The Complex Commercial Litigation Law Review: Singapore


Contract law in Singapore is rooted in English common law. Following Singapore’s independence, Parliament chose not to codify the law on contract, although certain English statutes relating to specific areas of contract law were incorporated into Singapore law, including the Misrepresentation Act, Unfair Contract Terms Act, and the Sale of Goods Act. Accordingly, developments in the law of contract in Singapore have been led by the court.

Historically, decisions in the courts of England, Wales, Australia and other Commonwealth jurisdictions have been persuasive. Over the past two decades, Singapore courts have developed their own unique jurisprudence and may be considered as a global thought leader, particularly in the area of contract law.

Developments in contract law in Singapore mirror the nation-state’s business-friendly emphasis on freedom of contract, clarity and certainty of enforcement, particularly across borders.

In a further move to increase the sophistication of its jurisprudence and expand the scope for the export of Singapore law, Singapore has also established the Singapore International Commercial Court, which offers a panel of international judges, the possibility of foreign legal representation, and limits to the right of appeal to Singapore’s apex court.

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헤지를 해야할지 말아야할지?

석유 가스 산업에는 헤징 계약이 잘 되어 있습니다. 이것은 끊임없이 변동하는 유가에 대한 위험을 줄이기 위해 사용되는 일반적인 위험 관리 조치입니다.  본질적으로, 헤징 계약에 따르면 기업들은 상품 교환(commodity swap)이나 옵션을 통해 고정 가격을 책정할 수 있습니다. 헤징 계약은 이 산업에 가장 기본적인 특징이며 대부분의 거래자들에게 당연한 것입니다. 그러나 이 당연함으로 인해 Apex Energy International Pte Ltd v Wanxiang Resources (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2020] SGHC 138이 고등법원과 항소법원에 제기 되었습니다. 싱가포르 법원은 매매계약 위반에 따른 헤징 약정이 Apex Eneergy의 합리적인 완화 조치인지 판단해야 했었고, 저희는 그들을 위해 헤징 약정이 합리적이라는 것을 증명하였습니다.

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양식 싸움 The Battle of the Forms

무역 금융의 세계는 결코 간단하지 않습니다. 여러 기관, 경쟁 청구, 상계 (set-offs), 임무, 채무와 많은 관계 당사자들이 이루고 있습니다. 이 복잡한 환경을 탐색하는 것은 굉장히 어렵고, 수많은 법적 문제와 불확실성을 야기합니다.

CIMB Bank Bhd v World Fuel Services Singapore Pte Ltd [2021] SGCA 19의 사례에서 이 복잡함이 명백하게 드러납니다. 이 특정 사례에서는 항소법원이 고등법원과 완전히 반대되는 결론에 도달했습니다.  이 사례는 복잡한 다자간 무역금융계약의 어려움(downfall)을 강조하며, 법원의 계약서 해석에 대한 지침을 제공합니다. 법원은 문서의 진위 여부, 진위 입증 방식에 대한 요점을 고려하지만, 이번 기고문은 문제의 핵심인 무역금융 계약의 싸움에 초점을 맞출 것입니다.

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The Battle of the Forms

The world of trade finance is never straightforward. Multiple facilities, competing claims, set-offs, assignments, debentures and multiple parties are, to the say the least, what make the backbone of trade finance.  Navigating this complex landscape is tough, and raises a plethora of legal issues and uncertainties.

This complex landscape is evident in the case of CIMB Bank Bhd v World Fuel Services Singapore Pte Ltd [2021] SGCA 19, where the Court of Appeal considered and analysed the same issues of diametrically opposite competing contracts, and arrived at a completely opposite conclusion than that of the High Court.

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To Hedge or not to Hedge? That is the (mitigatory) question.

Hedging contracts are well established in the Oil & Gas industry.  It is a common risk management measure used to reduce a party’s exposure to the constantly fluctuating oil prices.  Essentially, under a hedging contract, companies can establish their prices at a fixed price through a commodity swap or option. Hedging contracts are second nature to the industry, and most traders would not give a second thought as to whether such arrangements are reasonable.  However, it was this very issue that was put forth before both the High Court and the Court of Appeal in Apex Energy International Pte Ltd v Wanxiang Resources (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2020] SGHC 138.  The Singapore Courts had to determine whether, following a breach of contract of sale, whether a hedging arrangement was a reasonable mitigation in the quantification of the aggrieved parties losses.  We successfully acted for Apex Energy in proving that a hedging arrangement is a reasonable mitigation measure.

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The Importance of Proper Drafting in relation to Construction Contracts

The addition of Section 17(2A) to The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (“SOPA”), which came into effect on 15 December 2019, and the recent Court of Appeal decision in Orion-One Residential Pte Ltd v Dong Cheng Construction Pte Ltd [2020] SGCA 121 (“Orion-One”) highlights the importance of proper drafting in relation to construction contracts.

Section 17(2A) of the SOPA compels an adjudicator to disregard any claim for damage, loss or expense that is not supported by: (a) any document showing agreement between the parties on the quantum of the said claim; or (b) any certificate or other document that is required to be issued under the contract. While exception (a) very much depends on the negotiations between the parties, exception (b) is, to a certain extent, within the control of the party drafting the contract.

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COVID-19 in Myanmar: Impact on Commercial Contracts and Employment

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English Version | Burmese Version | Chinese Version

The coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on the global economy and markets. As the coronavirus sweeps around the world, emerging and frontier countries like Myanmar face more challenges.

Since March 2020, the Myanmar government has introduced several immigration measures to reduce the transmission, including temporary suspension of issuing all types of visas and compulsory quarantine requirement for all travelers entering Myanmar. The Myanmar government also subsequently imposed a movement restriction requesting all residents to stay at home during the Thingyan festival (Myanmar New Year), in conjunction with the immigration measures.

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What Can I Do When My Singapore Wedding’s Stuck in COVID-19 Limbo?

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The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a public health emergency of international concern. In Singapore, the government has acted swiftly to impose restrictions. At the time of this article, all gatherings have been limited to 10 persons until 30 April 2020, and all events of 250 people or more have been suspended until 30 June 2020.

The situation is evolving rapidly and we expect these regulations to be tightened or extended. One group that has been impacted are couples with upcoming wedding celebrations, as well as other events organisers. If you are in this position, you may be wondering whether you are entitled to cancel or postpone your event, without losing your deposit, or worse, being forced to pay the full agreed price to the venue and your vendors. This article is meant to be a simple guide to navigating the process.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris & Selvam director Daniel Soo, please visit the firm website.

© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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