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The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to change how we operate business moving forward. With a majority of the global workforce currently telecommuting amid the elevated border control and safe distancing measures, there is an increased need to assess what would be the most efficient way of executing contracts and documents in the new normal. There is therefore more demand for the use of electronic signatures in commercial transactions.
In this Update, we highlight some key requirements or considerations that you should take note of to ensure that a document or contract that has been executed by electronic signatures is valid.Singapore | Contracts & Force Majeure | 13 July 2020
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 Extended to Leases/Rental Agreements for Commercial Equipment and Commercial Vehicles
The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 ("Act") provides for, among other things, targeted and temporary reliefs for individuals and businesses that are unable to perform certain contracts due to the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19. These temporary relief measures apply for six months from 20 April 2020 to 19 October 2020.
On 20 June 2020, the Act was amended to (1) extend the temporary relief measures under the Act to leases or rental agreements for commercial equipment and commercial vehicles; and (2) give effect to part of the changes set out in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Act 2020. These changes aim to enhance the temporary relief measures for an inability to perform a scheduled contract specified in the Act.
This Update provides a summary of the changes to the Act that took effect on 20 June 2020.Singapore | Contracts & Force Majeure | 29 June 2020
Following the Prime Minister’s latest announcement that the Conditional Movement Control Order ("CMCO") has been extended until 9 June 2020 (but with further industries and businesses gradually opening up since the start of the CMCO on 4 May 2020), companies and organisations are increasingly compelled by circumstances to adopt new and innovative ways to resume business. Work from home arrangements have been widely implemented across industries to support the Government’s call to practice social distancing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia. In light of the present circumstances, companies and organisations (essential and non-essential services alike) have now turned towards "e-signing" to facilitate the signing and execution of documents in the commercial context. In this client update, we analyse and address some of the legal issues related to the use of electronic signatures.”).Malaysia | Contracts & Force Majeure | 12 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Fourteen Rajah & Tann Singapore’s Lawyers Appointed by Singapore's Ministry of Law to Serve as Assessors under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act
Rajah & Tann Singapore is pleased to announce that 14 of our lawyers have been appointed by Singapore's Ministry of Law to serve as assessors under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act. They were appointed by the Minister for Law to resolve disputes arising from the application of the Act. The Assessor will decide whether the case is one to which the relief under the Act applies and will seek to achieve an outcome that is just and equitable in the circumstances.
The appointed assessors who come from the firm's Disputes and Corporate practices are the following:
- Aleksandar Georgiev
- Alvin Tan Yong Joon
- Alyssa Leong
- Benjamin Teo
- Clement Chan
- Devathas Satianathan
- Dominique Lombardi
- Kevin Tan
- Lionel Tay
- Matthew Koh
- Nur Rauda Mohamed Said
- Pamela Wong
- Phang Hwee Guang
- Yip Li Ming
On 20 April 2020, the provisions in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 Act dealing with the following temporary measures came into force:
- Temporary relief for inability to perform a scheduled contract specified in the Act that is to a material extent caused by a COVID-19 event; and
- Temporary relief for financially distressed individuals and businesses by increasing the debt thresholds for bankruptcy and insolvency.
The Regulations setting out the details for a party to seek the temporary reliefs under the Act were also issued and came into force on 20 April 2020.
This Update provides a summary of the requirements and process for seeking these temporary reliefs under the Act and includes an overview guide of the procedure diagrammed for your ease of reference.
Singapore | Contracts & Force Majeure | 23 April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a substantial impact on business operations in many industries. As the performance of contractual obligations becomes increasingly difficult, contractual parties should consider the potential legal impact and effect of the outbreak on their commercial contracts and agreements. A frequently asked question is what will happen to contracts and whether or not the performance of obligations can be delayed or suspended or would the parties be liable for losses in any event. In assessing these issues, parties should focus on force majeure clauses and how these apply to their contracts, and the options available in the absence of such contractual provisions. In this Update, we take a look at the rules of force majeure under Thai law, and whether it can be invoked in light of the pandemic.Thailand | Contracts & Force Majeure | 17 April 2020
The new COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill ("COVID Bill") will be introduced in Parliament next week and is anticipated to be passed into law shortly after. As the title suggests, the COVID Bill is intended to provide targeted and temporary relief for parties that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, find themselves unable to perform obligations under certain scheduled contracts – including contracts to which the government is a party. The COVID Bill will also temporarily increase the existing bankruptcy and insolvency thresholds for individuals and businesses respectively, as well as provide more time to respond to statutory demands from creditors. This Update provides a summary of these temporary reliefs under the COVID Bill.Singapore | Contracts & Force Majeure | 03 April 2020
The respiratory disease caused by a new strain of virus, Covid-19, is a global pandemic spreading over 200 countries and territories, with hundreds of thousands of infections and deaths without any sign of the situation easing. The Covid-19 outbreak has severely affected the global supply chain of goods and the operations of enterprises in numerous sectors from manufacturing to services. Many enterprises are currently unable to perform their executed contracts due to the shortage of labour and raw materials supply, as well as the administrative measures and/or decisions of the state agencies to isolate persons who are infected with the disease.
It is a legal concern of many enterprises whether the Covid-19 outbreak constitutes a Force Majeure event that would warrant an exemption from liabilities or penalties in the event of a breach of a contract.
This Update provides an overview of the concept of a Force Majeure event, and a legal analysis of the Covid-19 outbreak from Vietnam’s legal perspective.Vietnam | Contracts & Force Majeure | 03 April 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak has been a jarring development across the globe, bringing about much uncertainty in the commercial world. In this Update, we look at some of the common questions regarding the potential legal impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on contracts and agreements. This includes a focus on force majeure, frustration and the obstructions which may arise in specific industries such as Shipping & International Trade, Construction & Projects, and Hospitality and Tourism.
Singapore | Contracts & Force Majeure | 20 February 2020
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