Patrick Dahm

That German-Singapore Lawyer

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.

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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.

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Law, Lies, and Videotape

I worked 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.

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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

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How to Have the Perfect Arbitration Conference

Here’s how to have the per­fect con­fer­ence exper­i­ence, using the example of the IPBA-THAC Arbit­ra­tion Day in Bangkok on 6 Novem­ber 2018.

Group picture of attendees of the IPBA-THAC Arbitration Day in Bangkok on 6 November 2018

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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Initial Coin Offering: an Inaccurate Term with 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Legal Maverick in the Spotlight 

The oth­er day someone called me a leg­al mav­er­ick. 🙂

Patrick Dahm, that German-Singapore lawyer, flaunting a Singapore-Germany flag pin

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.’

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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.

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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!?

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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.

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Blockchain: The Roll of Deeds of the Internet

After read­ing Caitlin Moon’s instruct­ive blog Block­chain 101 for Law­yerscom­men­ted 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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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.

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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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