Law Society of Singapore v Lim Cheong Peng

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChan Sek Keong CJ
Judgment Date21 August 2006
Neutral Citation[2006] SGHC 145
Citation[2006] SGHC 145
Plaintiff CounselJimmy Yap (Jimmy Yap & Co)
Defendant CounselC R Rajah SC (Tan Rajah & Cheah), Gregory Vijayendran and Chua Sui Tong (Wong Partnership)
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 672 of 2006
Date21 August 2006
Publication Date22 August 2006
SubjectComplaint alleging advocate and solicitor falsely attesting bills of sale and guarantees,Disciplinary Committee finding advocate and solicitor guilty of grossly improper conduct,Complainants' testimonies only available direct evidence of events at hearing before Disciplinary Committee,Whether Disciplinary Committee erring in making various inferential findings,Professional conduct,Legal Profession,Grossly improper conduct,Complaint lodged with Law Society against advocate and solicitor

21 August 2006

Judgment reserved.

Tan Lee Meng J (delivering the judgment of the court):

1 This case concerns an application under s 98 of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 2001 Rev Ed) (“the Act”) for the respondent, Mr Lim Cheong Peng, an advocate and solicitor of 13 years’ standing and a partner of M/s Timothy Ong Lim & Partners, to show cause why he should not be dealt with under s 83 of the Act for grossly improper conduct.

Background

2 The present proceedings stem from a complaint to the Law Society of Singapore (“the Law Society”) in December 2001 against the respondent by Mdm Lim Tok Wah (“Mdm Lim”) and her husband, Mr Lim Then Hock (“Mr Lim”), who are both referred to as “the complainants” in this judgment. In essence, their complaint was that the respondent falsely attested that bills of sale and guarantees had been executed by them in his presence when they were not.

3 Mdm Lim is the sole proprietor of Goldsun Motor Vehicle Charter & Rental, which is in the motor vehicle rental business. In June 2000, Mdm Lim required a loan to pay for the renewal of the Certificates of Entitlement (“COE”) for her motor vehicles. She approached Tai Thong Lee Trading (Pte) Ltd (“TTL Leasing”), which is in the business of granting loans for the renewal of COEs. These loans are secured by bills of sale relating to the motor vehicles and by personal guarantees. In addition to charging its clients interest on the loans, TTL Leasing requires them to pay an additional sum of $500 for each vehicle in respect of which a loan has been given for the extension of its COE.

4 From June to August 2000, Mdm Lim went several times to TTL Leasing’s office to borrow a total sum of $279,888, which was secured by 33 bills of sale executed by her with respect to her motor vehicles. Mr Lim guaranteed the repayment of the loans extended to his wife.

5 Under s 10 of the Bills of Sale Act (Cap 24, 1985 Rev Ed), a bill of sale must be attested by an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court and registered. For convenience, TTL Leasing had a standing arrangement with the respondent for the purpose of complying with s 10 of the said Act. Out of the $500 that TTL Leasing collected from its clients for each motor vehicle in respect of which a loan was given, the respondent was paid $50. The respondent attested that he witnessed the execution of 33 bills of sale by Mdm Lim and that he gave the requisite explanation of the effect thereof to her. He also signed the guarantee papers, stating that he witnessed the execution of the same by Mr Lim.

6 Subsequently, disputes arose between Mdm Lim and TTL Leasing and in June 2001, TTL Leasing seized Mdm Lim’s vehicles after she failed to effect instalment payments on time. According to Mdm Lim, she decided to stop paying the instalments after she discovered that TTL Leasing had cheated her by inflating the COE charges for her vehicles. The complainants sought legal advice on their position vis-à-vis TTL Leasing from their lawyers, who advised them that the bills of sale would be unenforceable unless they were executed before an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court. Both the complainants then claimed through their lawyers in a letter to TTL Leasing on 27 July 2001 that the respondent was not present when the relevant bills of sale were executed. They wanted the respondent to confirm that this was the case. As such, on 29 August 2001, the complainants barged into the respondent’s office without an appointment to question him. They brought with them a tape recorder and secretly taped their conversation in the hope that the respondent might admit that he was not present when the bills of sale in question were executed. However, the respondent made no such admission and this led the complainants to call the police to come to the respondent’s office. When the police arrived, the respondent informed them that the complainants had a problem with TTL Leasing.

7 On 6 November 2001, the complainants wrote to the Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and alleged that TTL Leasing had cheated them of $2,000 in relation to Land Transport Authority fees and that the latter had repossessed their vehicles.

8 On 6 December 2001, the complainants wrote their first letter to the Law Society, asking how they could recover the legal fees that they had paid to TTL Leasing. After finding out that the Law Society could not assist them in the recovery of their money from TTL Leasing, they finally lodged a complaint against...

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13 cases
  • Wong Keng Leong Rayney v Law Society of Singapore
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 5 October 2006
    ...of Singapore v Chia Shih Ching James [1983-1984] SLR (R) 596; [1984-1985] SLR 53 (folld) Law Society of Singapore v Lim Cheong Peng [2006] 4 SLR (R) 360; [2006] 4 SLR 360 (folld) Ong Chin Keat Jeffrey v PP [2004] 4 SLR (R) 483; [2004] 4 SLR 483 (refd) Public Service Commission v Lai Swee Li......
  • Law Society of Singapore v Ahmad Khalis bin Abdul Ghani
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 21 August 2006
    ...a reasonable doubt: see Re an Advocate and Solicitor [1978–1979] SLR 240 at 249, [12] and Law Society of Singapore v Lim Cheong Peng [2006] SGHC 145 at [12]. This is only right as such charges impact adversely on the reputation as well as livelihood of the advocate and solicitor The present......
  • Law Society of Singapore v Tan Guat Neo Phyllis
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 4 December 2007
    ...findings unless the findings are clearly wrong or against the weight of the evidence: see Law Society of Singapore v Lim Cheong Peng [2006] 4 SLR 360 at [13]. Arguments of parties on legal issues 28 We turn now to the legal arguments on Jenny’s conduct. We examine, first, the respondent’s a......
  • The Law Society of Singapore v Manjit Singh s/o Kirpal Singh and another
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 13 April 2015
    ...of fact by the Disciplinary Tribunal was “clearly against the weight of evidence” (see Law Society of Singapore v Lim Cheong Peng [2006] 4 SLR(R) 360 (“Lim Cheong Peng”) at [13]). We ought, at this juncture, to mention that the Respondents continued in the present proceedings to assert that......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Legal Profession
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2006, December 2006
    • 1 December 2006
    ...to be applied in all disciplinary proceedings concerning the legal profession. 19.24 In Law Society of Singapore v Lim Cheong Peng[2006] 4 SLR 360, the DC had to deal with a complaint that the respondent had falsely attested that bills of sale and guarantees had been executed by the complai......

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