FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Can I use an online template for my agreements?
A: You can, if you understand the contents and know what suits your business. However it is like buying clothes off the rack - it may fit you but not very well, and in some cases the template may not even be the correct type.
Q: I don't understand the terms and conditions or risks of a contract that I'm being asked to sign - can you help me?
A: I can also review an unsigned draft for the risks that you would like to avoid. Generally, you are bound by a contract that you have signed whether you have read it or not - so it is best to get advice before you sign it.
Q: How do you charge for different types of agreements?
A: I charge fixed fees based on the complexity of the agreement, as well as any special requests to change the scope of the agreement. You can contact me at the link on the top of the page to find out more.
Q: How can your advice on the type of relationship help my business?
A: Different relationships have different rights and duties. In a case of a dispute, it will also affect the type of judgments that the court can make. Picking the right relationship reduces the risk and scope of a future dispute.
Q: The other party insists on using a different term to describe our relationship. What should I do?
A: Generally Singapore courts prefer to look at substance over form, so the terms and conditions of the agreement, as well as how parties carry on after signing the agreement matter more than the label.
Q: When do I need to engage a lawyer?
A: If you are a company and you have received a Writ of Summons, you have 8 days to appoint lawyers to enter appearance for you. However it may be prudent to seek advice once you have received any letters of demand, to avoid compromising your rights or position in court.
Q: Why is litigation and arbitration much more expensive?
A: Litigation involves at least 3 stages before the case will be heard by a judge, so there's a lot of preparation work to do. Arbitration costs even more due to the upfront institutional fees, as well as the compression of the equivalent preparation stages into a shorter period of time, so even more preparation work is required.
Q: What are the benefits of mediation compared to litigation or arbitration?
A: To provide a quick summary, you have more control of the outcome, make the discussions private and confidential, and overall will cost less than litigation or arbitration to resolve the dispute (at least by a factor of 5).
Q: Why should I mediate? Can I simply negotiate with the other side?
A: With the presence of a mediator (who is someone with the necessary knowledge and experience in the subject matter of your dispute), the discussion will be much more guided and grounded compared to simply having both parties present.
Q: Do you provide other business support services such as corporate secretarial support or tax? These are also what my business needs to thrive.
A: We recognise that other professionals are better at providing such business support services, and with your permission we will refer you to them. However we do not take any referral fees in such situations, in order to avoid any conflict of interest.
Q: How do you charge for your services? What is your hourly rate?
A: All work is done according to an agreed scope of work and agreed fixed fees. I do not charge by an hourly rate or by time spent.
Q: Do you charge for consultation?
A: I prefer to have an initial conversation to find out whether I can provide you with a solution. Such conversations are usually not charged. After discussing the facts and your desired outcomes, I will then give you a fixed fee quotation for a solution.
Q: Are you able to give me a fixed fee for bringing a case to trial?
A: Litigation or court proceedings take place in stages. Further, the court or the opponent may take certain steps which we cannot foresee. While we can provide estimates for each stage before starting, we may have to revise these estimates depending on how the situation changes. Even a chess grandmaster cannot tell you exactly how a game of chess will turn out.
Q: Can I pay only when the work is completed, or if you achieve my desired outcomes?
A: We will request for some upfront payment as services rendered cannot be returned (unlike physical goods). In addition, we cannot be paid only upon certain events, such as successfully obtaining judgment against the other party, as Singapore law does not allow a lawyer to charge such contingency fees.