Covid-19 In Singapore: What You Need To Know About Your Legal Rights

With the ever-increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in Singapore, the government has taken great steps to increase social distancing. On 3 April 2020, the Government announced Circuit Breaker Measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. On 7 April 2020 the Government announced further measures to enhance social distancing during the Circuit Breaker Measures from 8 April 2020 to 4 May 2020.

Social Distancing, Essential Services, Control Order – What does all that mean to me?

Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act and the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures ) (Control Order) Regulations 2020, the government has outlined that you should stay at home as much as possible until 4 May 2020.

You are allowed to go out but only if you need to do the following and anything that is connected with them:

(1) to work for or with an essential service provider, a specified school or an early childhood development centre;

(2) to procure any goods or services from an essential service provider or a specified school;

(3) to obtain — (i) medical treatment for a suspected Covid-19 infection at a hospital; medical clinic or any other place, designated by the Director for the treatment of Covid-19; or (ii) medical treatment that is of a pressing nature

(4) to engage in any recreational activity in an open-air stadium, public path or public park alone or with any other individual who lives with you;

(5) where an individual works for or with an essential service provider, to bring the individual’s child or children to a place where the child or children are to be cared for;

(6) to assist any individual who has a physical or mental disability, or is below 12 years of age or above 60 years of age, with his or her daily needs;

(7) to report for enlistment or service under the Enlistment Act;

(8) to report to any law enforcement officer or to attend at any court in accordance with any warrant, summons or order made under any written law or order of a court;

(9) to be present at any place in accordance with a requirement under any written law; 

(10) to seek or render help in an emergency;

(11) to move to another place of accommodation; and

(12) to leave Singapore.

Things that you should note:

Under the regulations you are no longer allowed to have any gatherings, in private or public with individuals who are not living in the same household. This means you are no longer allowed to meet with anybody who is not staying in the same house as you.

What about immediate family members, can I visit them?

The simple answer is no, unless you are assisting family members who are below 12 years old or above 60 years old and or those suffering from physical or mental disabilities with their daily needs.

Since I am allowed to exercise, can I exercise together with my family/friends who stay nearby? I mean we always go to the same park, PCN or stadium, I might bump into them there.

Again the answer is no. Individuals are encouraged to limit their social contact to members within the same household. Whilst you may encounter people you know within the vicinity of your home whilst you are out, you should maintain the required social distancing measures such as maintaining a distance of 1m from them.

Can I go to the market/supermarket every day?

Whilst the regulations does not restrict you from leaving your homes to buy essential items such as food every day, you are not encouraged to do so. Each household should try to go to the market once a week to limit the crowds at the market.

Keep in mind that the objective of these enhanced Circuit Breaker Measure is to reduce significant movements and interactions in public and private places so that we can slow down and halt the increasing local transmission of Covid-19 cases.

During the upcoming long weekend, is it advisable that I take my family out?

Most public parks remain open for you to go to, keep in mind the objective of the measures that have been put in place. Visit a park near you to minimise the amount of travelling time. Please remember to check safedistparks.nparks.gov.sg so that you can access how crowded the parks are before making your way there. Keep in mind that NParks will be closely monitoring the visitorship of popular parks and may close them temporarily so that safe distancing can be observed.

Punishments under the regulations:
  1. first time offenders who are found breaching these regulations, an enforcement officer will take down his or her particulars and issue a written stern warning;
  2. Subsequent offences will result in a composition fine or prosecution. The police may also be contacted for follow-up action;

iii. If convicted, first-time offenders can face a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both. Second-time offenders can be fined up to $20,000, jailed up to 12 months, or face both penalties.

Is the Government really going to enforce this? 

Yes, indication from media reports suggest that the government is taking this matter very seriously. In the first two days of after the enhanced circuit breaker measures were put in place 10,000 advisories were issued against individuals for flouting the regulations.

Covid-19 and the law; What legal matters can still go on?

COURT SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE DURING THE 7 APRIL TO 4 MAY 2020 CIRCUIT BREAKER MEASURES

In light of the circuit breaker measures announced by the Prime Minister and the Multi Ministry Taskforce, the Honourable Chief Justice has also directed the Supreme Court, State Courts and Family Justice Courts only hear essential and urgent matters during the period from 7 April to 4 May where circuit breaker measures are in place.

Other than these essential and urgent matters, most matters will be adjourned to a date to be fixed:-

Criminal Matters
  1. A Magistrate’s Appeal involving an appellant whose sentence of imprisonment would be completed within or shortly after the circuit breaker period.
  1. A Magistrate’s Appeal involving a sentence of caning where the accused person is approaching 50 years of age.
  2. An application for an order for review of detention.
  3. An application concerning bail or review of bail.
  4. An application for stay of judicial execution.
  5. The production of an arrested person in court within 48 hours.
  6. Applications for the remand of an accused.
  7. Hearings before a Magistrate for assessment of suitability of bailors and application for further detention orders under the Immigration Act.
  8. Pre-Trial-Conferences, Trials and Plead Guilty Mentions concerning remanded accused persons which need to be expedited in the interests of justice (this will be determined by the Court on a case-by-case basis)
Civil Matters

An application for urgent injunction or search order or an application to set aside an injunction or search order. 

Matters relating to the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019.

Matters relating to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act or the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

An application for urgent judicial review in relation to implementation of COVID-19 measures.

Matters relating to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act.

Matters relating to the Protection from Harassment Act, if there are issues of personal safety involved.

Extension of time for insolvency and restructuring matters.

Applications for interim payments in personal injury cases or in cases where payment is urgently needed.

An application for a stay of execution of a civil judgment.

Family Matters
  1. Urgent matters under the Probate and adoption matters under the Mental Capacity Act such as applications for access to emergency fund.
  2. Child abduction cases where urgent orders are required.
  3. Youth arrest cases where the subject is in remand and would be prejudiced as a result of an adjournment.
  4. Child Protection cases where the safety of the child is at risk.
  5. Beyond Parental Control cases where the youth is in remand.
  6. Family violence proceedings where the matter involves a higher risk of imminent danger.
  7. Maintenance proceedings where urgent hearing is necessary due to the immediate financial needs on the part of the applicant and/or his/her dependents.
Conclusion

All other matters scheduled for hearing during the circuit breaker period which the Court has not assessed to be essential and urgent will be adjourned to such date and will notify the parties. However, should a party still wish for their matter to be heard with the Relevant Period, they must make a request to the Court. Parties should not make a request if the hearing is not essential or urgent merely because it is convenient.

The information contained on this website contains general information about our lawyers, firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.

Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. You can Click on the link provided.

 

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Strategies For Commercial Litigation In Singapore

The law is an extensive domain that covers countless legal issues. One of the common areas is Commercial Litigation. Commercial litigation is a general term that encompasses and describes any kind of dispute that arises from business related matters.

All You Need To Know To Have A Better Understanding of Commercial Litigation

It covers any dispute between businesses or companies. This form of litigation refers to two or more parties trying to solve a conflict that involves business transactions by appealing through to the legal system.

As such commercial litigation is an umbrella term applying to any business related issues.

Some examples of such issues are such as breach of contracts and agreements, partnership disputes, shareholder issues and many more. Legal services for business are usually required in all these cases.

Aside from commercial litigation, other legal services for business such as contract/agreement reviews, tax advice, and form fulfillment and filing are just as essential.

What Can A Commercial Litigation Lawyer Do For Me?

A commercial litigation lawyer is a legal professional that represents a company’s interest in their financial issue within the business or any disputes that may arise related to the business.

The lawyer’s objective and goal is to defend the company’s rights and do their best to achieve the best possible outcomes at the end of the litigation process.

When you get in touch with a commercial litigation lawyer, the first thing he/she will do is to listen to your issue and assess how to go about resolving it.

You will be required to answer all their questions to the best of your abilities and provide relevant evidence so as to help them get a better understanding of your situation and better plan on how they should tackle the issue with you.

You might be seeking for a representative, or you might be acting as a claimant. It is in the best interest of  a commercial lawyer to identify and choose the best legal option that will minimize the financial risks for your business.

Upon thorough assessment, they will then establish your claim’s potential, and inform you whether it’s best to go for a court lawsuit or an out-of-court settlement.

Either way, the lawyer’s role implies various responsibilities. They manage all the legal matters on your behalf, from proof-gathering to the actual filing.

These are some of the most common duties commercial litigation lawyers usually have to undertake during a litigation process:

  • conducting the initial case evaluation
  • drafting the necessary motions or pleadings
  • formulating responses to the other party’s complaint
  • exchanging information with the other party during the discovery process
  • preparing the necessary documentation for the court lawsuit
  • choosing the best strategy to deploy in court based on the existing evidence
  • presenting the case in court
  • negotiating with the opposing party’s lawyers during the settlement phase
  • appealing the case if negotiation does not work out.
When Should I Get In Touch With A Commercial Litigation Lawyer?

Here are some of the most common examples of commercial disputes that require legal assistance:

  • breach of contracts
  • corporate disputes
  • fraud disputes
  • intellectual property disputes
  • debt collection
  • partnership or shareholder disputes
  • employment disputes
  • breach of fiduciary duty
  • tortuous interference
  • product liability claims

Most of the time, commercial lawyers are not masters of all trades, they have excellent experience in their own expertise and may not be experts in all these different areas of litigation.

Hence, it’s essential to seek a lawyer who has proven experience in the niche that interests you if you have a dispute to solve.

What Should I Look For?

Commercial litigation is a complex legal area. Commercial disputes and conflicts can lead to significant complications if they are not solved quickly. The only way to address such issues is to efficiently get in touch with a commercial litigation lawyer.

Here is what you should look for when in search for experts;

1 – Competence And Proficiency

First and foremost, when you are looking for your future commercial litigation lawyer, you must ensure that you choose someone that has significant expertise in this niche. Working with a lawyer who is not specialized or trained in this specific area might compromise the outcome of your results.

Run a background check before you make the decision to sign a contract with a litigation lawyer. Look up for the name of your lawyer in the local directory and court records to have a broader view of their experience and repertoire.

2 – Excellence And Positive Reviews

Subsequently you will have to check your lawyer’s reputation. Surely would not want to work with someone who is inexperienced and also difficult to talk to. Nowadays, there are multiple ways of finding out how popular a lawyer is.

Just type in their name on an internet search engine and have a look on what other clients have to say about them.

If you are searching for an experienced litigation lawyer, you should most likely find many reviews and comments related to that person’s performance and approach. Futhermore, you might also discover other peers’ opinion which will weigh heavily on your decision.

3 – Affordable Litigation Lawyer?

After having a better understanding of the competence and personality of the lawyer you are searching for, you will probably want to know how much working with this them costs. When you are about to start a commercial litigation, financial factors play a major role before you actually decide to proceed.

If your dispute is not worth much money, you might be better off not hiring the most expensive commercial lawyer in your area. Counter check several lawyers and the costs of hiring them before you decide to work with one.

Also, you should be clear when asking for an estimated value of how much your case is worth.

You must ask directly from your commercial litigation lawyer and get them to anticipate the outcome in both the best and worst-case scenarios.

4 – Availability And Trust

When you decide to start a litigation procedure together with a commercial lawyer of your choice, you should ensure that they guide you throughout your journey. In many law firms, lawyers have a whole team with them by their side.

This team normally includes associates and paralegals who are often required to take over some of the lawyer’s cases because he or she is too busy to handle all of them.

Do not hesitate to ask whether the lawyer you’ve chosen will be the one directly in charge of your case. You should know right from the very beginning who will do the actual work and then decide whether you still want to sign with that firm or not.

5 – Transparency & Open Communication

Lastly, you need to have a clear understanding of how your commercial litigation lawyer operates and how he or she charges. Before deciding to sign an agreement with a legal representative, make sure you are fully aware of the terms and conditions that will govern the relationship you have with your lawyer.

You will be required to sign an official agreement with them and it’s crucial that you understand everything that is written in that contract. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to ask your future lawyer to explain it to you clearly.

These are just some of the essential factors that you should take into account when selecting a commercial litigation lawyer. Besides what has already been mentioned, another point that needs to be highlighted is the importance of a personal approach.

You certainly want to work with someone who shows genuine interest in your case. So, don’t rush in to sign a contract until you feel satisfied and comfortable with the lawyer who will be fully dedicated to helping you out.

Handling A Dispute With Business Partner, Customer or Supplier?

Before taking any action, you should ask yourself if you can settle the dispute amicably first. The other party may very well be open to negotiating a compromise.  That way you can avoid unnecessary court or legal fees.

If you cannot work it out, then you might want to decide on hiring a lawyer and go to court. If the dispute is for a small amount of money, it might be better to represent yourself.

The Singapore Court System includes the State, Supreme and Family Justice Courts. If you have a civil case (e.g. a claim for breach of contract, or damage caused by negligence), the amount of your claim will determine which court you commence your action in.

In general, civil cases involving claims not exceeding $60,000 are dealt with by the Magistrates’ Courts. Claims of more than $60,000 but not exceeding $250,000 are dealt with by the District Courts. Claims above $250,000 are dealt with by the High Court.

The law does not require you to be represented by a lawyer unless you are a body corporate (e.g. a limited company or a private limited company).

The larger the dispute or the more complicated it is, and the more sense it makes to hire a lawyer. Remember hiring a lawyer means you pay the legal fees and costs of experts. The opposing party is rarely ordered to pay your expenses in litigation.

Should I Engage A Litigation Lawyer?

Selecting a lawyer familiar with commercial litigation can quite the formidable task. You can check with other businesses about who they usually hire or you can also check online to find out what lawyers specialize in commercial litigation.

For some disputes it is far less expensive to just do it yourself. For other matters, they may require a lawyer. who has your best interest at heart.

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Cheating Case Or Just A Breach Of Contract?

The most common conflict found in businesses are that of a breach of contract. It means to say someone failed to follow through on a promise. It could be as simple as not paying a bill, or it could be poor workmanship, or even misrepresentation of what someone’s goods or service.

Disputes can also be two sided, one party may claim they were cheated, and the other party make the same allegations. For example, a supplier may demand $20,000 for delivery while the recipient counterclaims that the product was shoddy and cost them loss of customers and so on.

Do You Have Enough Evidence?

Your lawyer will need to see the relevant evidence and documents, such as contracts or proposals. The most difficult suits to litigate are those where the parties have a verbal agreement and expect the court to enforce it, and the two parties have completely different memories of what was promised.

Court procedure normally includes an exchange of written questions and answers (interrogatories) and depositions (question and answer sessions before a court reporter. Then the matter may go to arbitration and/or mediation to avoid a trial.

Mediation or Arbitration

These are procedures where another lawyer or business person works together with the parties to resolve the issue. They can go for many days or be over in an hour. Some courts mandate them, sometimes parties prefer them, and sometimes they succeed.

If they do not, then the matter goes to court.

Experts As A Witness

Complicated matters require experts for both sides. For example, a breach of contract involving the wholesale purchase of items, could be easily resolved without an expert. The supplier shipped some items which costs a certain amount and is owed a certain amount.

The consumer has the proposal, the shipping order and proof of delivery. Obviously anyone can see that no expert is needed for such a dispute. Others might be much more complicated.

Conclusion

As a business owner or leader, you may most likely encounter business disputes and conflicts which can range from internal issues to external fights and attack profits or endanger ongoing operations.

Business disputes seldom explode immediately into full blown litigation. Instead, like all disputes, they usually begin small and snowball into a lengthy and expensive litigation.

The earlier you take proactive steps along the litigation the better off you and your business will be. Therefore, while business disputes and any litigation they spawn must be dealt with quickly and aggressively.

It is always useful to consider preventive measures that avoid disputes or at least ensure that you have developed the best defenses in advance.

The information contained on this website contains general information about our lawyers, firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.

Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. You can Click on the link provided.

 

Chat With A Lawyer For Free Consultation – Whatsapp Now