Lim Ah Chi v Tan Ah Mui and Another

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtFederal Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date19 November 1968
Date19 November 1968
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No Y15 of 1968

[1968] SGFC 19

Federal Court

Wee Chong Jin CJ

,

Tan Ah Tah FJ

and

A V Winslow J

Civil Appeal No Y15 of 1968

Lim Ah Chi
Plaintiff
and
Tan Ah Mui and another
Defendant

Ng Kian Fong (Ng Kian Fong) for the appellant

D G Ironside (Ironside & de Souza) for the respondents.

Damages–Measure of damages–Personal injuries cases–Loss of pecuniary benefits to dependants–Assessment of loss where there is a lack of evidence as to the deceased's earnings

The dependants of a self-employed “pow” seller, who was killed in a motor vehicle accident that arose as the consequence of the negligence of the defendant, sued the defendant for loss of pecuniary benefits to the dependants. The only evidence adduced of the loss was that of the widow of the deceased, who testified that he gave her $10 per day for household expenses from his earnings. The trial judge awarded the sum of $29,904 to the widow, her three children and the parents of the deceased. The defendant appealed contending that the award was manifestly excessive having regard to the evidence adduced as to the earnings of the deceased.

Held, allowing the appeal:

Where there has been no finding of fact as to the actual income of the deceased or evidence as to the income of a similar person in his trade, the court is driven to use its own understanding of conditions prevailing in Singapore with respect to businesses of this particular kind, to arrive at a reasonable figure which does not conflict with the evidence adduced. On the evidence tendered, the amount awarded was excessive and accordingly reduced: at [8] and [10].

A V Winslow J

(delivering the judgment of the court):

1 This is an appeal against that part of the decision of Choor Singh J given on 3 May 1968 which determined the quantum of the award herein to be the sum of $29,904 for the widow, her three children and the parents of the deceased who died in a motor accident as a consequence of the negligence of the appellant in early September 1966.

2 Counsel for the appellant contended that this award is manifestly excessive having regard to the evidence adduced on the respondents' behalf with regard to the earnings of the deceased.

3 The only evidence regarding the loss of pecuniary benefits on the part of the defendants was that of the widow of the deceased who claimed that her husband gave her $10 per day for household expenses from his earnings as a “pow” seller carrying on business in a coffee-shop near the...

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