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.
The Court of Final Appeal has handed down an important judgment regarding bribery charges against former TVB general manager and TV presenter, Stephen Chan and his assistant, Tseng Pei-kun. In a case spanning seven years, Chan and Tseng were twice acquitted at first instance but found guilty of bribery by the Court of Appeal in November 2015. Tseng was found by the Court of Appeal to have offered, and Chan to have accepted, an unlawful advantage under section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO), which governs bribery between private sector actors in Hong Kong.
In a detailed judgment dated 14 March 2017, the Court of Final Appeal unanimously reversed the Court of Appeal's decision, with the majority ruling that Chan was not acting “in relation to his principal (TVB)'s affairs or business" when accepting the advantage. As such, his conduct fell outside the purview of section 9 of the POBO. The judgment provides important clarification on the scope of Hong Kong's private sector bribery offence, in particular, what it means to act "in relation to a principal's affairs or business". With the Court of Final Appeal in January addressing the meaning of "acting for another" under section 9 of the POBO, the scope of the private sector offence has seen important clarifications in recent months.
Wills interpreted according to their ordinary and natural meaning despite this not reflecting testators’ intention
The English High Court has recently held that, in a case concerning construction of Wills, the ordinary and natural meaning of survivorship clauses should be given effect to. This operated to mean that certain beneficiaries under the Wills of a husband and wife benefitted twice, which the parties agreed was not the couple's intention. The claimants were the executrices of the couple's estates (and also beneficiaries of the estates). They wished to know how to distribute the estates. The claimants wanted the Court to interpret the Wills in accordance with the couple's intention. This would have meant that they received less under the Wills than they would have done if the Wills were interpreted in their ordinary and natural terms. The defendants were the solicitor who drafted the Wills and his firm.
The case is a reminder to executors of the importance of administering estates in accordance with the terms of the Wills. The case is also a reminder to draftsmen of the importance to accurately convey a testator's intention when drafting a Will.
The third edition of our ADR in Asia Pacific Guide spotlights alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Indonesia.
We summarise the state of play in relation to ADR in Indonesia and its interplay with adversarial processes like litigation and arbitration. We delve into the detail of the Supreme Court's new mediation regulation and decree and analyse how these hope to improve rates of settlement. We then look at some practical aspects of mediation and dispute resolution from a lawyer's perspective, highlighting the often novel way in which mediation is deployed in Indonesia. Finally, we summarise the ground-breaking Global Pound Conference (GPC) series which looks at all dispute resolution processes and how these can be improved for commercial parties. Herbert Smith Freehills is proud to be global founding sponsor of GPC.
To download your copy, please click here.
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong has recently sought disqualification orders against listed company directors in a number of court actions commenced in the past few months. The proceedings against the directors have been brought under section 214 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance. If successful, the court has the power to disqualify the relevant directors from being directors or from being involved, directly or indirectly, in the management of any corporation for up to 15 years. The SFC is also seeking compensation orders from certain directors in some cases.
There have also been a number of regulatory developments emphasising the role of boards of directors and senior management. These, together with the recent enforcement actions, highlight the increased focus on directors. In light of this, all directors, including non-executive directors, must ensure that they fully understand the regulatory framework and are able to properly discharge their responsibilities.
Last Friday, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal brought to a close the long-running case of DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited v Sit Pan Jit (FAMV 45/2016).
The dispute concerned a claim by DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited (DBS) against its former customer, Sit Pan Jit, for failing to meet margin calls in respect of certain investments, and a counterclaim by Mr Sit against DBS for mis-selling such investments based on misrepresentation, breach of duties in contract and/or tort (common law and statutory) and breach of fiduciary duties.
The Global Pound Conference (GPC) series presents a unique opportunity to engage all stakeholders in a conversation about dispute resolution and how it should best be used in commercial disputes. The time is ripe to review all processes (litigation, arbitration and the range of less formal processes like mediation). Anita Phillips, secretary of the Hong Kong Local Organising Committee and professional support consultant at Herbert Smith Freehills, and Julian Copeman, chair of the Hong Kong GPC Local Organising Committee and Greater China managing partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, discuss the GPC, what topics and discussions delegates can expect, and why it is so important to attend. Click here to watch the videos.
To find out more about the Hong Kong event on 23 February and to register, click here.
The English High Court has recently refused to grant letters of administration to a deceased's daughter (the "Claimant") despite her having the highest entitlement to the deceased's estate. The dispute involved a challenge by the alleged widower of the deceased (the "Defendant"), who was found not to have been validly married to the deceased. Therefore the Court declined to grant the Defendant letters of administration. Nonetheless, the Court found that the Claimant had deliberately lied to Court and thus also declined to grant her letters of administration. Instead, the Court exercised its jurisdiction to appoint "some other person" as administrator. This case is a reminder that all parties need to act lawfully and properly when presenting evidence or face the consequences.
Singapore and Delaware courts adopt Guidelines for Communication and Cooperation between Courts in Cross-Border Insolvency matters
On 1 February 2017, the Supreme Court of Singapore and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware announced that they will formally implement the Guidelines for Communication and Cooperation between Courts in Cross-border Insolvency Matters ("Guidelines").
The Guidelines function as a framework setting out best practice on how to facilitate the processes and procedures of cooperation and communication between courts. Whilst they do not deal with substantive legal matters, the potential impact of a well-structured framework for coordination cannot be underestimated, particularly in complex cross-border insolvency matters.