Lee Puey Hwa v Tay Cheow Seng

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeChan Sek Keong J
Judgment Date08 July 1991
Neutral Citation[1991] SGCA 20
Citation[1991] SGCA 20
Subject MatterLump sum payment,Whether an increase in maintenance should be ordered,Husband's circumstances and obligation to other family,Factors to be considered in deciding whether to order a lump sum payment,Wife,Family Law,Division,Maintenance,Matrimonial assets,Wife's application for increase in maintenance,s 109(1) & (2) Women's Charter (Cap 353)
Published date19 September 2003
Defendant CounselNg Wing Cheong (Ng & Ng)
Plaintiff CounselKS Chung (Chung & Co)
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 31 of 1989
Date08 July 1991

Cur Adv Vult

This is an appeal against an order by Lai Kew Chai J in the High Court on 28 March 1989 in the following terms:

(1) that the respondent do pay to the appellant as from 1 June 1988 maintenance at the rate of $1,800 per month;

(2) that the respondent shall not be liable for the outgoings of No 14 Clover Way, Singapore with effect from 1 June 1988; and

(3) that the respondent shall hold the income of all his shares in the private companies listed in the schethereto as a trustee upon trust to pay the maintenance or any part thereof and, subject thereto, the respondent may beneficially deal with the residue, if any, of his income from the said shares. The schereferred to 411 shares in Tay Miang Huat Pte Ltd, 455 shares in Tay Miang Huat Distillery Pte Ltd, 249 shares in Tay Miang Guan & Co Sdn Bhd and 499 shares in Tong Ah Sdn Bhd.



The appellant being dissatisfied with the decision appealed to the Court of Appeal against the whole of the decision save and except the order as to costs.
Essentially, the appeal was against the learned judge`s maintenance order of $1,800 per month, and, secondly, against his refusal to exercise his discretion to grant the appellant a lump sum.

The basic facts have been summarized by Lai Kew Chai in his judgment in Tay Cheow Seng v Lee Puey Hwa [1989] 3 MLJ 99 .
The respondent was granted a decree nisi on 4 September 1985 and on 23 December 1985 this was made absolute. After the commencement of the divorce proceedings, the appellant had obtained an order on 16 August 1985 for the respondent to pay her $1,000 per month pending the hearing of the petition. On 6 November 1987, when a summons taken out by the appellant was part-heard, the maintenance was increased by Lai Kew Chai J to $1,400 per month with effect from 1 November 1987, and the house in which the appellant and their daughter were living, No 14 Clover Way, was transferred to the appellant and the daughter as tenants in common in equal shares. The learned judge found that the appellant had made no provision for medical expenses, maintenance and outgoings for the house, and he ordered the respondent to pay for all the outgoings for the house which he found was in grave need of maintenance and repair. On 28 March 1989, at the adjourned hearing of the part-heard summons, the learned judge increased the appellant`s maintenance from $1,400 per month to $1,800 per month with effect from 1 June 1988, but, at the same time, he relieved the respondent from his previous liability for the outof No 14 Clover Way and his earlier order that the respondent pay for the outgoings was varied accordingly.

The appellant now asks this court for an order for payment of $760,347 by way of a lump sum, and pending payment, that the monthly maintenance should be kept up and this maintenance should not be less than $3,000 per month, on the basis of an order made against another advocate and solicitor by the previous Chief Justice on 12 February 1982.
She contends that the respondent has at no time made a full and frank disclosure of his available assets which clearly are in excess of the $1,308,534.71 which have been admitted by him, and out of which a lump sum could be ordered. She points out that even after the judgment in March 1989, he had on 19 April 1989, barely three weeks after the judgment, sold a property, 11 Binjai Walk, for $1.54m; and on 28 April 1989, one month after the judgment, he had purchased another property 21J Mandalay Ville for a lady friend. Full and frank disclosure is important: Robinson v Robinson [1982] 2 All ER 699; [1983] 4 FLR 102, approved in Livesey (formerly Jenkins) v Jenkins [1985] 1 All ER 106; and in its absence the court is entitled to draw inferences adverse to the husband as to his capacity or faculties and to treat him as a man in a position to command a very substantial income: Ette v Ette [1965] 1 All ER 341. The appellant contends, therefore, that the learned judge erred in not granting a lump sum in that he failed to give any weight, or sufficient weight, to several factors - the respondent`s failure to disclose assets; his available capital resources or liquidity; the appellant`s...

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24 cases
  • Koh Kim Lan Angela v Choong Kian Haw and Another Appeal
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 17 November 1993
    ...244; [1989] SLR 342 (folld) Lam Chih Kian v Ong Chin Ngoh [1993] 1 SLR (R) 460; [1993] 2 SLR 253 (folld) Lee Puey Hwa v Tay Cheow Seng [1991] 2 SLR (R) 196; [1991] SLR 198 (folld) Wee Ah Lian v Teo Siak Weng [1992] 1 SLR (R) 347; [1992] 1 SLR 688 (folld) Women's Charter (Cap 353, 1985 Rev E......
  • Wan Lai Cheng v Quek Seow Kee
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 31 July 2012
    ...Civil Appeal No 21 of 2011. Chen Siew Hwee v Low Kee Guan [2006] 4 SLR (R) 605; [2006] 4 SLR 605 (refd) Lee Puey Hwa v Tay Cheow Seng [1991] 2 SLR (R) 196; [1991] SLR 198 (folld) Ng Boo Tan v Collector of Land Revenue [2002] 2 SLR (R) 633; [2002] 4 SLR 495 (refd) Ong Chen Leng v Tan Sau Poo......
  • Aym v Ayl
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 26 August 2014
    ...v BCT [2012] SGDC 338 (refd) Chua Chwee Thiam v Lim Annie [1989] 1 SLR (R) 426; [1989] SLR 468 (folld) Lee Puey Hwa v Tay Cheow Seng [1991] 2 SLR (R) 196; [1991] SLR 198 (folld) Neo Mei Lan Helena v Long Melvin Anthony [2002] 2 SLR (R) 616; [2002] 4 SLR 384 (folld) Wan Lai Cheng v Quek Seow......
  • Wee Ah Lian v Teo Siak Weng
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 28 February 1992
    ...for the appellant PSuppiah (P Suppiah & Co) for the respondent. Hyman v Hyman [1929] AC 601 (refd) Lee Puey Hwa v Tay Cheow Seng [1991] 2 SLR (R) 196; [1991] SLR 198 (folld) Tomlin v Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd [1969] 1 WLR 1378; [1969] 3 All ER 201 (refd) Women's Charter (Cap 35......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Family Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2015, December 2015
    • 1 December 2015
    ...significant factor. Notably, this is not one of the factors previously set out by the Court of Appeal in Lee Puey Hwa v Tay Cheow Seng[1991] 2 SLR(R) 196 at [9] and AYM v AYL[2014] 4 SLR 559 at [18]. However, those two cases have also emphasised that ordering lump sum maintenance is largely......

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