Case Update: SGB Starkstrom Pte Ltd v Commissioner for Labour [2016] SCGA 27 – authority to act for mentally incapacitated person

Significance: Singapore Court of Appeal emphasises that the Mental Capacity Act is the prevailing legislation of general application governing the conferment of authority on a third party to manage the affairs of a mentally incapacitated person. It will be applicable across all situations in which a third person purports to act on behalf of a mentally incapacitated individual. Without such authority conferred by law, no one–not even a next of kin–can purport to act on behalf of, make decisions for, elect on legal remedies for, a mentally incapacitated person: [25].

This decision also considered in obiter dicta the issue of whether the public law doctrine of legitimate expectations is applicable under Singapore law. The Court left this open, but raised many difficulties with the doctrine.

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