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11 February 2021

Contract Formation and Mistake in Cyberspace (Again): The Story So Far and Where to Next? Quoine Pte Ltd v B2C2 Ltd [2020] 2 SLR 20 [Case Note]

Allen Sng Kiat Peng

Published on e-First 11 February 2021

Abstract:
Rules governing unilateral mistakes were developed in the context of contracts made directly between individuals. How do these rules apply in the digital age when individuals rely on algorithms to enter into contracts? A further challenge is posed by the earlier decision of Chwee Kin Keong v Digilandmall.com [2005] 1 SLR(R) 502, where the Court of Appeal recognised the doctrine of unilateral mistake in equity, departing from the English position in Great Peace Shipping Ltd v Tsavliris Salvage (International) Ltd [2003] QB 679; [2002] 3 WLR 1617; [2002] 4 All ER 689. How should the equitable doctrine be applied? In February 2020, the Singapore Court of Appeal in Quoine Pte Ltd v B2C2 Ltd [2020] 2 SLR 20 (“Quoine”) had the opportunity to consider some of these issues and clarify how these principles would apply in the context of algorithmic trading. This article examines some of the developments and issues raised in Quoine, and suggests where the law may further develop.