Mir Hassan bin Abdul Rahman and Another v Attorney-General

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeTan Lee Meng J
Judgment Date05 September 2008
Neutral Citation[2008] SGHC 147
Citation[2008] SGHC 147
Plaintiff CounselMichael Hwang SC, Fong Lee Cheng (Michael Hwang), Phang Sin Kat, Susan Wong (Messrs Phang & Co)
Publication Date05 September 2008
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 941 of 2008 (Summons No 3135 of 2008)
Defendant CounselSoh Tze Bian (Attorney-General's Chambers),Ng Poh Wah in person,Shaikh Mahfutz bin Ahmad Mattar in person,N Sreenivasan, Valerie Ang (Messrs Straits Law Practice LLC), Siva Krishnasamy (Messrs Tan Lee & Partners)
Date05 September 2008
SubjectStrata titles,Collective sales,Duty of Strata Title Board to act expeditiously,Section 92(9) Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act 2004 (Act 47 of 2004),Regulation 20 Building Maintenance and Strata Management (Strata Titles Boards) Regulations 2005 (S 195/2005),Discretion of Strata Title Board to fix hearing dates,Judicial review,Administrative Law,Whether Strata Title Board had to make final order or determination within six months from date constituted,Whether Strata Title Board and its Registrar had exercised discretion illegally and/or irrationally in Wednesbury sense by fixing hearing on date beyond its mandate and was exercise in futility,Strata Title Board fixing hearing on date after its mandate expired and after contractual deadline for obtaining Board's approval for collective sale in sale and purchase agreement,Land

5 September 2008

Tan Lee Meng J:

1 The applicants, the authorized representatives of the sale committee of Tampines Court, applied for judicial review of the decision of the Strata Title Board (“STB”) to resume the hearing of their application (“STB No 2 of 2008”) for approval of the en bloc sale of Tampines Court on 7 August 2008. I quashed the STB’s decision and ordered the STB to resume the said hearing on Monday, 21 July 2008. The reasons for my decision are stated below.

Background

2 Tampines Court is a privatized HUDC estate comprising 560 housing units. The residents appointed a sale committee for the purpose of a collective sale agreement dated 5 May 2006. According to the sale committee, subsidiary proprietors holding 82.14% of the share values of Tampines Court had signed the collective sale agreement and committed themselves to the en bloc sale.

3 On 25 March 2007, the sale committee and Orchard Mall Pte Ltd (“the purchaser”) concluded a sale and purchase agreement (“the S & PA”) for the collective sale and purchase of Tampines Court for the sum of $395 million plus a sum of $10 million to cater for subsidiary proprietors whose share of the sale proceeds from the en bloc sale is insufficient to pay off the encumbrances on their properties. Under the S & PA, the STB’s approval of the en bloc sale must be obtained by 25 July 2008 “unless the parties hereto mutually agree in writing to extend the time for the obtaining of the STB order.”

4 The sale committee could have applied for the STB’s approval of the en bloc sale much earlier but it wanted to do so only after the decision of the STB in the Gillman Heights case, which also involved the en bloc sale of a privatized HUDC estate. According to the sale committee, two important issues in the Gillman Heights case, which was heard by the STB in the latter half of 2007, were relevant to its application to the STB for approval of the en bloc sale. The first issue concerned the application of s 84A of the Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158, 1999 Rev Ed) ) (“LTSA”) to a privatized HUDC estate. The second issue concerned the minimum percentage of share values required to approve the en bloc sale of a privatized HUDC estate before it can be sold. The STB delivered its decision in the Gillman Heights case on 21 December 2007 and on 7 January 2008, the sale committee applied for the STB’s approval of the en bloc sale of Tampines Court.

5 On 1 February 2008, the STB was constituted to hear STB No 2 of 2008. The parties were invited to resolve their differences through mediation. However, the first mediation hearing on 29 February 2008, the second mediation hearing on 10 April 2008 and the third mediation hearing on 10 June 2008 did not result in an agreement between those who wanted to sell their housing units and those who did not.

6 Following the failure of the mediation efforts, the hearing of STB No 2 of 2008 was fixed for 16 to 18 June 2008. The hearing was not completed by 18 June 2008. According to the sale committee, only one of its witnesses had not been cross-examined and he had filed a very short affidavit. The STB decided that the hearing would resume on 7 August 2008.

7 At this juncture, two points must be noted. First, the STB is required by s 92(9) of the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act 2004 (Act No 47 of 2004) (“the Act”) to make a final order or determination with respect to the application for the en bloc sale by 1 August 2008 unless that date has been extended by the Minister. Secondly, as the contractual deadline in the S & PA for the obtaining of the STB’s approval of the en bloc sale is 25 July 2008, a hearing on 7 August 2008 would be academic unless the purchaser agreed to extend the deadline.

8 The Deputy President of the STB asked the applicants’ solicitors, Phang & Co, to seek an extension of the deadline from the purchaser. He also gave instructions that the Minister’s consent be sought for an...

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1 cases
  • UDL Marine (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Jurong Town Corp
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 28 February 2011
    ...v Minister for Home Affairs and another [2006] 1 SLR(R) 582 at [94] and Mir Hassan bin Abdul Rahman and another v Attorney-General [2009] 1 SLR(R) 134 at The law on legitimate expectations In broad terms, a legitimate expectation in administrative law refers to an expectation that one would......
1 books & journal articles
  • LOCALISING ADMINISTRATIVE LAW IN SINGAPORE
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 2017, December 2017
    • 1 December 2017
    ...of review: Attorney-General v Venice-Simplon Orient Express Inc Ltd[1995] 1 SLR(R) 533; Mir Hassan bin Abdul Rahman v Attorney-General[2009] 1 SLR(R) 134. 87 See, eg, comments to this effect by the House of Lords in R v Chief Constable of Sussex, ex parte International Trader's Ferry Ltd[19......

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