Legal Clinic

dumbothecute

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thank you!:s12:

Hi.

Apologies for the late reply.

I'm sorry for what your friend had been through. POFMA only applies to falsehoods, thus if what you said are facts there will not be any breach of POFMA.

Please go ahead and email the school principal to make sure such incidents never happen again.
 

LordDenning

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Hi Lord Denning,

Thank you so much for all your help!

May I ask, what do you think of the OCBC will generator?

I am thinking of setting up a will where most of my savings would be transferred to a charity instead of my NOK. is that very expensive?

Hi,

I have no experience with using OCBC Will Generator, but it does look good on paper especially when it is free.

As for the traditional will drafting, it ranges from $100-$500. The fees would not increase because your beneficiaries are charities instead of your next-of-kin.
 

Mikhail05

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Can you verify the authenticity of this paragraph in the article?

MOM law #3: You can’t be forced to serve a “bond” or repay employers for early termination

This is a trick Singaporean employers sometimes use to exploit foreign employees and make them too afraid to quit. The employees are told they need to serve out a bond period, and if they quit during that period they’ll be made to pay a large sum of money for termination of employment contract.

Well, guess what? If your employment contract stipulates that you need to pay a penalty for quitting during your bond period, there’s a good chance it can’t be enforced.

The catch is that if your employer has actually lost money by hiring you, he may be able to illegally recover some of the money.

That being said, a great many of the employment contracts with this bogus bond clause are just plain unreasonable. If your employer is threatening to make you pay back x months’ worth of salary if you leave, he might not actually be able to do that when you quit.

blog.moneysmart.sg/career/3-ministry-of-manpower-laws-to-know
 

Mikhail05

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MOM law #3: You can’t be forced to serve a “bond” or repay employers for early termination

This is a trick Singaporean employers sometimes use to exploit foreign employees and make them too afraid to quit. The employees are told they need to serve out a bond period, and if they quit during that period they’ll be made to pay a large sum of money for termination of employment contract.

Well, guess what? If your employment contract stipulates that you need to pay a penalty for quitting during your bond period, there’s a good chance it can’t be enforced.

The catch is that if your employer has actually lost money by hiring you, he may be able to illegally recover some of the money.

That being said, a great many of the employment contracts with this bogus bond clause are just plain unreasonable. If your employer is threatening to make you pay back x months’ worth of salary if you leave, he might not actually be able to do that when you quit.

blog.moneysmart.sg/career/3-ministry-of-manpower-laws-to-know

Hi LordDenning,

When you have the time can you please verify the authenticity of this article?
 

LordDenning

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MOM law #3: You can’t be forced to serve a “bond” or repay employers for early termination

This is a trick Singaporean employers sometimes use to exploit foreign employees and make them too afraid to quit. The employees are told they need to serve out a bond period, and if they quit during that period they’ll be made to pay a large sum of money for termination of employment contract.

Well, guess what? If your employment contract stipulates that you need to pay a penalty for quitting during your bond period, there’s a good chance it can’t be enforced.

The catch is that if your employer has actually lost money by hiring you, he may be able to illegally recover some of the money.

That being said, a great many of the employment contracts with this bogus bond clause are just plain unreasonable. If your employer is threatening to make you pay back x months’ worth of salary if you leave, he might not actually be able to do that when you quit.

blog.moneysmart.sg/career/3-ministry-of-manpower-laws-to-know

Hi,

I believe that there is a small typo in one of the sentences: "The catch is that if your employer has actually lost money by hiring you, he may be able to illegally recover some of the money."

Instead, it should read as: "The catch is that if your employer has actually lost money by hiring you, he may be able to legally recover some of the money."

The general principle is that penalty clauses (e.g. You must pay $XXXX if you breach the contract.) are unenforceable unless it can be shown that the amount is a genuine pre-estimate of the losses suffered by the innocent party.

However, for the serving of bond arising from the receipt of scholarships, it is more likely than not that the liquidated sum stipulated in the contract is a genuine pre-estimate of the losses because the benefits under the scholarship are easily ascertainable.

Other than scholarships or instances where the employers had forked out money to employ you (e.g. visa applications, work-pass permit), it would be difficult to show that the penalty clause is a genuine pre-estimate. Therefore, there is some truth in saying that "there’s a good chance it can’t be enforced", but ultimately it depends on the facts of the case.

Hope this helps!
 

Mikhail05

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Hi,

I believe that there is a small typo in one of the sentences: "The catch is that if your employer has actually lost money by hiring you, he may be able to illegally recover some of the money."

Instead, it should read as: "The catch is that if your employer has actually lost money by hiring you, he may be able to legally recover some of the money."

The general principle is that penalty clauses (e.g. You must pay $XXXX if you breach the contract.) are unenforceable unless it can be shown that the amount is a genuine pre-estimate of the losses suffered by the innocent party.

However, for the serving of bond arising from the receipt of scholarships, it is more likely than not that the liquidated sum stipulated in the contract is a genuine pre-estimate of the losses because the benefits under the scholarship are easily ascertainable.

Other than scholarships or instances where the employers had forked out money to employ you (e.g. visa applications, work-pass permit), it would be difficult to show that the penalty clause is a genuine pre-estimate. Therefore, there is some truth in saying that "there’s a good chance it can’t be enforced", but ultimately it depends on the facts of the case.

Hope this helps!

Thank you for responding and thank you for still doing this. You are a godsend! All the best to you!
 

beedao

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do not call

https://www.todayonline.com/singapo...-personal-information-37-customers-loansharks

Just curious, every now and then, i still receive email/ sms/ whatsapp on taking personal loan, ect even though i signed up for the DO NOT CALL services. So who sold my personal data? to report them is too troublesome, i did a few times and too lazy now, i just report and block the number. but every now and then will still receive some of the messages.
 

Mikhail05

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Hi LordDenning,

What are your options if your potential employer rescinds the job offer that you have already accepted?

Thanks!
 
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qhong61

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Hi Ts, if there is an existing will.
But no one is aware.
Will existing inheritance law overrides?
Thanks.
 

LordDenning

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Apologies for the delay in response, have been rather busy recently.

https://www.todayonline.com/singapo...-personal-information-37-customers-loansharks
Just curious, every now and then, i still receive email/ sms/ whatsapp on taking personal loan, ect even though i signed up for the DO NOT CALL services. So who sold my personal data? to report them is too troublesome, i did a few times and too lazy now, i just report and block the number. but every now and then will still receive some of the messages.

Practically speaking, it is difficult to find out who sold your personal data (specifically phone number) as there are too many organisations who are in possession of it. This is one of the limits of enforcing the laws and I wouldn’t be too hopeful that this can be changed.
But so long as no harm is done (other than being annoying), I guess it’s alright.

Hi LordDenning,
What are your options if your potential employer rescinds the job offer that you have already accepted?
Thanks!

Legally speaking, this is a breach of contract and you have a cause of action against the potential employer. However, such a case will not be seen positively by the Court unless the quantum of losses is very high (e.g. if you were going to be employed as the CEO of certain company with significant renumeration).

Unfortunately, there is nothing much that you can do about it, although you may spread the word (by word or by social media) that XXX company has rescinded your contract and warn the public that the company is run in such a manner. As what you have stated are facts, you will not be liable for defamation.

Hi Ts, if there is an existing will.
But no one is aware.
Will existing inheritance law overrides?
Thanks.

The fact that a will is unaware does not mean that it is invalid. You may, however, challenging the validity of a will by arguing, inter alia, that –
(a) the formalities of the will are not complied with;
(b) the deceased was of an unsound mind at the time of making the will;
(c) the deceased was under undue influence at the time of making the will;

The existing inheritance law (I assume you mean division of assets under the Intestate Succession Act) will only apply if you successfully challenged the validity of the will.
 

qhong61

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Apologies for the delay in response, have been rather busy recently.



Practically speaking, it is difficult to find out who sold your personal data (specifically phone number) as there are too many organisations who are in possession of it. This is one of the limits of enforcing the laws and I wouldn’t be too hopeful that this can be changed.
But so long as no harm is done (other than being annoying), I guess it’s alright.



Legally speaking, this is a breach of contract and you have a cause of action against the potential employer. However, such a case will not be seen positively by the Court unless the quantum of losses is very high (e.g. if you were going to be employed as the CEO of certain company with significant renumeration).

Unfortunately, there is nothing much that you can do about it, although you may spread the word (by word or by social media) that XXX company has rescinded your contract and warn the public that the company is run in such a manner. As what you have stated are facts, you will not be liable for defamation.



The fact that a will is unaware does not mean that it is invalid. You may, however, challenging the validity of a will by arguing, inter alia, that –
(a) the formalities of the will are not complied with;
(b) the deceased was of an unsound mind at the time of making the will;
(c) the deceased was under undue influence at the time of making the will;

The existing inheritance law (I assume you mean division of assets under the Intestate Succession Act) will only apply if you successfully challenged the validity of the will.
Thanks Ts....
 

3XTR3M1ST

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Hi TS,

I signed up to a forex broker account many many years ago and deposited some funds in there. Since the sales person said that my money will be safe in there for as long as I learn to trade (I was young and noob, still learning to trade at that time), I just left the account sitting there untouched. Life and work got intense as time goes by and I totally forgotten about the account.

Recently, since the market got "exciting" and I got some time to spare after being "disrupted" by COVID19, I decided to try and get active in trading, so I went back to the account, but found that all my funds in there are gone due to "inactivity fees".

The "inactivity fees" thing was introduced a few years after I signed up, and they only informed about it in an email, which I totally missed, and only saw it when I went searching the inbox and finding out about it after seeing the deductions.

There was no agreement or acknowledgement on my part in response to the new additional clause, could they insist on enforcing that on me and deduct my deposits? How can I challenge that action and recover my $$?


Thank you!
 
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LordDenning

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Hi TS,

I signed up to a forex broker account many many years ago and deposited some funds in there. Since the sales person said that my money will be safe in there for as long as I learn to trade (I was young and noob, still learning to trade at that time), I just left the account sitting there untouched. Life and work got intense as time goes by and I totally forgotten about the account.

Recently, since the market got "exciting" and I got some time to spare after being "disrupted" by COVID19, I decided to try and get active in trading, so I went back to the account, but found that all my funds in there are gone due to "inactivity fees".

The "inactivity fees" thing was introduced a few years after I signed up, and they only informed about it in an email, which I totally missed, and only saw it when I went searching the inbox and finding out about it after seeing the deductions.

There was no agreement or acknowledgement on my part in response to the new additional clause, could they insist on enforcing that on me and deduct my deposits? How can I challenge that action and recover my $$?


Thank you!

Apologies for the late reply, have been caught up with the bar exam lately.

Generally, an agreement may only be amended with consent of all the parties. However, I suspect that there may be a clause in your original agreement that allows the forex broker to include additional clauses into the agreement without consent (but presumably with notice). Nevertheless, it is at least arguable that the forex broker could have done more to draw your attention to the "inactivity fees".

Have you tried contacting them for a refund of those "inactivity fees"? If you explain to them about your plight (about not being aware of the fees until it's too late), and if they are concerned about their image or goodwill, they may offer you a refund. Otherwise, you should lodge a complaint with CCCS for their assistance.
 

firsttimebuyer

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Dear Lord Denning,

I do not know if you are still around.

But I need your advice. Should I know someone whom knowingly broke an industry regulation, am I under any obligation to report the act?
 

LordDenning

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Dear Lord Denning,

I do not know if you are still around.

But I need your advice. Should I know someone whom knowingly broke an industry regulation, am I under any obligation to report the act?

Hi.

Under section 424 of the Criminal Procedure Code, there is an obligation to report certain crimes which are more serious in nature. However, as you have indicated that it is an industry regulation that has been broken (as opposed to a crime), I would, without further information, hazard a guess that it is unlikely for an obligation to be imposed on you to report the act.

You can drop me a PM if you wish to enquire further and I will try my best to revert to you as soon as I can.
 

chrisvdb

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Hi LordDenning, thank you for the great initiative.

Would it be ok if I send you a PM about a legal issue I'm facing?
 

Mr.Penetration

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Hi all,

I've recently graduated from one of the law schools in Singapore and I'm hoping to start a mini-legal clinic here to put what I've learnt to good use for the benefit of the community. I'm not qualified yet to do pro-bono work at legal clinics but I thought I could perhaps help with what I know, especially when there's nothing to do during this circuit breaker. Understanding the limits of my experience, I may consult my professors and/or peers if necessary.

Please feel free to ask any legal question that you may have (if the information is sensitive, please generalize it or drop me a PM) and I'll assist to the best of my abilities.

As I have yet to be qualified as a practicing lawyer and given the (in)formalities of this forum, I'll only provide my opinion on the facts presented. The information provided on this forum does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please seek official legal advice if necessary. For the avoidance of doubt, nothing said on this forum shall be held to establish any lawyer-client relationship.
Paying respects to the late Lord Denning. His judgements gave me headaches to digest.

Not from legal fraternity but his judgements were also on Finance and Insurance cases..
 

HowardtheDuck

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Hi All,

Need your advise on this.

I recently gotten a new job via a recruitment agency (lets call them A) and have signed the employment contract with them. I was due to start work at the end of May. Few days later, I was also asked to sign a letter of commitment, stating that if I decline the job offer at a later date or fail to commence work, I would have to pay 1 month pay as compensation.

I was skeptical of this letter as I do not wish to be bonded by such terms.

Skip to 2 weeks later, the recruiter kept sending me email/whatsapp to chase for the signed letter of commitment. Due to my stupidity, I decided to sign this letter and stop her from chasing and hounding me.

A week later, I received a better job offer from another company. I decided to take up this offer and informed A of my decision to forgo their offer as I have found a better job. This recruiter was furious and demanded that I pay 1 month compensation and used the signed letter of commitment as proof. They said it was a breach of contract and will bring legal action against me if I did not pay them. (PS. I am just a white collar worker earning ard 3k/mth only T.T)

Question:

1. Will the agency go ahead with their threats?

2. Since I am in breach of contract, do I have any chance to win? I believe this is really unethical of this agency to come out with such clauses. I plan to find a pro bono lawyer if it really goes to legal action.

3. Signed letter of commitment stated was 9-April, but I only signed on 22-April after much chasing from the recruiter. Is this backdated "contract" still valid? Can I say I signed it due to duress? (continously chasing from recruiter)

4. I called MOM and they said they cannot help as employee-employer relationship is not established, so my problem is with the agency.zzz. Any other governing bodies which can help me?

Hopeful for some advise as I do not wish to pay this 3k to the agency T.T
 

qhong61

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Hi All,

Need your advise on this.

I recently gotten a new job via a recruitment agency (lets call them A) and have signed the employment contract with them. I was due to start work at the end of May. Few days later, I was also asked to sign a letter of commitment, stating that if I decline the job offer at a later date or fail to commence work, I would have to pay 1 month pay as compensation.

I was skeptical of this letter as I do not wish to be bonded by such terms.

Skip to 2 weeks later, the recruiter kept sending me email/whatsapp to chase for the signed letter of commitment. Due to my stupidity, I decided to sign this letter and stop her from chasing and hounding me.

A week later, I received a better job offer from another company. I decided to take up this offer and informed A of my decision to forgo their offer as I have found a better job. This recruiter was furious and demanded that I pay 1 month compensation and used the signed letter of commitment as proof. They said it was a breach of contract and will bring legal action against me if I did not pay them. (PS. I am just a white collar worker earning ard 3k/mth only T.T)

Question:

1. Will the agency go ahead with their threats?

2. Since I am in breach of contract, do I have any chance to win? I believe this is really unethical of this agency to come out with such clauses. I plan to find a pro bono lawyer if it really goes to legal action.

3. Signed letter of commitment stated was 9-April, but I only signed on 22-April after much chasing from the recruiter. Is this backdated "contract" still valid? Can I say I signed it due to duress? (continously chasing from recruiter)

4. I called MOM and they said they cannot help as employee-employer relationship is not established, so my problem is with the agency.zzz. Any other governing bodies which can help me?

Hopeful for some advise as I do not wish to pay this 3k to the agency T.T
They are not wrong.
 

LordDenning

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Apologies for the late reply - as this thread has been relatively quiet for the past few months, I only check it once every now and then.

Hi LordDenning, thank you for the great initiative.

Would it be ok if I send you a PM about a legal issue I'm facing?

Yes, please feel free to send a PM about the legal issue and I will try my best to answer your queries.

Hi All,

Need your advise on this.

I recently gotten a new job via a recruitment agency (lets call them A) and have signed the employment contract with them. I was due to start work at the end of May. Few days later, I was also asked to sign a letter of commitment, stating that if I decline the job offer at a later date or fail to commence work, I would have to pay 1 month pay as compensation.

I was skeptical of this letter as I do not wish to be bonded by such terms.

Skip to 2 weeks later, the recruiter kept sending me email/whatsapp to chase for the signed letter of commitment. Due to my stupidity, I decided to sign this letter and stop her from chasing and hounding me.

A week later, I received a better job offer from another company. I decided to take up this offer and informed A of my decision to forgo their offer as I have found a better job. This recruiter was furious and demanded that I pay 1 month compensation and used the signed letter of commitment as proof. They said it was a breach of contract and will bring legal action against me if I did not pay them. (PS. I am just a white collar worker earning ard 3k/mth only T.T)

Question:

1. Will the agency go ahead with their threats?

2. Since I am in breach of contract, do I have any chance to win? I believe this is really unethical of this agency to come out with such clauses. I plan to find a pro bono lawyer if it really goes to legal action.

3. Signed letter of commitment stated was 9-April, but I only signed on 22-April after much chasing from the recruiter. Is this backdated "contract" still valid? Can I say I signed it due to duress? (continously chasing from recruiter)

4. I called MOM and they said they cannot help as employee-employer relationship is not established, so my problem is with the agency.zzz. Any other governing bodies which can help me?

Hopeful for some advise as I do not wish to pay this 3k to the agency T.T

Without sighting the exact clause in question, below are my responses to your questions.

1. I cannot say with certainty whether the agency will or will not proceed with legal action. However, more often than not, it is not worth the time and costs to pursue a claim that is only $3k.

2. The response will be provided in point form due to the number of sub-parts
  • First of all, it may not be easy to find a pro bono lawyer for civil cases, although you may seek legal advice from those legal clinics in the community centres.
  • Second, given the quantum of the claim, any legal action will have to be brought before the Small Claims Tribunal and there is no need for legal representation - parties will argue the case before a judge personally.
  • Third, your best shot to fight this case is perhaps to argue that (1) the damages (i.e., $3k) is not a genuine pre-estimate of the loss, and (2) even if (1) is true, the agency ought to have mitigated its loss by seeking another candidate.
    • The law mandates that all liquidated damages clause (i.e., clauses that fix an amount of money to be paid for breach of contract) must be a genuine pre-estimate of the loss incurred by the innocent party. However, the burden of proof lies on you.
    • The law is not settled on whether liquidated damages clauses are subject to the principles of mitigation, but it may be worth a shot if you reach the stage of legal proceedings. This will likely depend on how much time the agency had (to find another candidate) between your repudiation of contract and the actual commencement date of the contract.
3. The "contract" will still be valid. In contract law, arguing that a contract is void due to duress is likely to succeed only when there are physical threats involved. Thus, being constantly "chased" by the recruiter would not be considered as duress.

4. This is a private matter between you and the agency, so I'm afraid there is no governing body that can help you.

Your best bet is probably to hope that $3k is not worth the troubles for the agency. Otherwise, if this matter is brought to the SCT, you can still counter-offer with a lower amount to settle the case. Please feel free to reach out (either here or via PM) if you have any further question.

Once again, I stress that none of the above constitutes legal advice.
 
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