JDC Corporation and Another v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeKarthigesu JA
Judgment Date12 January 1999
Neutral Citation[1999] SGCA 3
Citation[1999] SGCA 3
Subject MatterAgreement,Burden on respondent to show sufficient reason for opposing stay of proceedings,Whether appellant has established prima facie case of disputes between parties,Whether appellant entitled to stay the proceedings under s 7 of Arbitration Act,Arbitration,Whether terms of sub-contract require parties to refer their disputes to an arbitral tribunal,Civil Procedure,Contractual terms,Whether disputes between appellant and respondent fall within ambit of the arbitration agreement,s 7 Arbitration Act (Cap 10),Whether respondent's claim undisputed or indisputable,Stay of proceedings,Contract
Date12 January 1999
Defendant CounselDavid Morris and Lean Min Tze (Arthur Loke & Partners)
Plaintiff CounselChristopher Chuah and Michael Chia (Drew & Napier)
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 92 of 1998
Published date19 September 2003


(delivering the grounds of judgment of the court): This was an appeal against the decision of a judge in chambers discharging an order of the assistant registrar staying the proceedings pursuant to s 7 of the Arbitration Act (Cap 10). We allowed the appeal and now give our reasons.

2. The facts

The appellants were the main contractors for the construction of an administration and operation building for the new container terminal at Pasir Panjang (`the project`) of the Port of Singapore Authority (`PSA`). The respondents were the nominated sub-contractors for the supply and installation of external wall cladding and glazing for the project under a contract (`the sub-contract`) entered into by the parties on or about 17 May 1996.

3.The sub-contract comprised of several documents which were to be read in conjunction with one another. The relevant documents for our purposes were: (i) the PSA`s standard form of conditions of sub-contract (`the conditions`); (ii) the preliminaries and conditions of sub-contract (`the preliminaries`) which contained an extract of some of the conditions in the main contract between PSA and the appellants; and (iii) the particular specifications of the project (`the specifications`).

4.Disputes arose between the parties in relation to the performance of the sub-contract. In a letter to the respondents dated 29 December 1997, the appellants alleged that certain works under the sub-contract were not `substantially completed`, and that the deadline for their completion was the end of May 1997 which they, the respondents, had failed to meet. The appellants made an interim claim for a total sum of $2,426,230 for their loss and damage under cl 19 of the conditions and this amount comprised of the following: (a). a sum of $464,130 representing the acceleration cost; and

(b). a sum of $1,962,100 representing additional preliminaries and staff overheads.

In addition, they also claimed liquidated and ascertained damages in respect of which they had yet to ascertain the exact amount. In their letter they indicated that they proposed to recover the amount from the respondents under cl 12 of the conditions.

5.Clause 12 of the conditions gave to the appellants a right to deduct from and set off against moneys due to the respondents any sums which the respondents were liable to pay to the appellants under the sub-contract. It provides as follows:

12 Contractor`s right to deduction or set-off

The Contractor shall notwithstanding anything in this Sub-contract contained be entitled to deduct from or set off against any money due from him to the Sub-Contractor (including any retention money) any sum or sums which the Sub-Contractor is liable to pay to the Contractor under this Sub-Contract.

6.On the same day of 29 December 1997, the superintending officer of the project issued an interim payment certificate No 19 (`Certificate No 19`) certifying that the sum of $335,000 (excluding GST of $10,050) was due to the respondents from the appellants. Another sum of $84,000 (excluding GST of $2,520) was similarly certified to be due to the respondents on 19 January 1998 under the interim payment certificate No 20 (`Certificate No 20`). Under cl 23 of the conditions, the appellants were required to notify and pay to the respondents the amount certified within seven days of receiving payment from PSA. The appellants, however, did not make any payment of either sum to the respondents under the respective certificates.

7.The respondents in their letter dated 19 January 1998 to the appellants rejected the appellants` allegations set out in the letter of 29 December 1997, saying that the allegations were `fundamentally flawed and would not be sustained in an arbitration`. This was ignored by the appellants and on 26 January 1998 they indicated to the respondents that they would under cll 12 and 19 of the conditions deduct from and set off against the sums of $345,050 and $86,520 the amount claimed by them for the loss and damage sustained.

8.Subsequently, the respondents commenced these proceedings against the appellants to recover the two sums together with interest. The...

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7 cases
  • Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd v Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 30 September 2004
    ...this case was on all fours with, and the court should therefore follow the decision in, JDC Corporation v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd [1999] 1 SLR 615 (“JDC Corporation”). She pointed to other provisions in the supply contract which referred to general damages. One such provision was to be......
  • Four Pillars Enterprises Co Ltd v Beiersdorf Aktiengesellschaft
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 6 February 1999
    ...Temple v Fong Choon Heng Construction Pte Ltd [1998] 2 SLR 137 at [para ] 14 and JDC Corporation & Anor v Lightweight Concrete Ltd [1999] 1 SLR 615 at [para ] 10. 23.In our opinion, in this case there was a sufficient reason for not granting a stay of the winding up proceedings. The relief ......
  • Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd v Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 3 March 2005
    ...the purposes of the arbitration clause. She also considered, in some detail, the case of JDC Corporation v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd [1999] 1 SLR 615 (“the JDC Corp case”) where a similar issue had arisen as to the type of damages claimable by a contractor from his sub-contractor under t......
  • Akrobat Pte Ltd v Enovate System Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • District Court (Singapore)
    • 24 March 2021
    ...of the question of construction is a “dispute which should go to arbitration”: [JDC Corp and another v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd [1999] 1 SLR(R) 96] at [15]; and [Multiplex Construction Pty Ltd v Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd [2005] 2 SLR(R) 530 (“Multiplex”)] at [19]. This approach is illus......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • Arbitration
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2005, December 2005
    • 1 December 2005
    ...Pty Ltd[2004] 4 SLR 841; MAE Engineering Ltd v Dragages Singapore Pte Ltd[2002] 3 SLR 45; JDC Corporation v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd[1999] 1 SLR 615; Kwan Im Tong Chinese Temple v Fong Choon Hung Construction Pte Ltd[1998] 2 SLR 137; Batshita International (Pte) Ltd v Lim Eng Hock Peter......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 2000, December 2000
    • 1 December 2000
    ...in Kwan Imm Tong Chinese Temple v Fong Choon Hung Construction Pte Ltd(1998) 2 SLR 137 and JDC Corporation v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd(1999) 1 SLR 615 is that unless the claim is “undisputed or indisputable”, a stay of proceedings will be ordered in absence of other sufficient reasons. I......
  • Arbitration
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2004, December 2004
    • 1 December 2004
    ...s 7 of the previous Act but it should not be an exhaustive means of weighing the claims: see JDC Corp v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd[1999] 1 SLR 615 for the view that a stay should not be granted if there is no genuine dispute. All these decisions were, however, based on English court decis......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 2004, December 2004
    • 1 December 2004
    ...4 SLR 91. 12 Ibid at [25]. 13 Supra, n 11 at [27]. 14 At [25]. 15 Cap 143A, 2002 Rev Ed. 16 See JDC Corp v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd[1999] 1 SLR 615. 17 See para 14/1/7 of the Singapore Civil Procedure (Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 2003) at p 141....

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