Larpin, Christian Alfred v Kaikhushru Shiavax Nargolwala

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeRoger Giles IJ
Judgment Date26 August 2022
Docket NumberSuit No 3 of 2020
Larpin, Christian Alfred and another
Kaikhushru Shiavax Nargolwala and another

Roger Giles IJ

Suit No 3 of 2020

Singapore International Commercial Court

Civil Procedure — Costs — Principles — Reasonable costs — How much reasonable costs should be awarded

Held, awarding costs of S$392,340.78 to the defendants, to be paid by the plaintiffs:

(1) This was a transfer case. At the time of transfer, it was ordered that O 110 r 46 of the Rules of Court (2014 Rev Ed) (the “Rules”) “is to apply to the assessment of costs in respect of proceedings in and arising from [the High Court proceedings] after its transfer …”. Strictly, pre-transfer costs for the substantive proceedings should be determined as costs under O 59 r 27 of the Rules, including with reference to Appendix G of the Supreme Court Practice Directions (“Appendix G”), and post-transfer costs should be determined as costs under O 110 r 46. However, parties sensibly agreed that the work done prior to transfer was unlikely to be significant, and that costs should be determined wholly under the Singapore International Commercial Court (“SICC”) regime of O 110 r 46 and that the regime should be applied without particular regard to Appendix G: at [3] and [4].

(2) Under O 110 r 46(1), the unsuccessful party was to pay the “reasonable costs” of the successful party, unless the court ordered otherwise. The rule did not elaborate on what were reasonable costs, but para 152(3) of the SICC Practice Directions stated that reasonable costs were in the discretion of the court and listed, non-exhaustively, circumstances which the court could consider. As well as the conduct of the parties, the circumstances included the amount or value of any claim involved; the complexity or difficulty of the subject matter involved; the skill, expertise and specialised knowledge involved; the novelty of any questions raised; and the time and effort expended in the application or proceedings: at [5].

(3) As long as the costs were reasonably incurred, a successful party in the SICC should be compensated for those costs. Ordinarily, the successful party should seek to show the costs actually incurred, with any recognised attenuation, the claimed costs then subject to consideration of their reasonableness. The court should be provided with a sufficient breakdown of the costs so that the paying party could make appropriate comments on the reasonableness of those costs and understand the work carried out for those costs: at [8] to [10].

(4) It was far from ideal that the defendants did not provide any details or useful substantiation of the claimed costs regarding the substantive proceedings. However, it did not follow that they had to be denied in the claimed amount in favour of a “rough justice” amount: at [16].

(5) As regards the costs for the substantive proceedings, the incurred costs of S$374,500 claimed by the defendants was reasonable. The defendants had support for the reasonableness of the claimed amount, particularly in the plaintiffs' own estimate of their costs in a considerably larger amount. Perhaps in the light of that estimate, the plaintiffs really did not contest reasonableness of the claimed costs per se. The proceedings were of some factual complexity, requiring careful and detailed attention to what had occurred. There was some legal complexity in relation to misrepresentation by active concealment. The particular importance to the defendants of defending the claims of fraud and dishonesty was accepted: at [18].

(6) As regards the costs for the indemnity costs application, S$4,000 inclusive of disbursements was reasonable costs for the plaintiffs' work considering that the application was conducted through correspondence: at [19].

(7) As regards the costs for the present determination, the defendants were entitled to S$3,500 inclusive of disbursements: at [20].

(8) Doing the arithmetic, the amount payable by the plaintiffs to the defendants was S$392,340.78 inclusive of GST and disbursements: at [21].

Case(s) referred to

B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd [2019] 5 SLR 28 (refd)

CBX v CBZ [2022] 1 SLR 88 (refd)

CPIT Investments Ltd v Qilin World Capital Ltd [2018] 4 SLR 38 (refd)

Kiri Industries Ltd v Senda International Capital Ltd [2022] 3 SLR 174 (refd)

Lao Holdings NV v Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic [2022] SGHC(I) 6 (refd)

Larpin, Christian Alfred v Kaikhushru Shiavax Nargolwala [2022] 4 SLR 83, SICC (refd)

Larpin, Christian Alfred v Kaikhushru Shiavax Nargolwala [2022] 4 SLR 146, SICC (refd)

Lew, Solomon v Kaikhushru Shiavax Nargolwala [2020] 3 SLR 61 (refd)


The judgment on the substantive issues, Larpin, Christian Alfred v Kaikhushru Shiavax Nargolwala[2022] 4 SLR 83 (the “Main Judgment”), was given on 21 February 2022. In the Main Judgment, the proceedings were dismissed, and the plaintiffs were ordered to pay the defendants' costs.

In a further judgment given on 25 April 2022, Larpin, Christian Alfred v Kaikhushru Shiavax Nargolwala[2022] 4 SLR 146, the defendants' application for an order that the costs be on the indemnity basis from a particular date (“indemnity costs application”) was dismissed, and the defendants were ordered to pay the plaintiffs' costs of the application.

The parties agreed on the amount for disbursements inclusive of any GST applicable (S$15,840.78) and the amount for a pre-trial application to adduce evidence by video link (S$2,500) to be paid by the plaintiffs to the defendants. However, they were unable to agree on the amounts for profit costs for the substantive proceedings, for the indemnity costs application, and...

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