Case Update: Philip Antony Jeyaretnam & Another v Kulandaivelu Malayaperumal & Another [2019] SGHC 214

Significance: Singapore High Court holds a person who assumed responsibility over the well-being and financial affairs of another person who lacks mental capacity to be a fiduciary and imposed an equitable lien over a HDB flat purchased with monies taken from the person lacking mental capacity.

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Case Update: B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd [2019] SGHC(I) 3; Quoine v B2C2 [2020] SGCA(I) 2 – SICC / Singapore Court of Appeal on cryptocurrency and mistake in contract formed using algorithm

Singapore Court of Appeal (“CA“) decision in Quoine Pte Ltd v B2C2 Ltd [2020] SGCA(I) 2 is groundbreaking for its analysis of contract formation through a deterministic algorithm code. Case summary here.

The majority of the CA (Jonathan Mance IJ dissenting) decided on the following key points:

When analysing mistake for contract vitiation, if a contract was formed through deterministic algorithms (i.e. it always produces the same output given the same input), it is the programmer’s state of knowledge that is relevant and to be attributed to the parties: at [98].

The inquiry should be whether, when programming the algorithm, the programmer was doing so with actual or constructive knowledge of the fact that the relevant offer would only ever be accepted by a party operating under a mistake and whether the programmer was acting to take advantage of such a mistake: at [103].

The relevant time frame within which the knowledge of a programmer or the person running the algorithm should be assessed is from the point of programming up to the point that the relevant contract was formed: at [99].

The CA held it was not necessary to decide whether cryptocurrency, specifically BTC, was a species of property that was capable of being held on trust. No express trust arose over the BTC in B2C2’s account as there was no certainty of intention to create a trust. The mere fact that Quoine’s assets were segregated from its customers’ could not in and of itself lead to that conclusion. On the facts, the manner in which the BTC was stored militated against the finding of a trust: at [144] and [145].

The CA did comment in obiter dicta that “[t]here may be much to commend the view that cryptocurrencies should be capable of assimilation into the general concepts of property. There are, however, difficult questions as to the type of property that is involved”: at [144].

Continue reading “Case Update: B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd [2019] SGHC(I) 3; Quoine v B2C2 [2020] SGCA(I) 2 – SICC / Singapore Court of Appeal on cryptocurrency and mistake in contract formed using algorithm”

Case Update: BOM v BOK [2018] SGCA 83; BOK v BOL [2017] SGHC 316 – Court sets aside trust on grounds of misrepresentation, mistake, undue influence and unconscionability, construes scope of living trust

Significance: Singapore High Court sets aside a trust on grounds of misrepresentation, mistake, undue influence and unconscionability, construes scope of living trust to include the plaintiff’s interest under a will. The Court of Appeal (“CA“) upheld the decision but disagreed with the trial judge on certain findings. The CA also rejected the broad doctrine of unconscionability as being too uncertain and subjective, affirming instead the narrow doctrine.

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Case Update: Winsta Holding Pte Ltd and another v Sim Poh Ping and others [2018] SGHC 239 – Singapore High Court rules on but for causation for equitable compensation

Significance: Singapore High Court (Coram: Chua Lee Ming J) held that AIB Group (UK) plc v Mark Redler & Co Solicitors [2014] 3 WLR 1367 (“AIB”) should be followed in that but-for causation should be established by the claimant to obtain equitable compensation where there has been a breach of trust.

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Case Update: HSBC Trustee (Singapore) Limited v Carolyn Fong Wai Lyn [2016] SGHC 31

Case Update: HSBC Trustee (Singapore) Limited v Carolyn Fong Wai Lyn [2016] SGHC 31

Significance: Singapore High Court interprets will holistically (as opposed to a clause-specific construction), orders estate’s properties to be mortgaged to raise funds for professional trustees’ fees and costs, and refuses to order that trustees be discharged as Court found it was not in the interests of beneficiaries given the ongoing litigation in relation to the estate.