Revisiting the Law of Confidence in Singapore and a Proposal for a New Tort of Misuse of Private Information

73 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2020

See all articles by Cheng Lim Saw

Cheng Lim Saw

Singapore Management University - School of Law

Samuel Chan

Singapore Management University, School of Law

Wen Min Chai

Singapore Management University - School of Law

Date Written: August 28, 2020

Abstract

This article critically examines the recent Court of Appeal decision in I-Admin (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Hong Ying Ting [2020] SGCA 32 and its implications for the law of confidence. The article begins by setting out the decision at first instance, and then on appeal. It argues that the Court of Appeal’s “modified approach” fails to meaningfully engage the plaintiff’s wrongful gain interest and places the law’s emphasis primarily, if not wholly, on the plaintiff’s wrongful loss interest. The new framework also appears to have been influenced by English jurisprudence, which has had a long but unhelpful history of conflating the distinct concepts of “privacy” and “confidentiality”. To that end, it is submitted that the “modified approach” can play a more meaningful role in the context of a new common law cause of action to be known as the tort of “misuse of private information”. Insofar as disputes involving commercial confidences are concerned, the traditional three-stage test for the breach of confidence action famously laid down in Coco v Clark should be retained, albeit in a modified form.

Suggested Citation

Saw, Cheng Lim and Chan, Zheng Wen Samuel and Chai, Wen Min, Revisiting the Law of Confidence in Singapore and a Proposal for a New Tort of Misuse of Private Information (August 28, 2020). (2020) 32 Singapore Academy of Law Journal 891-963, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3722095

Cheng Lim Saw (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - School of Law ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore, 179943
Singapore

Zheng Wen Samuel Chan

Singapore Management University, School of Law ( email )

Singapore

Wen Min Chai

Singapore Management University - School of Law ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore, 179943
Singapore

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