The year in review

The Dispute Resolution Review


The year in review

Date Published: 5 April 2021

Authors and Contributors:  See Tow Soo Ling, Subramanian Pillai, Venetia Tan, Ervin Roe and Lim Shu-Yi.


i. Covid-19-related legislation

Covid-19 has led to the government passing several covid-19-related laws. Most of the laws are primarily related to the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 (Covid-19 Act).

Under the powers granted by the Covid-19 Act, the regulations were made for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, delaying or otherwise controlling the transmission of covid-19 in Singapore. The regulations can be found in the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 (Control Order). As of 8 December 2020, the Control Order provides for regulations that mandate that individuals must wear a mask when outside their place of ordinary residence, except for in the specific scenarios listed under the Control Order. The Control Order also prohibits gatherings of more than five individuals except for certain events such as wedding solemnisations.

On the other hand, the primary provisions of the Covid-19 Act relate to temporary relief available to parties to contracts of a certain nature, as prescribed in the Covid-19 Act. Some of the relief measures include the prohibition of legal proceedings and the prohibition of applications to wind up allegedly insolvent companies. Most of the temporary relief provided by the Covid-19 Act expired on 19 October 2020. A further extension was granted up until 31 December 2020, providing certain temporary relief for event and tourism-related contracts.


ii. Significant decisions in court

In Ooi Chhooi Ngoh Bibiana v. Chee Yoh Chuang (care of RSM Corporate Advisory Pte Ltd, as joint and several private trustees in bankruptcy of the bankruptcy estate of Freddie Koh Sin Chong, a bankrupt) and another,[3] the Singapore Court of Appeal, when faced with the issue of whether a property held jointly by a bankrupt and a non-bankrupt ought to be sold, decided that the said property should be sold. In coming to its decision, the Court of Appeal conducted a balancing exercise, considering factors such as the prejudice that the creditors might face and prejudice to the non-bankrupt co-owners in finding feasible alternative accommodation.

The Singapore Court of Appeal in I-Admin (Singapore) Pte Ltd v. Hong Ying Ting and others[4] adopted a modified approach in assessing breach of confidence claims such that once the first two requirements in Coco v. AN Clark (Engineers) Ltd [5] are met, an action for breach of confidence would be presumed. The said presumption is displaced, for instance, where the defendant came across the information by accident or was unaware of its confidential nature or believed there to be a strong public interest in disclosing it.

Quoine Pte Ltd v. B2C2 Ltd [6] was also a significant development, being the first Singapore Court of Appeal case that dealt with issues relating to contractual breach, mistake and trust in relation to cryptocurrency trading.

Finally, following on from the enactment of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019 (POFMA), the Singapore High Court in The Online Citizen Pte Ltd v. Attorney-General[7] and Singapore Democratic Party v. Attorney-General[8] were the first significant decisions on a key issue in POFMA relating to burden of proof. It remains to be seen how the Singapore Court of Appeal will decide on the aforesaid issue.


Table of Content

Disclaimer: This update is provided to you for general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. The editor and the contributing authors do not guarantee the accuracy of the contents and expressly disclaim any and all liability to any person in respect of the consequences of anything done or permitted to be done or omitted to be done wholly or partly in reliance upon the whole or any part of the contents.


CNPLaw’s Dispute Resolution Lawyers

See Tow Soo Ling - Oct2017

    Soo Ling’s main areas of practice are intellectual property and dispute resolution. She has experience in a diverse range of matters such as building construction, company law, commercial law, disciplinary proceedings, employment law, family law, intellectual property, property law, probate & administration and shareholder disputes. Soo Ling is recognised as a Recommended Lawyer by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021 for the Dispute Resolution practice, and is featured as a leading individual in the 2021 Edition of the World Trademark Review 1000, under the Prosecution and Strategy category.

    Subramanian Pillai Partner at CNPLaw

      Subramanian’s practice has been primarily in the field of commercial litigation and arbitration. He heads the firm’s International Arbitration and Construction, Engineering and Infrastructure teams. Subramanian is “Recommended” by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020 for the Dispute Resolution practice.


        Venetia is a disputes lawyer with experience handling international arbitration, litigation and advisory work on international and local commercial disputes, in particular, disputes relating to foreign investments and joint ventures, financing, distributorships, and jurisdictional challenges. Venetia was listed as Singapore’s 20 most influential lawyers aged 40 and under in 2018 by the Singapore Business Review, and is also recognised as one of Asia’s Super 50 Dispute Lawyers by the Asian Legal Business in 2021.

        ervin roe is an associate at CNPLaw

          Ervin is an associate in the Construction, Engineering & Infrastructure Projects team. He advises on matters related to civil and commercial litigation and regularly acts for clients in construction projects and insolvency disputes.

          With globalisation providing not only a myriad of opportunities but also increased challenges in dealing with the various stakeholders, disputes are bound to arise in the normal course of businesses and transactions.

          At CNPLaw, our dispute resolution lawyers seek to provide support to our clients through the lifecycle of transactions. At the very beginning, we seek to mitigate risk and avoid disputes. However, should it transpire to the latter, our lawyers work closely with our clients to either resolve the matter through alternative dispute resolution matters like arbitration and mediation, or through litigating the matter, either in the civil or criminal courts. We have extensive legal experience at every level of the Singapore courts of justice, and our lawyers have appeared in a number of cases reported in the Singapore Law Reports.