Patrick Dahm

That German-Singapore Lawyer

dahm adr’s New Website

I’ve had the web­site of dahm adr over­hauled. dahm adr is where I arbit­rate and mediate.

Please have a look: https://www.dahm.sg.

Singapore’s New Law on Electronic Bills of Lading

Peking, a steel-hulled four-masted barque, was one of the last generation of cargo-carrying iron-hulled sailing ships. She probably carried many bills of lading.
New tech­no­logy on the horizon

Singa­pore has adop­ted the UNCITRAL Mod­el Law on Elec­tron­ic Trans­fer­able Records, to help elec­tron­ic bills of lad­ing (eBOL) get off the start­ing blocks after pre­vi­ous efforts have not been suc­cess­ful. The Singa­pore Cham­ber of Mari­time Arbit­ra­tion has pub­lished my art­icle on the new law.

Panic Over New WhatsApp Policy?

A friend sent me this piece about WhatsApp’s new pri­vacy policy, ask­ing for my take on it: ‘Expert: No need to pan­ic over new What­s­App policy’.

All right, in brief, here’s my take.

The WhatsApp logo with a Facebook F in it instead of the original phone receiver.

My 2020 TV Series, on Netflix and Elsewhere

Patrick’s blog sup­ple­ment­al. Have you ever checked your view­ing his­tory on Net­flix or whatever else you turn to for enter­tain­ment on telly? I have, so here’s a list of all the new TV series I’ve been watch­ing in 2020. It’s more than usu­al, in addi­tion to everything else that went down.

Hannah New as Eleanor Guthrie in Black Sails.

My Year in Review, at Home, at Work and in Other Places

A lot went down in 2020. I bought and ren­ov­ated an HDB flat. Became a CIArb fel­low and an SMC-accred­ited medi­at­or. Oh, and I mar­ried. A short, per­son­al end-of-year review sor­ted by topic.

Enforceability of Foreign Emergency Awards in Singapore

An arbit­ral award by an emer­gency arbit­rat­or seated in Singa­pore is enforce­able in Singa­pore. The law is clear about that.

The law is less clear about for­eign emer­gency awards though. Are they enforce­able in Singa­pore, too?

Patrick Dahm (emergency arbitrator, among other things) caught by a CCTV camera taking a picture of himself on the CCTV screen

Facebook and Libra: The House of Medici on Speed

Face­book and Libra, that’s like the House of Medici on speed. The Medici fam­ily were mer­chants first. Dur­ing the Itali­an Renais­sance they became bankers, then princes. Then they pro­duced four popes of the Cath­ol­ic Church. It took them a few cen­tur­ies to do all that. But in announ­cing Libra, Face­book is claim­ing cyber prince­dom (cyber papacy even?) barely fif­teen years after its found­ing. No won­der the gov­ern­ments of today are stunned.

The moderator and panelists of The Dappers' event Introducing Libra: Facebook’s brainchild, on 16 July 2019.

Libra: A Sovereign Currency for Cyberspace?

Face­book, unar­gu­ably one of the biggest over­lords of cyber­space, has pro­posed a crypto­cur­rency: Libra.

That’s inter­est­ing. Why Face­book? What’s happening?

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and proponent of cryptocurrency Libra, to be managed by the Libra Association.

Law, Lies, and Videotape

I was work­ing for Samuel Seow Law Cor­por­a­tion when its founder and man­aging dir­ect­or assaul­ted female staff mem­bers at his office last year. When videos of this sur­faced a few days ago, my mobile phone ran hot. A few sen­sa­tion­al­ists were fish­ing for gos­sip (wrong num­ber, guys), but the major­ity had an actu­al desire to talk. For the first time ever I couldn’t respond timely to every­one who con­tac­ted me. That’s why I’ve writ­ten this post.

On Arbitration, Football and Vacuum-Cleaning Robots

The Singa­pore Insti­tute of Arbit­rat­ors invited me to debate the fol­low­ing motion: ‘This House Believes That Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Will Have Replaced Arbit­rat­ors with­in Twenty-Five Years’. In short: can – will – algorithms replace arbit­rat­ors with­in a generation?

We were debat­ing this last night. Here are my open­ing and clos­ing statements.

Group picture of the debaters, the judges and the moderator, all arbitration practitioners

Bugis

After eight years of liv­ing in the Orch­ard area, and two years in Novena before that, I’ve moved to a more down-to-earth part of Singa­pore: Bugis. That once infam­ous dis­trict, which to this day retains its gruff char­ac­ter. I guess I was drawn to it to com­pensate for all these years in Atasland.

Special Operations Command van parking in Bugis

BeA – Insecure Professional Communication for German Lawyers

Start­ing this week Ger­man law­yers have to have avail­able a means of elec­tron­ic com­mu­nic­a­tion developed just for them: the spe­cial elec­tron­ic law­yers’ mail­box (beson­deres elektron­isches Anwalt­s­post­fach or beA). The prob­lem is, the beA is inher­ently insec­ure, which is why it seems bet­ter to avoid using it. This would include not lit­ig­at­ing in a Ger­man court, if pos­sible, if there’s a chance the oppon­ent or the court will use the beA in the pro­ceed­ings. This seems to be all the more indic­ated where there’s a risk of snoopery and foul play by oppon­ents or third parties, or where the stakes are high – and when aren’t they?

My beA card
One Card to Bring Them All and in the Dark­ness Bind Them

Guerrilla Tactics in Arbitration

I don’t like how we use the term guer­rilla tac­tics in inter­na­tion­al arbit­ra­tion. Refer­ring to guer­rilla dis­ap­prov­ingly implies meth­ods of tra­di­tion­al war­fare are alright. Artil­lery or old-school tac­tic­al form­a­tions – okay. Sneaky ambushes or hit-and-run attacks – not okay.

Japanese premises at night, approached by ninjas
The Place of the Hear­ing at Night
Priyageetha Dia's golden flags

Gilded with Law

Priy­ageetha Dia has gil­ded Singa­pore with gold foil, again. And a lot of people have called her urb­an art inter­ven­tion illeg­al, again. But what if she and her art had been on sure leg­al ground all along? What if it wasn’t so clear wheth­er remov­ing her golden flags was law­ful or not?

Initial Coin Offering: an Inaccurate Term and an Imperfect Regulator

Patrick Dahm flaunting his Aviato t-shirt

This is my speech at the first Com­pu­ta­tion­al Law & Block­chain Fest­iv­al – Singa­pore Node on 17 March 2018. In it, I tried to explain what ini­tial coin offer­ings are, why gov­ern­ments all over the world eye them curi­ously, and how gov­ern­ments reg­u­late them – if they reg­u­late them. I also ques­tioned why brick and mor­tar gov­ern­ments reg­u­late some­thing so digital.

No, I Won’t Help You Whitewash Your Token Sale Scam

Over lunch the in-house coun­sel of a tech com­pany asked me wheth­er I ever decline work. We were mak­ing small talk, but funny she should ask. Because I have indeed chosen not to work on one or the oth­er ini­tial coin offer­ing or token sale lately.

I do what I do for a liv­ing, so I’m not prone to decline work by default. But these pro­jects didn’t smell right.

The Efficient Breach of Smart Contracts

Smart con­tracts are described as self-execut­ing: how they are formed is how they will be per­formed. This is why some of us see no (or at least less) room for leg­al dis­pute over them.

It shouldn’t be this way. Where it’s effi­cient, it should be pos­sible to breach a smart con­tract. Even though this may lead to a leg­al dispute.

The Arts and the Law in Singapore

Last Fri­day we were cel­eb­rat­ing the offi­cial open­ing of our new office, arts and enter­tain­ment law firm that we are. This is the speech I gave before the party took off.

Group picture with Patrick Dahm and party guests

Ten Common Causes of Conflicts within Small Businesses (And How to Fix Them)

The good people of Asia Law Net­work have pub­lished this little piece of mine on con­flicts with­in small busi­nesses. It’s here.

Orchard Road night scenery
Con­flict?
red crab

The Shire of Christmas Island

It was time for me to go diving again, so I betook myself to Christ­mas Island, this extern­al ter­rit­ory of Aus­tralia in the Indi­an Ocean. Under water I encountered sharks, dol­phins and oth­er creatures of the sea. Above water I went hik­ing, climb­ing and bird­watch­ing in hon­our of the words of someone very dear to me: ‘Take many pic­tures, do many things you don’t get to do in Singa­pore and remem­ber each and every one of them.’

Close-up of Priyageetha Dia's golden staircase at Jalan Rajah

The Art of Walking a Fine and Golden Line

Was Priy­ageetha Dia’s golden stair­case art or van­dal­ism? Wrong ques­tion, in my view. Some­thing can be both. Just that this art wasn’t.

Suits Is Real

As an object of my fan ador­a­tion. Ah, the enter­tain­ment. You have to love Suits, the TV series, and the par­al­lel uni­verse it cre­ates. Someone on the inter­net called it shal­low. Well, yeah, it isn’t Dostoyevsky, but who wants to read Rus­si­an lit­er­at­ure all the time!?

Smartifying Blockchains, Legally

Yes, block­chain tech­no­logy can do things which con­ven­tion­al ledgers or registers can­not do. A few days ago I argued that this didn’t mean block­chain should replace tra­di­tion­al ways of record­ing leg­al trans­ac­tions whole­sale. Tra­di­tion­al ways of record­ing leg­al trans­ac­tions embed func­tions which block­chains don’t embed yet. Where the law demands it or wherever else it makes sense we should think about imple­ment­ing them.

Here’s in more detail what I had in mind.

Blockchain: The Roll of Deeds of the Internet

After read­ing Caitlin Moon’s instruct­ive blog Block­chain 101 for Law­yers I com­men­ted that we should think of it as a cybernot­ary who can authen­tic­ate — everything.

Ive changed my mind.

For the avoid­ance of doubt, I’m all for catchy ana­lo­gies. They help under­stand much of what’s going on in cyber­space. Even bet­ter than a catchy ana­logy, though, is an ana­logy that’s catchy and apt.

Two birds in a dispute

How Do We Resolve Disputes? What’s with Those Algorithms?

This really very long and quasi-aca­dem­ic post is based on a speech I gave to MBA stu­dents of the Man­age­ment Devel­op­ment Insti­tute of Singa­pore some­time in 2016. Sub­ject: how do we resolve dis­putes and what bor­ders, geo­graph­ic­al or oth­er­wise, do we cross in doing so? Bor­ders and oth­er­wise, ged­dit, I was talk­ing about dis­pute res­ol­u­tion in cyber­space and algorithms.

Singapore to Ratify Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements

Here’s my piece on Singa­pore’s rat­i­fic­a­tion of this Con­ven­tion on Peter Ber­t’s dis­pute res­ol­u­tion blog.

The National Coat of Arms of Singapore
Dark forest scene. Insecure

Security in Cyberspace, Fifty Years into Its Colonisation

The space where all data exchange and com­mu­nic­a­tion of the Inter­net hap­pens, cyber­space, is neut­ral. Noth­ing insec­ure adheres to it in and of itself. Insec­ur­ity is brought in by man who pop­u­lates cyber­space, and by the tools that he has brought along. So how to regain secur­ity in this space – cybersecurity?

The Supreme Court of Singapore

Singapurischer Internationaler Handelsgerichtshof eröffnet

Anfang 2015 ist der Singapur­ische Inter­na­tionale Han­dels­gericht­shof (Singa­pore Inter­na­tion­al Com­mer­cial Court oder SICC)  eröffnet worden. Das Gericht ist als Teil des singapur­ischen Supreme Court für inter­na­tionale Han­dels­sachen zuständig und ver­eint schiedsgericht­liche und gericht­liche Ele­mente. Singapur will dam­it seine Pos­i­tion als inter­na­tionales Streit­sch­lich­tung­szen­trum ausbauen.

Language’ Difficulties between Civil Law and Common Law

Parties to a leg­al dis­pute may believe they under­stand each other’s legalese or the leg­al ‘etiquette’ applic­able. When really they don’t. This may hap­pen when a party from a civil law jur­is­dic­tion sets foot in a com­mon law envir­on­ment, or vice versa. In inter­na­tion­al arbit­ra­tion pro­ceed­ings, for example.

Appar­ently the High Court of Singa­pore had to decide a case just like this.

Court scene: a barrister (cross-)examining a witness

A Grain of Civil Law – Some (Not So) New Chords for the International Arbitration Jazz

Scene in Italy: group of children free-riding the tram
Faster, cheap­er

Inter­na­tion­al arbit­ra­tion has a prob­lem: pro­ceed­ings that take too long and are too expens­ive. To help solve this we should com­bine the best aspects of civil law and com­mon law pro­ced­ure better.

The Midnight Clause in International Arbitration

This is my speech at the In-house Con­gress in Jakarta, Indone­sia, on 23 April 2014. It was on why it’s import­ant your com­mer­cial con­tracts con­tain an arbit­ra­tion clause that works well.

Full moon at midnight

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