21 June 2012
CPD Learning Tip of the Week - Insolvency Practice
Are you an insolvency practitioner or a practitioner interested in developing your practice in this particular area? If so, you maybe interested in our articles in the Singapore Law Gazette June 2012 themed issue which have several related articles in this particular practice area.
For practitioners who wish to have an overview of the impact of the Debt Repayment Scheme on individual insolvency since its introduction in 2009, please click here.
For practitioners who desire to find out more about the practical impact of the Court of Appeal decision of The Royal Bank of Scotland NV (formerly known as ABN Amro Bank NV) and others v TT International Limited  SGCA 9, which assists to clarify the appropriate procedures and practices in which a scheme of arrangement ought to be passed, please click here.
The Insolvency Practice Committee of the Law Society of Singapore will also be organising a Regional Insolvency Conference on 6 July2012 at the Supreme Court Auditorium. This Conference will feature plenary sessions on recent developments and lessons learnt in insolvency practice in each of Indonesia, India and China. There will also be plenary sessions on“Credit Issues in the Region” and on “Cross-Border Insolvency Issues”. The intention is to bring together regional and local legal, accounting and banking practitioners to discuss topical issues in a compressed time frame.
Please visit the following link to find out more about the Conference programme or to register for the Conference:
14 June 2012
CPD Learning Tip of the Week - Family Law Practice: Separation and Mediation
Are you a family law practitioner orinterested in keeping abreast with this area of practice? If so, the following articles may be of interest:
Separation Anxiety: Living Separate and Apart, Living Together Yet Living Apart – When isa Separation a Separation for Purposes of Divorce?
Mandatory Counselling and Mediation - The Child Focused Resolution Centre (“CFRC”)
7 June 2012
CPD Learning Tip of the Week – Growing Your Practice in the New Globally Competitive Legal Landscape
Recent legislative changes have been made to allow Singapore law practices more flexibility to grow and enhance international competitiveness. Are you familiar with the changes which can help you grow your legal practice in the new legal landscape? If you missed our Learning Community Dialogue on 7 June 2012, click here to view the Powerpoint slides to gain a basic understanding of the changes.
31 May 2012
CPD Learning Tip of the Week – Ethically Improper Fee Arrangements
Have you read Council’s Practice Direction 2 of 2012 issued on 15 May 2012 concerning the impropriety of a fee arrangement which provides for payment of solicitor-and-client costs that is contingent on the amount of party-and-party costs recovered by a client? To learn more about the relevant professional conduct rules and the Law Society’s practice directions concerning fee arrangements, please refer to Part VI of the LawSociety’s Guide to Professional Conduct for Advocates and Solicitors published in 2011.
24 May 2012
CPD Learning Tip of the Week – Having an ADR Mindset (Part 2)
Are you familiar with mediation in the family law context or neutral evaluation for civil disputes? Find out more by reading the two Singapore Law Gazette articles below.
Finding the Appropriate Mode of Dispute Resolution: Introducing Neutral Evaluation in the Subordinate Courts
Mandatory Counselling and Mediation - The Child Focused Resolution Centre('CFRC')
17 May 2012
CPD Learning Tip of the Week – Having an ADR Mindset
Having an ADR mindset is becoming an increasingly important asset in resolving disputes. Read the two latest Singapore Law Gazette articles below to find out more about the Subordinate Courts’ 'Presumption of ADR' initiative and how you can be a conflict resolver:
Introducing a 'Presumption of ADR' for Civil Matters in the Subordinate Courts; and
Lawyer as Rights Warrior and Conflict Resolver.
10 May 2012
CPD Learning Tip of the Week – Concept of an “agreed fee” under Rule 9(2)(c)(ii) of the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules
The Court of Three Judges made a number of important observations on the concept of an “agreed fee” under Rule 9(2)(c)(ii) of the Legal Profession (Solicitors’ Accounts) Rules in the recent decision of Law Society of Singapore v. Tay Choon Leng John  SGHC 86. That decision considered, inter alia, two issues:
(a) Whether or not an “agreed fee” must be in writing; and
(b) Whether or not an “agreed fee” must be for the entirety of the transaction.
A brief summary of the Court’s observations vis-à-vis the two issues is set out below:
1. As a general proposition, the formation and validity of an agreement on professional fees between a solicitor and his or her client is, like any other contract, governed by the common law. Such an agreement could be oral or in writing. This is, of course, subject to any relevant contrary provisions set out in the Legal Profession Act and/or its attendant subsidiary legislation: .
2. Rule 9(2)(c)(ii) merely provides for “an agreed fee” without imposing any formal requirement as to writing: . The proper reading of Rule 9(2)(c)(ii) is that it should be viewed not as a provision concerned with the enforceability of a fee agreement, but only in determining whether there is an agreement between the solicitor and client which would permit the solicitor not to have to place money so received by him from a client into a client account: .
3. Section 111(1) of the Legal Profession Act provides that a solicitor “may make an agreement in writing” with a client for his fees in contentious business. This provision is couched in permissive, rather than mandatory, terms and does not say that there could not be an oral fee agreement or that such an oral agreement would be invalid: .
4. A client is not deprived of protection simply because there is an oral fee agreement. No agreement for the payment of costs between client and solicitor is sacrosanct and such agreements are subject to the court’s scrutiny, particularly from the perspective of reasonableness and fairness: .
5. Section 111(1) of the Legal Profession Act states that “a solicitor … may make an agreement in writing with any client respecting the amount and manner of payment for the whole or any part of its costs in respect of contentious business”. Like an agreed fee in writing, an oral agreement could be made in respect of the costs of part of the work to be undertaken by the solicitor, or up to a certain stage of the proceeding, notwithstanding any evidential difficulties in proving what the parties had exactly agreed on as fees. Nevertheless, as a matter of good practice, it is always desirable to reflect all fee agreements in writing: .
6. Solicitors are cautioned that they have the obligation to make abundantly clear – both to the client and, if necessary, to the court – which specific part (or up to which specific stage) of the transaction is covered by the agreed fees. For the protection of the client, a solicitor cannot be allowed to vary his agreed fees upwards at his will: .
Disclaimer: The above is provided to highlight selected principles in the Court’s judgment. It is not intended to be a substitute for the reasons of the Court. Practitioners should read the entire judgment to understand the reasons of the Court.
3 May 2012
CPD Learning Tip of the Week – Law Society’s Pilot Pro Bono Arbitration Scheme
Do you know that the Law Society has recently launched a pilot Pro Bono Arbitration Scheme under the Law Society’s Arbitration Scheme for arbitration of disputes of up to $20,000 conducted on a documents-only basis? The usual LawSoc Arbitration Rules will apply except that the sole arbitrator will waive his or her fees for the matter. To find out more, click here.
26 April 2012
CPD Learning Tip of the Week – Informing a Client of his Right to Taxation or Review of a Fee Agreement
How well do you understand the Council's Guidance Note 1 of 2012 issued on 24 April 2012 on “Informing a Client of his Right to Taxation or Review of a Fee Agreement”? Take this quiz , total up your score and see if you have really understood the key points of the Guidance Note!
CPD Learning Tip of the Week (19 April 2012) – Inter-Spousal Gifts in Division of Matrimonial Assets
Two interesting issues arise when one spouse gives the other a gift during the marriage. When spouses divorce, can these inter-spousal gifts be divided as “matrimonial assets” under section 112 of the Women’s Charter? If these gifts remain matrimonial assets available for division, how should such gifted assets be divided between the spouses? Click here to read a Singapore Law Gazette article which discusses how the law should treat inter-spousal gifts.
CPD Learning Tip of the Week (12 April 2012) - E-Discovery
Do you know that the Supreme Court Practice Directions have been amended from 1 March 2012 to reinforce the key benefits of E-Discovery? Read a commentary on the amendments in the March 2012 issue of the Singapore Law Gazette to find out more about:
- Removing ambiguities and fomenting consensus;
- Proportionate and economical discovery;
- Search engines to power productivity and costs savings; and
- Direct exchange of electronic copies with costs deferred.
CPD Learning Tip of the Week (5 April 2012) – Data Protection
Legislation relation to data protection in the form of the proposed Personal Protection Bill is anticipated to be enacted in Singapore later this year.
Details of the public consultation issued by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (currently underway) and the draft Personal Protection Bill can be located here.
The proposed legislation is expected to impact on data privacy issues, restrictions in respect of unsolicited communications and on online advertising and marketing behaviour. To find out more about the impact of data protection laws on marketing practices, you may wish to refer to the following article:- Data Protection Laws and Marketing Practices
It is undeniable that social media has become part of the fabric of our social and work lives. There are very few who have not heard of, nor used social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Blogspot and others. With the increasing importance of leveraging on these platforms as a communication tool in private and commercial life, what is the legal impact of use of such tools and the implications on privacy issues as well? For example, what does data protection legislation mean in relation to cookies embedded in applications that track and collection information on users’ behaviour? To find out more about these issues, you may wish to read the following: - Privacy Implications of Social Media – an International Perspective - Social Media Applications and their Implications on Privacy
If you would like to refer to other articles on Social Media that can be found in the Singapore Law Gazette June 2011 issue, please click here.
For those desiring to find out more about the legal implications of a Data Protection regime and Social Media implications on privacy issues, do join us for our upcoming International Conference on eCommerce and Communication, jointly organized by The Law Society of Singapore and LAWASIA on 4 and 5 May 2012. This Conference will feature a half-day plenary session focusing on each of these themes. Our plenary speakers will provide a holistic approach to understanding the implications of this legislation and will share their perspectives on how restrictions in transborder data flow are impacting privacy legislation around the world. The speakers will also discuss the extent to which Asia is keeping up with these developments.
CPD Learning Tip of the Week (29 March 2012) – Client Care
Do you know that you can access the Law Society’s materials on client care at the click of a mouse or through your touchscreen? Visit the links below to find out more!
Clients Need to Know What They Need to Pay
Why So Many Complaints Against Lawyers?
Achieving Full Client Realization
The Role of Client Care in Profitability (Part 1)
The Role of Client Care in Profitability (Part 2)