August 2, 2017

Co-Head of Employment Practice Vernon Voon shares with Channel NewsAsia his views on the new Tripartite Standard on Employment of Term Contract Employees

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Co-Head of Employment Practice Vernon Voon was interviewed by Channel NewsAsia on the new Tripartite Standard on Employment of Term Contract Employees. The interview was aired on Channel NewsAsia’s Singapore Tonight segment on 31 July 2017. This interview makes relation to the new tripartite standard launched by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation. The new standard aims to let term contract employees obtain better benefits such as leave benefits, training and notice period. Vernon’s view was that the new standard is only a guideline and thus, if breached, does not constitute an offence. However, he also noted that “the Ministry of Manpower takes breaches of guidelines seriously” and “reserve the right to take this into account whenever they need to exercise discretion regarding the companies’ requests on the employment front”.
July 31, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing bolsters Corporate Practice with new Partner appointment

New hire with specialist knowledge underscores Firm’s emphasis on leveraging the demand for legal advice on cross border transactions with both Chinese and Asian clients Leading international law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing strengthens its Corporate Practice with the appointment of Mr Wee Jee Kin as a Partner, effective 4 July 2017. Jee Kin joins RHTLaw Taylor Wessing from a China-based oil and gas / infrastructure conglomerate where he served as Group Head of Legal overseeing a team comprising lawyers from China, France and Singapore. Prior to his five-year stint in the China-based company, he was Head of Group Legal & Company Secretary of public-listed company, Hanwell Holdings Limited. With a legal career spanning 25 years, Jee Kin has substantial merger and acquisition (M&A) experience in the international arena, and also has significant expertise in commodities, healthcare, petroleum products, technology and telecommunications. Many transactions he has handled were cross-border with geographical coverage in Asia, United States, Europe, Middle East and Africa. He is also experienced in corporate governance and the Singapore Exchange (SGX) Listing rules. Azman Jaafar, Head of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Corporate Practice and also its Deputy Managing Partner, added, “Jee Kin’s addition to the Corporate Practice is in line with our strategy of diving deeper into Greater China. Not only does he have fundamental credentials in the region, he brings with him the added perspectives of how business owners operate having headed various in-house legal teams. I look forward to working with Jee Kin as we continue to expand our presence in Asia.  With his unique skill sets, Jee Kin will be an important asset for our ASEAN Plus M&A team as demand for legal services in cross-border transactions grow this year.” Jee Kin has a broad range of experience in investment and development projects in China. He has acted as a point of liaison for Chinese subcontractors including State Owned Enterprises on infrastructure contracts for Africa, and led negotiations on property and commercial acquisitions in China. He has also been a Director of a China-based company, ASA Holdings Ltd since 2011. Jee Kin’s arrival follows the appointment of Ben Constance and Gilad Shay, who joined the Firm’s Corporate practice in February 2017. Jee Kin graduated from University of Hull in the United Kingdom in 1989. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales and the Bar in Singapore in 1991. In 2003, he obtained his LL.M in Information Technology and Telecommunications Law from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow in the United Kingdom and was called to the Bar in Queensland, Australia in 2004. --- This press release is featured in the following news reports: "RHTLaw plucks corporate partner from oil and energy MNC" - Asian Legal Business, 1 August 2017 "Corporate Move" - The Edge, 14 August 2017
July 28, 2017

Intellectual Property & Technology Partner Jack Ow quoted in TODAY on how the “standard of harm” could be interpreted differently with reference to the recent changes to the Personal Data Protection Act

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing's Intellectual Property & Technology Partner Jack Ow was quoted in TODAY on how the “standard of harm” could be interpreted differently with reference to the recent changes to the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA).   This article was first published in TODAY on 28 July 2017. Informing customers of breaches among proposed PDPA changes Source: TODAY © Mediacorp Press Ltd. Date: 28 July 2017 Author: Tan Weizhen SINGAPORE — Under a slew of proposed changes to the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), companies would have to notify customers as soon as possible if their data — such as NRIC numbers, credit card information or passwords — had been compromised. Businesses would have to inform the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) within 72 hours if they were hit by significant data breaches — when personal data of 500 or more consumers has been compromised. In the first major review of the Act, which came into effect in 2014, they could also be allowed to use consumers’ personal data without getting their consent in certain cases. This and other proposals were put up for public consultation on Thursday (July 27). The PDPA currently requires an individual’s consent if an organisation wants to collect their personal data. Announcing the review at the Personal Data Protection Seminar on Thursday, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said the PDPA was crafted in an era when “the majority of data was provided by users who fill in their personal particulars via physical and online forms”.  “Today, data can be generated and mined through online activities and transactions,” he told the seminar at Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Under the proposals, if companies wish to use customer data for legal or business purposes in situations where it is not appropriate to get their consent, they can do so provided it will be of “larger benefit to the public”. For example, bicycle-sharing services may want to share, among themselves, data of customers with a track record of misusing or damaging bikes. In cases when it is impractical to get consent, firms could use customer data provided it caused no “harm” to them, such as leading to calls or spam.  For example, a developer of web-connected devices, like a smartwatch, may want to analyse users’ data to improve its services, but might not be able to get consent through the smartwatch interface. Under the proposals, it would be allowed to do so as long as it did not harm the consumers. The proposed rules would just require the businesses to notify customers in any manner of their choosing, such as via their websites. Mr Bryan Tan, of law firm Pinsent Masons, said the proposals offer “a more graduated approach”, adding: “It is a more refined way of giving businesses more options.” On whether the criteria that businesses would have to meet before doing away with customers’ consent are sufficiently watertight, Mr Tan said the onus would lie on businesses to make that judgment — for example, whether customers would suffer harm as a result. However, Mr Jack Ow, intellectual property & technology partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, believes that “harm” may be interpreted differently by different organisations: “It remains open as to how the standard of harm should be assessed, and if objectively assessed, on whose or what standards, principles and/or morality.” The proposals are up for public consultation until Sept 21. The PDPC hopes to implement them by 2019.
July 24, 2017

Senior Partner Tan Chong Huat invited to speak at The Law Society of Singapore’s Future Lawyering Conference

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.