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No oral modification clauses in Singapore

Building Law Monthly

No oral modification clauses in Singapore

In Charles Lim Teng Siang v Hong Choon Hau [2021] SGCA 43 the Singapore Court of Appeal held that a no oral modification clause did not apply to a subsequent oral rescission of the contract between the parties. Further, it indicated its “provisional” view that, when deciding whether contracting parties had decided to depart from the terms of a no modification clause, the test that a court in Singapore should apply is whether, at the point when the parties agreed on the oral variation, they would necessarily have agreed to depart from the no oral modification clause had they addressed their mind to the question, regardless of whether they had actually considered the question or not. This is a more liberal test than the one laid down by the Supreme Court in Rock Advertising Ltd v MWB Business Exchange Centres Ltd [2018] UKSC 24, [2018] BLR 479 (on which see our June 2018 issue pp1–6) and so it would appear that the law of Singapore is likely to develop in a rather different direction from England and Wales, and it will be interesting to see whether it causes the UK Supreme Court to re-consider the issue at some future point.

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