography Law"). The law will come into force on 1 January 2020. This Update takes a look at the key aspects of the Cryptography Law.
07 Nov 2019 | Singapore

Got a Generator? Here's What You Need to Know

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources has issued Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation No. 12 of 2019 on Capacity of Electricity Generator for Private Interest Based on Operational Permit ("New Regulation") to revise the licensing requirements for the use of generators. Pursuant to the New Regulation, users must only obtain an operational permit if they operate a generator above 500 kVA.

The Indonesian Electricity Law, Law No. 30 of 2009 on Electricity, and its implementing regulation, Government Regulation No. 14 of 2012 on Electricity Supply Business Activities, as amended by Government Regulation No. 23 of 2014, has always required an operational permit(izin operasi) for generators above 200 kVA if such generators are used for private purposes, which include utilisation as a main, reserve, emergency, or temporary power source.

05 Nov 2019 | Indonesia