Leong Sze Hian v Teo Ai Choo

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
Judgment Date19 April 1983
Date19 April 1983
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 29 of 1982

[1983] SGCA 10

Court of Appeal

Wee Chong Jin CJ

,

T Kulasekaram J

and

A P Rajah J

Civil Appeal No 29 of 1982

Leong Sze Hian
Plaintiff
and
Teo Ai Choo
Defendant

Ronnie Quek Cheng Chye (Shook Lin & Bok) for the appellant

Miss Molly Lim (Chung & Co) for the respondent.

Eng Mee Yong v V Letchumanan [1979] 2 MLJ 212; [1979] 1 AC 331 (folld)

Plimmer Bros v St Maur [1906] 26 NZLR 294 (distd)

Land–Caveats–Removal of caveat–Principles applicable in determining whether application for removal should be granted–Delay in prosecution by caveator–Whether caveat could be removed on grounds of delay

A dispute between the parties arose from an agreement signed on 1 September 1979 for the sale and purchase of a property. The defendant lodged a caveat on 11 June 1981 but did not commence an action against the plaintiff. Some 11 months after the caveat had been lodged, the plaintiff applied for the caveat to be removed.

The judge found that there had been inordinate and inexcusable delay by the defendant in not commencing an action against the plaintiff. The caveat was therefore removed on the ground of delay.

Held, allowing the application:

(1) The learned judge was wrong in law in granting the plaintiff the orders requested without first determining whether the claim on which the defendant's caveat number CV/51305 was based did raise a serious question to be tried.

(2) The learned judge was wrong in law in applying the doctrine of delay as a ground for removing the defendant's caveat number CV/51305 in the circumstances of the case.

(3) The case of Plimmer Bros v St Maur [1906] 26 NZLR 294 might be distinguished and in an application for the removal of a caveat, the court should consider whether there was a serious question to be tried. If the court were satisfied that there was, then the court would not order the removal of the caveat.

Wee Chong Jin CJ

delivered an oral judgment in open court. The extracted order of court is as follows:

ORDER OF COURT IN OPEN COURT

The 19th day of April 1983

THIS APPEAL coming on for hearing on the 19th day of 1983 in the presence of Counsel for the Appellant Mr Ronnie Quek Cheng Chye and Counsel for the Respondent, Miss Molly Lim AND UPON READING the Record of Appeal herein AND UPON HEARING COUNSEL as aforesaid THIS COURT...

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