In the recent decision of Wee Shuo Woon v HT S.R.L  SGCA 23, the Court of Appeal considered whether evidence which had been made available on WikiLeaks as a result of the Respondent's ("HT S.R.L."') computer systems being hacked had lost its confidential and legally privileged status.
The decision, which has taken on added significance in the wake of recent global cyber-attacks, indicates that the Singapore courts will be slow to admit evidence obtained as a result of such incidents. In particular, the Court held that the equity in favour of restraining the use of privileged documents was even stronger in the case of documents obtained in a cyber-attack than in the case of those obtained by virtue of a party's innocent mistake. The order to exclude such evidence was upheld.
In the recent decision of Wilson Taylor Asia Pacific Pte Ltd v Dyna-Jet Pte Ltd  SGCA 32, the Singapore Court of Appeal confirmed that the Singapore courts will enforce a dispute resolution clause which gives only one party the option to arbitrate. The court also clarified the requirements and threshold for a stay of proceedings to be granted under section 6 of the Singapore International Arbitration Act ("IAA").
Since early March 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) have collectively taken disciplinary actions against five regulated entities and an individual relating to breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism (CFT) regulatory requirements. The entities were fined amounts ranging from HK$2.6 million to HK$7 million, whereas the individual was banned from re-entering the industry for nine months.
Both the SFC and the HKMA have made it clear that AML and CFT compliance will continue to be a priority in 2017, and the recent disciplinary actions demonstrate swift action on their part. The SFC has set up a temporary specialised team within its Enforcement Division to tackle know-your-client and AML/CFT control failings. The raft of disciplinary actions serves as a warning that the SFC and the HKMA are prepared to impose tough sanctions and that regulated entities should take action now to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements.
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William HallattPartner, Financial Services RegulatoryEmail
+852 2101 4036
Hannah CassidyRegistered foreign lawyer (England and Wales), Hong KongEmail
+852 2101 4133
The English High Court has recently approved an application to change the provision of a trust deed relating to the appointment of new trustees. The change was necessary because the original power was reserved exclusively for the settlor, who had died. All adult beneficiaries of the trust supported the change, as did three of the four trustees.
This case illustrates the importance of having succession plans for the power of appointment of new trustees. It also addresses disputes between parties about changes to trust terms.
The Arrangement on Mutual Taking of Evidence in Civil and Commercial Matters between the Courts of the Mainland and Hong Kong (Arrangement) recently came into force on 1 March 2017, announced by the Department of Justice. The Arrangement is introduced to offer greater certainty and enhanced efficiency for obtaining of evidence between the Mainland and the HKSAR for civil and commercial cases.
Julian Copeman, May Tai and Anita Phillips discuss their client research and the outputs of the recent Global Pound Conference to assess what is required to bring mediation into the mainstream for commercial parties in Hong Kong. Click here to access their article in Asian Dispute Review, which was published on 3 April 2017.
In the first instance decision of Fo Shan Shi Shun De Qu Consonancy Investment Co Ltd v Yat Kit Jong  HKEC 557, the Court took a dim view of a party's conduct in respect of expert directions. It held that the party's failure to properly define the scope of the issues to be covered by the expert was a violation of procedural rules and prejudicial to the opposing party, and as such ordered that the party be penalised on costs.
The Court of First Instance in Hong Kong has held that the six year limitation period specified in section 4(2) of the Limitation Ordinance (Cap.347) (LO) applies, by analogy, to an equitable claim by a company against its director(s) for accounts of company assets which have come into the hands of the director(s). This is important because otherwise there would be no specific limitation period and the general equitable principle of "laches" would apply.
The Hong Kong Court has recently ordered the removal of an administratrix, who was the widow of the deceased, after finding she had misappropriated and converted the estate to her own use, repeatedly breached Court orders and had failed to render a proper and accurate account. This case is a reminder to all administrators to fulfil their duties or face removal.
The Nanjing Intermediate People's Court in Jiangsu Province, China ("Nanjing Court") recently issued a ruling recognising and enforcing a default judgment granted by the High Court of Singapore ("Singapore Judgment") based on the reciprocity principle.
Although permitted under the PRC Civil Procedure Law, PRC courts have rarely, if ever, recognised and enforced foreign judgments on the reciprocity principle. While it is still too early to predict whether the ruling will see wider application, it is a positive attempt towards applying the reciprocity principle in the context of recognising and enforcing foreign judgments in China.