Case Update: Can an employee bring an unfair dismissal claim after accepting a severance payment?

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In this Case Update series, I share summaries of recent Malaysian court decisions to explore the current approach taken by the courts when deciding on employment-related issues. You can find all the posts in the series by clicking here, including case updates on other legal areas by TheMalaysianLawyer co-founder Lee Shih.

Malaysian employment law is relatively pro-employee when it comes to termination of employment. Based on the fundamental principle of security of tenure, any termination by an employer must be with just cause. In practice, just cause can sometimes be difficult to establish.

To avoid having to establish just cause — and to terminate an employment relationship without being exposed to the risk of an unfair dismissal claim — many employers opt to negotiate a mutual separation with the employee.

Typically, some form of monetary compensation (and sometimes other terms as well) is negotiated between the parties, and documented in a mutual separation agreement. The agreement will usually contain a clause to the effect that the employee confirms that the separation package and terms are in full settlement of any claims the employee may have, and that the employee will not bring an unfair dismissal claim.

So what happens where a mutual separation agreement is signed, and the employer makes the agreed compensation payment, but the employee then proceeds to file an unfair dismissal claim?

The relevant legal principles were recently considered by the Industrial Court in Raul Fabrizio Casserini v. George Fischer (M) Sdn Bhd [2017] 3 ILR.

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5 tips from an intern on making the most of a law firm internship

Crystal Wong

Guest writer Crystal Wong, who has three law firm internships under her belt, shares her tips on making the most of those short stints.

Being an intern gives you a good platform to engage in an out-of-classroom and out-of-this-world experience. Internships give you a glimpse of how the legal scene unveils itself in a practical manner. I interned in Peter Ling & van Geyzel (PLVG) in Kuala Lumpur during my summer break in August 2017, and it turned out to be one of my favorite experiences.

Having now experienced internships in three different law firms, here are my 5 tips to make the most of your internship.

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The #LexTech17 conference — exploring the impact of legal tech and innovations on legal practice

The LexTech Conference 2017 — Malaysia’s first legal tech conference, which aimed to raise awareness on legal tech and to promote technology adoption — was held on 4-5 November 2017. Among the legal tech experts and innovators, lawyers, general counsel, and other interested parties who assembled from all over Asia, was our own intrepid reporter Janice Tan Ying. She prepared this report on what she managed to glimpse of the future of law. You can read our other coverage via the #LexTech17 tag.

‘Blockchain’, ‘Smart Contract’, ‘NewLaw’. Dubbed the ‘uberisation’ of legal services — is this just fleeting hype, or are these new legal tech trends here to stay? If it is the latter, will it disrupt the livelihoods of legal practitioners, or enable lawyers to enhance their practice? While these buzzwords may sound like gobbledygook (read: tech jargon) to the everyday lawyer, talk about impending ‘disruption’ in the legal industry is rife.

According to Malaysian Bar President George Varughese, “legal technology is still somewhat an enigma in this region”. He said this during his welcoming address at #LexTech17 — the inaugural LexTech Conference 2017 which took place on 4-5 November 2017 in Cyberjaya. He also added — “Some of us know it well and welcome it with an embrace but many of us are threatened by its penetration and understandably so. It’s disruptive, it’s innovative and it’s necessary.”

Image 1 Malaysian Bar President George Varughese delivering the conference welcoming address
Malaysian Bar President George Varughese delivering the conference welcoming address | Photo credit: CanLaw Asia

Jointly organised by CanLaw Asia and Brickfields Asia College (BAC), the two-day conference saw the region’s leading legal practitioners and legal tech innovators come together to share their ideas and solutions on legal innovation. Topics that were discussed throughout the expert panel and breakout sessions on both days centred around four issues: The role of regulators and accelerators in legal innovation, blockchain and smart contracts, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in legal research, and how legal practitioners can future-proof their practice.

The following are four key themes from the conference:

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Three Grappling Legal Issues in Esports

Esports. More than 150 million viewers globally and a multimillion industry. It is expected to soon exceed US$1 billion in 2019. Richard Wee, Lesley Lim, Bryan Boo and Vincent Lim introduce us to three legal issues surrounding the esports industry.

The evolution of esports from its inception to a world-wide phenomenon is truly fascinating. What began as just a few friends playing against each other on the computer or a gaming console has today become multi-million dollar tournaments such as The International 2017, a Dota 2 tournament, boasting a total prize pool of $24,687,919.00, with the champion team taking home a massive $10,862,683.

Governments and organisations around the world are recognising the potential in esports. Even major television channels like ESPN and Fox Sports have jumped into the fray. With the Olympic Council of Asia’s announcement that esports will be included in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, it is no wonder that traditional sports organisations are starting to acquire their own esports team, like the Dallas Cowboys’ owner acquiring esports organisation compLexity Gaming. Amidst all the hype, we look at 3 legal issues that the industry has to grapple with. Continue reading

#LexTech17: How Singapore’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) is driving innovation in the legal industry

The LexTech Conference 2017 will be held in Cyberjaya on 4 & 5 November 2017. Visit the event website for more information. TheMalaysianLawyer.com is a media partner of #LexTech17, and our readers can use the promo code LEXTECHTML when purchasing the tickets to enjoy a 10% discount. You can read our other posts on the conference via the LexTech17 tag.

Noemie A
Noemie Alintissar-Mooney, the Programme Manager at the Singapore Academy of Law’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP)

Singapore is home to many of the most exciting legal tech initiatives in the Southeast Asian region, and one of the main players behind this is the Singapore Academy of Law’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP).

Leading up to #LexTech17, we caught up with Noemie Alintissar-Mooney, the Programme Manager at FLIP. At the conference, Noemie will be talking about ‘Of Roadmaps, FLIP & Funding’.

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Case Update: Shareholders’ Oppression Action Extends to Group of Companies

The Malaysian High Court in Tob Chee Hoong v Tob Chee Choong & Ors [2017] MLJU 1303 has confirmed that the shareholders’ oppression remedy (section 181 of the Companies Act 1965, and section 346 of the Companies Act 2016) would extend to both the holding company and the subsidiary company.

An aggrieved shareholder may be a member of only the holding company but the oppressive conduct may only be at the subsidiary level. In line with other jurisdictions, this High Court decision confirms that the aggrieved shareholder can still seek relief. Continue reading