RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat shared his views in this week’s topic in the Business Times’ weekly column, Views from the Top. This article was first published in The Business Times on 24 July 2017.
"Sorry" - the magic word?
Monday, July 24, 2017
THIS WEEK'S TOPIC: Should Singapore consider introducing an apology law? What would be the pros and cons?
Tan Chong Huat
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP
INTRODUCING an apology law in Singapore has its merits as it is likely to facilitate settlements and is consistent with Singapore's policy, as seen by the recently introduced Mediation Act, to promote the use of mediation.
Moreover, apology legislation has been enacted in a number of leading common law jurisdictions, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Hong Kong also conducted a comprehensive study before enacting its own apology law.
We will therefore have a good base on which to formulate our own apology law.
Some issues that will need to be addressed include the definition of an apology, the types of proceedings that the apology law should apply to and the extent of the immunity that will be granted.
Ultimately, a well-crafted apology law will help to strengthen Singapore's position as an international dispute resolution services hub in Asia.
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth was interviewed by Channel 5 on the topic of family dispute resolution. The interview was featured on Channel 5 News segment Talking Point on 20 July 2017.
This interview makes relation to the rise in the number of family disputes and cases handled by the Family Justice Courts in Singapore over the years.
Michelle, a certified IMI Mediator and Collaborative Family Practitioner, pointed out that many come to her thinking that court is the only option, unaware of other alternatives such as Collaborative Family Practice (CFP) and Mediation.
She elaborated how CFP is “an interest-based process and is non-tactical” and is “meant to bring parties to the table to talk about each other’s needs, their own needs, and then come up with solutions for themselves”. She added that families ended up in court when “they could not put themselves through an alternative process”, including Mediation and Negotiation; or when one does not find the right kind of support to accommodate their needs, for instance if a party involved has a mental health issue.
Please watch the video for the full interview.
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Senior Partner Tan Chong Huat was invited to speak at The Law Society of Singapore’s Future Lawyering Conference 2017. The two-day conference was held from 20-21 July 2017 at The Joyden Hall, Bugis+.
Chong Huat was part of the panel discussing the topic “New Practice Models – Regionalisation and ‘Uberisation’ and Legal Services”. ‘Uberisation’ refers to the displacement of traditional retainers by more efficient system that matches supply and demand.
He gave insights on how the traditional way of providing legal services is no longer able to meet the demands of the increasingly sophisticated and demanding clientele, as legal services become even more accessible and affordable. Chong Huat’s view on ‘uberisation’ is that technology must work for us and that we not allow it to commoditise service. Technology should be leveraged and when properly applied to our specialty, show ostensibly our intellect, creativity and judgment. On regionalisation, Chong Huat shared that for a law firm to succeed, there must be a group of regionally-minded Partners and lawyers who are ready to invest time and commitment to look beyond Singapore to build their clientele, network and relationship.
Chong Huat added that RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s ASEAN Plus Group (APG) strategy, which the Firm launched in 2014, was a forward-thinking initiative as the Firm saw the necessity to gain a foothold in ASEAN. APG is a membership of top 10 law firms in ASEAN and North Asia, with offices spanning 12 jurisdictions in Singapore, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The other panellist comprised Matthew Glynn, Managing Director of Global Legal Solutions Group; Chris Woo, Head of Tax at PwC Singapore; and Alex Wong, Co-Chairperson of the event’s organising committee was the moderator. Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah, SC gave the keynote address.
This conference is timely, especially as the Committee on the Future Economy was established to develop economic strategies for Singapore for the next decade.
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail was interviewed by Channel NewsAsia on the strong signals sent out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to enforce anti-money laundering (AML) controls in Singapore. The interview was featured on Channel NewsAsia’s Singapore Tonight segment on 12 July 2017.
This interview makes relation to the additional jail time sentence to former BSI banker, Yeo Jia Wei, by the Singapore courts after MAS wrapped up a two-year investigation linked to the Malaysian state fund 1MDB.
Nizam pointed out that MAS’ AML controls and intensified supervision of financial institutions sends “a very chilling effect on the Management and Board of Directors of banks”. He noted that these signals are important for banks to assess the extent to which they understand AML and terrorist financing risk, and what they are putting in place to protect their institutions.
He added, “this is also a reality for Singapore being an international hub for private banking and wealth management. The fact is that we are located in a region where there is a risk for corruption, and when there is a risk for corruption, there is always a risk for money laundering.”