Toh Kok Seng is a Senior Partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution and the Intellectual Property departments. He is a member of the firm’s Management Committee.
He graduated from the University of Singapore in 1988. After graduating, he joined Lee & Lee, and was admitted to the Singapore bar in 1989. In 1996, he was made a Partner. In 2002, he was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. He is also a registered patent agent.
Toh handles a variety of litigation work with particular emphasis on property and personal injury claims, employment, intellectual property, and strata title law and practice.
In intellectual property matters, he was counsel in the first patent infringement and revocation case (V-Pile Technology v Peck Brothers) to be fully argued in the Singapore High Court. He argued the first reported registered design case (Nagasima Electronic Engineering Pte Ltd v APH Trading). He also prosecuted numerous criminal offences including offences under the Copyright Act and Trade Marks Act on the Public Prosecutor’s fiat.
In property matters, Toh has acted for developers, sellers, purchasers and estate agents in disputes. He acted for a number of successful collective sales, successfully arguing against objections filed by various minority owners. He has also acted for minority owners in opposing collective sales and advised many management corporations in collective sales.
Toh represents many management corporations, managing agents and subsidiary proprietors in strata disputes. He was invited by the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Building Maintenance and Management Bill to give evidence. A number of his proposals were accepted and implemented in the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act 2004 (“BMSMA”).
Toh argued the High Point Condominium case which held that structural beams situated inside a unit are common property and that management corporations are obliged to repair structural defects in any event. He also argued the One-North Residences case which held that management corporations are not allowed to prevent subsidiary proprietors from installing safety structures such as grilles, in the interest of safety over aesthetics. In the 19 Shelford Road case, he successfully argued that a management corporation which rejected the subsidiary proprietor’s grilles design had failed to provide practical, feasible and workable alternatives. In the Leonie Towers case, he successfully argued the appeal against the Strata Titles Board decision, which had held that a management corporation had no power to remove common property. Various provisions of the BMSMA were amended as a result of these cases.
In the Watermark Robertson Quay case, Toh successfully obtained an order to compel the management corporation to permit a subsidiary proprietor to upgrade her electricity supply. In the Alpha Industrial Building case, he successfully argued that a by-law which imposed a penalty was not made in the interest of all subsidiary proprietors and therefore invalid. In Soo Kee Investment Pte Ltd v MCST 0661, he successfully argued that the Strata Titles Board cannot interfere with decisions made by the management corporation in compliance with procedural requirements where parties had voted in favour of their own commercial position. In the Palm Gardens case, he successfully persuaded the High Court to set aside the decision of the Strata Titles Board on the proper interpretation and application of the BMSMA provisions in relation to a reserved council office.
Toh has a special interest in information technology. He was engaged as legal advisor to the first Extraordinary General Meeting to be held virtually by a management corporation pursuant to the COVID-19 Temporary Measures provisions. He is co-convenor of the working group on recent amendments to TR 76: Guidelines for Electronic Commerce Transactions.
Toh is a member of the Central Committee of the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and is also the Chairperson of its Consumer Law Review Committee. He was previously a member of the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents. Toh was a member of the committee which founded Mensa Singapore.