Herbs and Spices Trading Post Pte Ltd v Deo Silver (Pte) Ltd

JudgeChan Sek Keong J
Judgment Date11 December 1990
Neutral Citation[1990] SGHC 108
Docket NumberDistrict Court Appeal No 83 of 1989
Date11 December 1990
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselSteven Ang (Godwin & Co)
Citation[1990] SGHC 108
Defendant CounselPeter Yap (Peter Yap & Co)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject MatterAppeals,Civil Procedure,Power and jurisdiction of registrar of subordinate courts,O 32 & O 55 Rules of the Subordinate Courts 1986,Right of appeal from decision of district judge,ss 47 & 69 Subordinate Courts Act (Cap 321),ss 21 & 34 Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322)

This was an appeal by the plaintiffs/appellants against the decision of the district judge allowing an appeal against the decision of the deputy registrar striking out the amended defence and counterclaim under O18 r 18(1) of the Subordinate Court Rules 1986. I allowed the appeal in part.

Counsel for the defendants took a preliminary objection to this appeal.
He submitted that the plaintiffs had no right of appeal on the ground that the decision of the district judge was final as between the parties by reason of O 55 r 1(5). That rule provides that:

1(1) An appeal shall lie to a Judge in Chambers from any judgment, order or decision of the Registrar.

(2) The appeal shall be brought by serving on every other party to the proceedings in which the judgment, order or decision was given or made a notice in Form 111B to attend before the Judge on a day specified in the notice or on such other day as may be directed.

(3) Unless the Court otherwise orders, the notice must be filed within 5 days after the judgment, order or decision appealed against was given or made and served not less than 2 clear days before the day fixed for hearing the appeal.

(4) Except so far as the Court may otherwise direct, an appeal under this Rule shall not operate as a stay of the proceedings in which the appeal is brought.

(5) The decision of the Judge in Chambers under this Rule shall be final.

(2) There shall be no appeal from a Judge in any interlocutory application except with the leave of the Judge.

I have in my judgment in Goh Siam Yong v [1989] 3 MLJ 406 decided that if r 1(5) had the effect of denying a party the right to appeal to the High Court, it was ultra vires s 47 of the Subordinate Courts Act (Cap 321) read with s 21 of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322) [1989] 3 MLJ cxxiv.
Counsel, however, was not aware of another case note, arguing to the contrary, by Mr Tan Kay Kheng published in [1990] 1 MLJ lxxxvii. Counsel contended that Mr Khoo` s analysis of the relevant statutory provisions was correct and that mine was wrong.

The argument of Mr Khoo is set out in the following paragraph of his case note:

Section 21 [of Cap 322] clearly allows for the right of appeal from ` ... a decision of a district court ... in any suit or action ...` . It seems to me that the ` decision` envisaged by legislature must obviously refer to those decisions which the district court is competent to make, as empowered by Part IV of the Subordinate Courts Act. Part IV gives a detailed list of the civil jurisdiction of a district court, all of which are original jurisdiction. The Subordinate Courts Act does not provide appellate jurisd iction for the district court. That being the case, s 21 above cannot possibly envisage an appellate decision of a district court or, for that matter, a district judge. To that extent, s 21 contains a lacuna. If this argument is accepted, it then follows t hat O 55 r 1(5) cannot be an ultra vires provision. In fact it would be intra vires the Subordinate Courts Act and s 21 of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act.

Arising from the lacuna described above, a more fundamental issue arises, viz the right of appeal against the decision of a registrar of the subordinate courts. The right of appeal is a creature of statute. Section 21 does not permit appeals against a registrar` s decision!

Put in syllogistic form, the argument is as follows:

(1) s 21 confers a right of appeal against any decision of the district judge which it is competent to make, ie a decision made in the exercise of its original...

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21 cases
  • Ang Leng Hock v Leo Ee Ah
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 16 March 2004
    ...this submission, she cited Chang Ah Lek v Lim Ah Koon [1999] 1 SLR 82 and Herbs and Spices Trading Post Pte Ltd v Deo Silver (Pte) Ltd [1990] SLR 1234. I would point out that Chang Ah Lek, unlike Lassiter, was not a case that involved the admission of new evidence on appeal from an assessme......
  • Shunmugam Jayakumar and Another v Jeyaretnam JB and Another
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 8 August 1996
    ...Gordon Berkeley Jones v Clement John Skelton [1963] 1 WLR 1362 (folld) Herbs and Spices Trading Post Pte Ltd v Deo Silver (Pte) Ltd [1990] 2 SLR (R) 685; [1990] SLR 1234 (folld) Horrocks v Lowe [1975] AC 135 (folld) Jayawickreme v Amarasuriya [1918] AC 869 (folld) Miles v New Zealand Alford......
  • Lassiter Ann Masters v to Keng Lam (alias Toh Jeanette)
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 26 March 2004
    ...SLR (R) 497; [1992] 2 SLR 349 (refd) Evans v Bartlam [1937] AC 473 (refd) Herbs and Spices Trading Post Pte Ltd v Deo Silver (Pte) Ltd [1990] 2 SLR (R) 685; [1990] SLR 1234 (folld) Ladd v Marshall [1954] 1 WLR 1489 (refd) Lian Soon Construction Pte Ltd v Guan Qian Realty Pte Ltd [1999] 1 SL......
  • Augustine and Another v Goh Siam Yong
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 8 April 1992
    ... ... was rejected by Chan Sek Keong J in Herbs and Spices Trading Post Pte Ltd v Deo Silver ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2007, December 2007
    • 1 December 2007
    ...serious injustice: Ng Kim Han v PP[2001] 2 SLR 293; Ang Poh Chuan v PP[1996] 1 SLR 326. 21 Herbs and Spices Trading Post v Deo Silver [1990] SLR 1234. 22 In the civil context, the Court of Appeal in Tan Hun Lingsupra n 19 observed that “an appellate court’s deference to a trial judge’s find......
  • Civil Procedure
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2016, December 2016
    • 1 December 2016
    ...11. 50 [2016] 1 SLR 915. 51 [2016] 2 SLR 1067. 52 [2016] 2 SLR 366. 53 [2016] SGHC 12. 54 [2016] 5 SLR 755. 55 [2016] SGHCR 4. 56 [1990] 2 SLR(R) 685. 57 [2017] 3 SLR 89. 58 [2016] 2 SLR 50. 59 [2016] 5 SLR 238. 60 [2016] SGHCR 7. 61 [1987] AC 460. 62 [2016] 1 SLR 1457. 63 [2016] SGHC 200. ......

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