Mycitydeal Ltd (trading as Groupon UK) and others v Villas International Property Pte Ltd and others

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChoo Han Teck J
Judgment Date21 April 2014
Neutral Citation[2014] SGHC 81
Citation[2014] SGHC 81
Docket NumberSuit No 281 of 2012 (Registrar’s Appeal No 77 of 2014)
Publication Date22 April 2014
Plaintiff CounselNavinder Singh (Navin & Co LLP)
Defendant CounselNazirah K Din and Rasanathan s/o Sothynathan (Colin Ng & Partners LLP)
SubjectCivil Procedure,Interim orders,Security for costs
Choo Han Teck J:

This is an appeal against the assistant registrar’s decision to dismiss the plaintiffs’ application for security for costs, in the sum of $100,000, against the defendants.

In Summons No 812 of 2014, the plaintiffs applied for security for costs against the defendants, by virtue of s 388 of the Companies Act (Cap 50, 2006 Rev Ed) and Order 23 of the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed). They seemed to proceed on both s 388 and O 23, presumably in the alternative. On 26 February 2014, before the assistant registrar, Ms Una Khng (“AR Khng”), counsel for the plaintiffs clarified that the security for costs application was against only the first defendant. AR Khng dismissed the plaintiffs’ application, and fixed costs at $2,200, to be paid by the plaintiffs to the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed to this court, seeking that AR Khng’s decision be wholly reversed, and that the plaintiffs be granted security for costs pursuant to their application in Summons No 812 of 2014.

The plaintiffs in this case are Groupon entities in various parts of the world. Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website that connects merchants and consumers by offering goods and services at discounted prices. The consumers usually purchase “coupons” through the respective website of each plaintiff, and subsequently redeem them from the merchants. The defendants are one of the merchants that deal with the plaintiffs. The third and fourth defendants are the shareholders and directors of the first defendant. They are in the business of promoting vacation packages in Thailand and Indonesia.

The first and second defendants entered into agreements with various properties in Thailand and Indonesia to promote vacation packages. They subsequently approached the plaintiffs to promote and sell these vacation packages online. The mechanism of the arrangement is as follows: first, the consumer purchases a coupon for a vacation package via one of the plaintiffs’ websites; second, the respective plaintiff sends an e-mail to the consumer, attaching a copy of the coupon as evidence of the consumer’s purchase; third, the consumer then contacts the defendants directly to book his or her vacation package, by citing a code that is contained in the coupon received via e-mail; and fourth, once the consumer’s booking has been confirmed, the coupon is deemed to have been validly redeemed. The defendants would then log in to the corresponding plaintiff’s “Partner Portal” to input details of the coupons redeemed. At this point, pursuant to the agreement entered into between each of the plaintiffs and the defendants, the corresponding plaintiff will be required to make payment to the defendant within seven to ten working days.

Parties first appeared before the High Court as a result of the plaintiffs’ suit against the defendants. The plaintiffs filed their writ of summons on 5 April 2012. One of their allegations was that the defendants had...

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