Report on Civil Liability for Misuse of Private Information

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About the project

The Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee (LRC) has considered whether existing privacy and related laws provide effective redress for individuals against serious misuse and disclosure of their private information.

The LRC's report concludes that although various protections for victims of such misuse and related breaches of privacy exist, the resultant patchwork of laws risks making the law difficult to navigate and, in certain circumstances, leaving victims without effective remedy.

As such, the report recommends the introduction of a new statutory tort of misuse of private information, with the follow key characteristics:

  • The legal test should be whether the plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of privacy in all the circumstances.
  • The threshold for liability should be a serious misuse of private information, judged from the viewpoint of a person of ordinary sensibilities in the plaintiff’s position.
  • The tort should be actionable without requiring any proof of damage, and extend to physical and psychiatric harm, economic loss, and emotional distress.
  • In determining whether there has been an actionable tort, the court must balance the public interest in protecting privacy against countervailing public interests .
  • The defendant must be shown to have intended to cause the disclosure or serious misuse of private information related to the plaintiff (recklessness or negligence should not suffice).
  • Available remedies should include damages, an account of profits, an injunction or order of specific performance, a delivery up or destruction of offending material, publication of a correction, and/or the tendering of an apology.
  • The Act should bind the Government.

A draft bill that would give effect to these recommendations is appended to the report.

Click here for a one-minute quick guide to the key issues and recommendations.

Project status: Completed


Areas of law

 Data Protection and Privacy Law

 Tort Law

 Civil Procedure



Click on the image above to view the full report


Last updated 2 December 2020


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