Cheng Poh Building Construction Pte Ltd v First City Builders Pte Ltd

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeChao Hick Tin JA
Judgment Date04 March 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] SGCA 8
Citation[2003] SGCA 8
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 89 of 2002
Subject MatterStay of execution,Judgments and orders,Civil Procedure,Counterclaim arising out of separate transaction from that which forms subject matter of action
Published date17 December 2003
Plaintiff CounselIntekhab Khan, Nicholas Narayanan (J Koh & Co)
Date04 March 2003
Defendant CounselTang Gee Ni (Chia & Tang)

Delivered by Chao Hick Tin JA

1 This was an appeal against a decision of the High Court staying execution of a summary judgment granted in favour of the appellant-plaintiffs on the ground that the respondent-defendants had a counterclaim against the plaintiffs which surpassed the amount of the summary judgment. We heard the appeal on 19 February 2003 and allowed it, lifting the stay of execution. We now give our reasons.

The facts

2 The plaintiffs, Cheng Poh Construction Pte Ltd ("Cheng Poh"), were a Singapore incorporated company carrying on the business of a general contractor undertaking building construction and major upgrading works. The defendants, First City Builders Pte Ltd ("First City"), were also a Singapore incorporated company involved in the construction business.

3 First City were the main contractors of a part single/part three-storey building project at No. 51 Shipyard Road ("Shipyard Road project"). The employers were Comfort Resources Pte Ltd. Cheng Poh were appointed by First City as the sub-contractors in respect of the entire project for a lump sum of $1,895,250, excluding GST.

4 Pursuant to the terms of the main contract and the sub-contract, payments to Cheng Poh would be effected on a "back-to-back" basis. The employers would pay First City for works done in accordance with the certificates issued by the Architect. First City would then pay Cheng Poh the sums received from the employers less 5% as retention monies and less a further 5% as the profit of First City.

5 The Architect duly issued the certificates in respect of the Shipyard Road project and First City were paid by the employers accordingly. But First City, having paid Cheng Poh the sum of $603,735.08 in respect of the first seven certificates, refused to pay the remainder. Cheng Poh claimed against First City for $1,147,740.62, being the remaining sum due. First City admitted the claim, but alleged that they had a counterclaim which in total exceeded Cheng Poh’s claim and which they were entitled to set-off against Cheng Poh’s claim A part of the counterclaim related to this project and that part amounted to $565,958.62. But the other part of the counterclaim was in respect of other projects which had nothing to do with the Shipyard Road project, the details of which were as follows:-

Tuas Ave Project $130,118.83

Lorong Limau Project $543,361.04

Days Works(relating to these two projects) $ 84,682.52

_________

Total $758,162.39

6 On an application for summary judgment, the Senior Assistant Registrar granted Cheng Poh judgment for $580,782.00, being the difference between the claim of Cheng Poh and the portion of the counterclaim of First City arising out of the same project. In respect of this portion of the counterclaim by First City, leave to defend was given to the latter.

7 The judge dismissed First City’s appeal but ordered that there be a stay of execution on the judgment sum. He also ordered that costs be in the cause.

8 Cheng Poh appealed to the Court of Appeal only against that part of the decision which ordered a stay of execution and the consequential order on costs. From his written grounds of decision, the Judge took into consideration the following facts and circumstances in ordering a stay:-

(i) Both parties had been carrying out work for and supplying materials to each other and they had, in effect, been maintaining a very "loose and informal running account" between them, which allowed them to set-off each other’s claims.

(ii) First City’s business would suffer grave disruption if there was no stay because Cheng Poh had allowed their claims to be accumulated to such a large sum.

(iii) Any prejudice caused by a stay would not be significant because under the present case management in the High Court, the action would come up for hearing very soon.

Issue

9 The only issue raised before us was whether the judge, in ordering a stay of execution, had correctly exercised his discretion under the Rules of Court ("the Rules").

The...

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4 cases
  • Kim Seng Orchid Pte Ltd v Lim Kah Hin
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 11 January 2017
    ...class. She referred to the decision of the Court of Appeal in Cheng Poh Building Construction Pte Ltd v First City Builders Pte Ltd [2003] 2 SLR 170 (“Cheng Poh”). In Cheng Poh, the Court of Appeal held (at [11]) that where claims and counterclaims arise out of the same transaction, and whi......
  • Silberline Asia Pacific Inc v Lim Yong Wah Allan and Others
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 16 February 2006
    ...between the claim and cross-claim was reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal in Cheng Poh Construction Pte Ltd v First City Builders Pte Ltd [2003] 2 SLR 170 at [11] and [18] in these It is settled law that where claims and counterclaims arise out of the same transaction, and while the claims ar......
  • Hawley & Hazel Chemical Co (S) Pte Ltd v Szu Ming Trading Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 28 January 2008
    ...into the third class, adopting the position taken by the appellate court in Cheng Poh Construction Pte Ltd v First City Builders Pte Ltd [2003] 2 SLR 170 at [17] and [18]. I should add that the pronouncements of Bingham LJ are also encapsulated in our own White Book (Singapore Civil Procedu......
  • Woon Kim Soon Benny v Nex-G Systems Pte Ltd and Others
    • Singapore
    • District Court (Singapore)
    • 21 February 2007
    ...his favour. Granting a stay of execution is not a matter of course”. 10. In Cheng Poh Construction Pte Ltd v First City Builders Pte Ltd [2003] 2 SLR 170 at [11], the Court of Appeal ruled “It is settled law that where claims and counterclaims arise out of the same transaction, and while th......

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