Singapore Journal of Legal Studies NUS
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The Singapore Journal of Legal Studies is the flagship law journal of the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore and one of the oldest law journals in the Commonwealth. As the first and leading legal journal in Singapore, it contains a rich store of legal literature analysing the legal, political and social development of Singapore in its progression from a developing to a First World nation. The journal continues to advance the boundaries of global and local developments in law, policy and legal practice by publishing cogent and timely articles, legislation comments and case notes on a biannual basis.  


In the special feature Professor Lionel Sheridan in Conversation, an edited transcript of a filmed interview by Kevin YL Tan of Lionel Sheridan, a recollection of the early days of Sheridan’s life and his journey to Singapore to establish its first law school, the University of Malaya’s Law Department, is presented. The transcript reveals to the reader the early personal history of Sheridan, his efforts at grooming the Law Department, his interactions with the various founding figures of the Singapore legal fraternity and his vision and philosophy in legal education.

In Enforcing Unjust Enrichment Rights: The Recovery of Mistaken Payments in Practice, Rachel Leow illustrates the practical difficulties in the recovery of mistaken payments made by bank transfer despite the existence of a well-recognised cause of action in Singapore unjust enrichment law. Specifically, the article analyses obstacles in enforcement due to the protection of the mistaken payee’s identity under Singapore’s bank privacy laws. The article then proposes a helpful solution to the problem, that is to expand the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Tribunal to encompass these claims, enhancing mistaken payors’ access to justice.

In Agency Reasoning—A Formula or a Tool? Francis Reynolds and Tan Cheng Han unpack the extensive meanings behind the use of agency concepts in law. The authors start by elucidating a set of core principles, or “formula”, to an agency relationship, cornered in both the internal and the external functions of agency. More peripheral cases are then analysed, in which the agency analogy may be weak or even dangerously misleading. The authors characterise these situations as cases where agency is used as a flexible “tool” and caution that to tap on the utility of agency under these circumstances, care must be deployed.

In Liability of Directors for Criminal Breach of Trust: Recovering a Lost Interpretation, Tan Yock Lin used the case of Public Prosecutor v Lam Leng Hung, relating to the prominent scandal of the City Harvest Church, as a springboard to delve into the construction of sections 405 and 409 of the Penal Code on criminal breach of trust. Upon a comprehensive survey of the historical developments relevant to the two sections, the author argues that, contrary to the Court of Appeal reasoning, directors who committed business fraud within section 405 are properly liable under the enhanced punishment provision of section 409.

In Disposal of Common Property in Strata Schemes, Teo Keang Sood considers the situation where a management corporation decides to permanently discard or remove common property without replacing or renewing it. After an analysis of the existing statutory regimes relating to disposal of common property, the author concludes that current strata legislation does not authorise the management corporation to deal with common property in this way. The author then suggests that the equivalent of a New South Wales provision which enables the management corporation to act as such be installed in the current Singapore strata legislations to fill in the current legislative lacuna.

In Penalty Clauses: Lessons from Australia and England and Possible Legislative Reforms, Wong Wen Jian takes notice of the relatively static nature of Singapore law on penalty clauses and, in contrast, the significant developments in the same area in both Australia and England and Wales in recent times. In noting that issues on the scope of the penalty rule, the validity of penal clauses and the effect of such clauses still remain despite these case law developments, the author suggests that the Parliament consider legislative reforms instead.

In Premature Service of Payment Claims under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act—Audi Construction Pte Ltd v Kian Hiap Construction Pte Ltd, Benjamin Ong scrutinises the Court of Appeal reasoning of allowing a premature service of payment claims on the ground of “effective service” and “good reason”, which the author finds to be incongruent with existing law. In acknowledging the uncertainties that these two doctrines have created, the author suggests an alternative approach to deciding the case and calls for greater judicial elaboration or legislative clarification.

In Taking Caution at Pedestrian Crossings: Pedestrian Beware—Asnah bte Ab Rahman v Li Jianlin, Wong Wen Jian analyses both the majority and the dissenting opinions in the Singapore landmark case on contributory negligence. The author argues that the majority opinion may have wider practical implications on future personal injury claimants and translate into unfair monetary consequences for the claimants. Given these difficulties, the author concludes by suggesting that the majority opinion be confined to the special facts at hand and be reconsidered should the opportunity arises.


SJLS accepts submissions on a rolling basis and publishes 2 issues a year in March and September.

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