|231. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|Virtual World, Virtual Land but Real Property|
Hannah Yee Fen Lim  Sing JLS 304 (Dec)
Virtual worlds such as Second Life have become increasingly significant in terms of both time and money for their users. As such, it is important to analyse how the law may apply to and resolve disputes that originate in these virtual worlds. This article will focus on the virtual world Second Life, and in particular, the legal concept of land in Second Life which has come into the international legal limelight because of the Bragg litigation against Linden in the United States. Although the dispute was settled, the Bragg litigation raised the issue of the legal status of items in virtual worlds and whether these virtual items can indeed be recognised as property under the Western legal tradition. This is an issue separate from and independent of the question of intellectual property protection. This article will argue that land ownership in Second Life is very much like owning a modified form of leasehold property. Just like in the real world where more than one type of property right can subsist in a given item, this should also be the case in Second Life.[Full Text]
|232. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|Full Contractual Capacity: Use of Age for Conferment of Capacity|
Loo Wee Ling  Sing JLS 328 (Dec)
The Singapore Civil Law (Amendment) Act, effective 1 March 2009, lowered the age of full contractual capacity from 21 to 18 with the sole aim of encouraging entrepreneurship among the young. This article examines if currently available scientific evidence and practical considerations indicate: (i) whether there is utility in using an age-based criterion for conferring full contractual capacity and thus denying legal protection in contracting in light of the need to balance protection of minors in contracting against encouraging youthful entrepreneurship; (ii) even if useful, whether full contractual capacity should be conferred from age 18 in the Singapore context; and (iii) if extra measures ought to have accompanied the lowering of the age of full contractual capacity to mitigate potential problems affecting consumer-minors and entrepreneur-minors who are now deprived of previously available legal protection under contract law.
|233. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|The Amicus Curiae: Friends No More?|
S. Chandra Mohan  Sing JLS 352 (Dec)
A term commonly used in both common law and civil law jurisdictions and in domestic and international tribunals is the Latin term amicus curiae or a 'friend of the court'. Who is this friend of the court and what is his role in legal proceedings? Largely because of the remarkable manner in which this ancient institution has developed in different legal systems and been used differently even in countries sharing a common legal tradition, such as the United States and the Commonwealth countries, the important question is whether the amicus curiae can still be considered a 'friend' of any tribunal or decision maker. Has this friendship been well maintained or significantly abused over the years?
|234. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|Criminal Law Codification and Reform in Malaysia: An Overview|
Norbani Mohamed Nazeri  Sing JLS 375 (Dec)
This comment describes several of the most significant amendments to the Malaysian Penal Code in the past two decades. Sexual offences have featured prominently with changes made to the definition of rape and its penalty in order to afford greater protection to girls and women against sexual violence; a widening of the scope of unnatural offences; the creation of a version of the offence of marital rape; and new offences against the exploitation of persons for the purpose of prostitution. The offence of incest was also introduced into the Penal Code with resulting jurisdictional conflicts between the civil and Shariah courts, which the author contends should be resolved by the Penal Code taking precedent. Other amendments discussed in this comment are a reverse onus presumption provision for the offences of criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust; anti-terrorism legislation in the aftermath of 9/11; and an increased maximum penalty structure for serious offences.
|235. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|Contracting Under Lawful Act Duress|
Nathan Tamblyn  Sing JLS 400 (Dec)
The core context of duress considered here is where one party (the 'duressor') threatens to do something, to avoid which the party threatened (the 'duressee') accedes to the duressor's demands and contracts with him on his terms. If what the duressor threatens to do is unlawful, the contract can be set aside, and restitution can be had of any benefits transferred. Unlawful act duress includes duress to the person, duress of goods, and threatened breach of contract. Do the same consequences follow if what the duressor threatens to do is lawful in itself? This is lawful act duress.
|236. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|Birthing the Lawyer: The Impact of Three Years of Law School on Law Students in the National University of Singapore|
Tan Seow Hon  Sing JLS 417 (Dec)
This article examines the impact of law school and legal education on the moral and professional identities of law students through surveys and interviews of law students from the Class of 2010 at the National University of Singapore. Questions were asked to ascertain how students viewed the relationship between their personal convictions and professionalism, what they thought of lawyers and the work they would do as lawyers in future, student's opinions as to law's relationship with justice, morality and other social phenomena, and students' expectations of legal education. This article seeks to increase consciousness of how law school is remaking students and developing the moral and professional identities of future lawyers, and to facilitate conversation that reshapes legal education to achieve its aims.
|237. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|The Salient Features of Proximity: Examining the Spandeck Formulation for Establishing a Duty of Care|
David Tan  Sing JLS 459 (Dec)
The articulation of a single two-stage test by the Singapore Court of Appeal to determine the imposition of a duty of care in negligence for all types of damage claimed and for all factual scenarios is an admirable effort to bring doctrinal clarity to the neighbourhood principle. However, the notion of proximity which forms the cornerstone of the Spandeck test can benefit from a more methodical examination of a set of factual factors relevant to the relationship between the parties to the dispute. This article argues that the salient features approach of the High Court of Australia may be modified and adapted to assist Singapore courts in their analysis of "proximity" under the Spandeck formulation, and would be of significant practical benefit to judges and lawyers in their appraisement of the factual matrix.
|238. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy|
Thio Li-ann  Sing JLS 484 (Dec)
This article examines the theoretical justifications, historical origins and contemporary scope of the constitutional liberty of religious propagation, against the competing interests clothing it with a controversial character. To elucidate the quality of religious freedom within a secular democracy and the meaning of associated concepts of 'tolerance', 'pluralism and citizenship, in Singapore, it examines how the state regulates this external dimension of religious liberty, whether through legislative sanction or soft constitutional lawnorms seeking to promote compliance with non-binding government articulated standards. Two recent 'cautionary tales' are analysed to ascertain the contours of religious propagation in practice: the 2009 decision of PP v. Ong Kian Cheong where religious propagation fell afoul of sedition law, and the non-judicial management of the 'Lighthouse Evangelism' controversy where the authorities received complaints from offended Buddhists, Taoists and unaffiliated netizens about a church website video containing 'insensitive' comments.
|239. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|Case and Legislation Comments: The Division of Matrimonial Assets: A Mathematical Methodology as a "Check"?|
Chen Siyuan  Sing JLS 516 (Dec)
In a recent High Court decision concerning the division of matrimonial assets, the Judge developed an extensive (and somewhat mathematical) methodology "as a rough check" to his discretionary powers in determining a "just and equitable" division of the matrimonial assets. This introduced a new perspective to an exercise long considered to be impossible to be mathematically precise. This piece considers the extent of the utility of the new methodology.
|240. ||DECEMBER 2010 Issue|
|Case and Legislation Comments: Two Contrasting Approaches in the Interpretation of Outdated Statutory Provisions|
Goh Yihan  Sing JLS 530 (Dec)
Some statutes in operation today were passed a long time ago. Inevitably, through the passage of time, social norms at the time of enactment may now be unrecognisable. The legislative intent at the time of enactment may also seem outdated in more modern times. Judges interpreting specific provisions of these statutes may therefore encounter problems in ensuring a 'just' result in an instant case. Two recent cases show contrasting approaches towards the interpretation of outdated statutory provisions.