Omar Ali bin Mohd and Others v Syed Jafaralsadeg bin Abdulkadir Alhadad and Others

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChao Hick Tin J
Judgment Date30 May 1995
Neutral Citation[1995] SGHC 137
Citation[1995] SGHC 137
Subject MatterSecurity,Relevant factors for consideration,Locus standi,Foreign plaintiffs,Costs,Action to protect property of estate,Parties,Succession and Wills,O 23 r 1 Rules of the Supreme Court,Whether beneficiaries could sue where no letters of administration had been granted,Action to protect property of estate where no letters of administration had been granted,Civil Procedure,Whether action initiated on behalf of estate or in personal capacities,Locus standi of beneficiaries,Whether beneficiaries could sue,Standing
Defendant CounselLeslie Netto and Tan Beng Swee (Netto Tan & S Magin),Peter Pang (Peter Pang & Co)
Plaintiff CounselTM Tan (Mallal & Namazie)
Docket NumberSuit No 1799 of 1994
Published date19 September 2003
Date30 May 1995

The matter that came before me concerned a question of security for costs. It came by way of an appeal against a decision of the learned assistant registrar who ordered that the plaintiffs be required to furnish security for costs in a sum of $3,000 (up to O 14 stage). Having heard the parties I allowed the appeal and set aside the order for security. I now give my reasons.

This action, which was commenced on 9 November 1994, relates to a property known as No 143 Dunlop Street (the property). One Syed Mohamed bin Ali bin Mohamed bin Abdul Shaikh Altamimi, who died intestate in 1951 (hereinafter called `the intestate`), was at all material times the owner entitled to the unexpired term of a leasehold interest of 999 years in the property, being part of lease marked lot No 79 made on 26 October 1877 between Kavena Koonjam Chitty and Inche Ittam. The plaintiffs, nine in all, are the lawful children, and thus the beneficiaries of the estate of the intestate.

The first to fourth defendants (hereinafter referred to as `the first four defendants`) are the trustees of the estate of Syed Ahmad bin Abdulrahman bin Ahmat Aljunied, who was the reversion holder of the property, by virtue of a deed of appointment dated 24 July 1992. The fifth defendant claims to be a purchaser of the property from the first four defendants. It would appear that sometime on or about 18 March 1994 the first four defendants had without the plaintiffs` knowledge or consent offered the property, including the leasehold interest therein of the intestate, for sale to the fifth defendant by way of an option, which option was apparently exercised by the fifth defendant on 18 May 1994.

By this action the plaintiffs seek a declaration that the unexpired residue of the leasehold interest of 999 years in the property vests in the estate of the intestate and that the purported sale by the first four defendants to the fifth defendant, in so far as it included the leasehold interest of the intestate`s estate, is null and void. The plaintiffs also seek the removal of the caveat lodged by the fifth defendant on 6 October 1994 in so far as it affects the leasehold interest and an injunction to restrain the first four defendants from dealing with the leasehold interest.

Background

One Alwee Alkaff said that he has been the agent of the estate of the intestate since 1972. When his father was alive, the father was the agent. Alwee Alkaff was formally appointed attorney of the plaintiffs on 2 August 1994. He deposed that he had dealt with one Syed Hussain bin Abdulkader bin Abdulrahman Aljunied (Syed Hussain Aljunied), a then trustee of the estate of the reversion holder, who had on 3 January 1978 appointed Alwee Alkaff as agent for Syed Hussain Aljunied to collect and receive rent, etc, due from the tenant of the property. Syed Hussain Aljunied was appointed a trustee of the reversion holder`s estate pursuant to a deed of appointment dated 28 August 1958. On 3 February 1978, Syed Hussain Aljunied gave notice to the lessee/occupier of the property asking for arrears of rent for the years 1958 to 1978 amounting to $20 in all to be paid within 7 days `failing which legal action shall be commenced against (lessee/occupier) with no further notice to recover the amount due`. Alwee Alkaff said that he paid on behalf of the estate of the intestate the rent due on the property for those years, at $1 per year. In addition, he also paid the rent for 1978 to 1984. Alwee Alkaff also averred that he has been collecting rent from the tenant of the property on behalf of the intestate`s estate and has been paying property tax due on the property, and evidence was exhibited to substantiate that. He said, however, that since 1984, Syed Hussain Aljunied had failed to collect the yearly rent from the intestate`s estate and no representative of the reversion holder`s estate had come forward to collect the said yearly rent from the intestate`s estate.

The tenant of the property was one Wong Peng Eng @ Hoe Pee Eng who passed away in 1983. His family continued to stay there after his death. The daughter of the tenant, Hoe Hong Kee (born in 1953), has deposed that while her father was alive he had been paying rent to Alwee Alkaff. As a child she had accompanied her father to Alwee Alkaff`s office at the Arcade to pay rent. She deposed that her family has been staying there even before she was born.

On 25 August 1993 the first defendant wrote to the tenant of the property asking for payment of rent. This was brought to the attention of Alwee Alkaff, who rejected the claim of the first defendant. In view of this demand by the first defendant for rent from the tenant, and of the steps taken by certain individuals to evict the tenant and/or collect rent from the tenant, on 18 May 1994 the plaintiffs lodged a caveat against the property in the Registry of Deeds.

On 6 October 1994 the fifth defendant also lodged a caveat against the whole of 143 Dunlop Street as a purchaser of the property from the first four defendants, as trustees of the estate of the reversion holder. It would appear that sometime also in October 1994, the fifth defendant took steps to negotiate with the occupiers of the property with a view to getting them vacate the premises.

For the reasons aforesaid, on 9 November 1994 the plaintiffs initiated the present action and obtained an ex parte injunction restraining all the defendants from proceeding to conclude the sale of the property. Thereafter, there were some other interlocutory proceedings relating to the production of documents which I need not go into. At the time the appeal came before me, there was also a pending application by the plaintiffs for summary judgment.

Application for security for costs

Then on 29 December 1994 the first four defendants applied for security for costs on the ground that the plaintiffs are ordinarily resident out of jurisdiction. They pointed out that the address of the plaintiffs stated on the writ of summons is just `Tarem, Hydramout, Republic of Yemen`, without house number or street name. They also said that the plaintiffs have not given their identity numbers. In addition, they made the following points on the merits of the plaintiffs` claim:

(i) The leasehold interest was vested in one Shaik Mohamed bin Ali bin Mohamed bin Abdul Shaik and not...

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24 cases
  • Wong Moy (administratrix of the estate of Theng Chee Khim, deceased) v Soo Ah Choy
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 22 November 1995
    ...All ER 448 (refd) Joseph Hayim Hayim v Citibank NA [1987] AC 730 (folld) Omar Ali bin Mohd v Syed Jafaralsadeg bin Abdulkadir Alhadad [1995] 2 SLR (R) 407; [1995] 3 SLR 388 (not folld) P Govindasamy Pillay & Sons Ltd v Lok Seng Chai [1961] MLJ 89 (folld) S M K R Meyappa Chetty v S N Suprama......
  • Ong Jane Rebecca v Pricewaterhousecoopers and Others
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 6 February 2009
    ...expenditure of both money and time. 23 Similarly, in Omar Ali bin Mohd and Others v Syed Jafaralsadeg bin Abdulkadir Alhadad and Others[1995] 3 SLR 388 at [18], the Singapore High Court held that while the likelihood of the plaintiff succeeding is a relevant consideration, an application fo......
  • Wong Moy (administratrix of the estate of Theng Chee Khim, deceased) v Soo Ah Choy
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 13 September 1996
    ...came to know of the recent decision of Chao Hick Tin J in Omar Ali bin Mohd & Ors v Syed Jafaralsadeg bin Abdulkadir Alhadad & Ors [1995] 3 SLR 388. They took the view that this decision provided support for their application, and on 7 November 1995, the appellant`s solicitors wrote to the ......
  • Alwee Alkaff v Syed Jafaralsadeg and Others and Another Action
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 1 November 1997
    ...in Suit No 1799/94. His Honour`s decision is reported in Omar Ali bin Mohd & Ors v Syed Jafaralsadeg bin Abdulkadir Alhadad & Ors [1995] 3 SLR 388 . In relation to the discrepancy in the name Chao Hick Tin J stated (at p 394): As regards the discrepancy in the name of the intestate it seems......
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4 books & journal articles
  • A REVIEW OF DEVELOPMENTS IN SELECTED AREAS OF CIVIL PROCEDURE1
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 1996, December 1996
    • 1 December 1996
    ...in default of appearance not set aside because, inter alia, of the defendant’s failure to explain and apparent lack of bona fides). 148 [1995] 3 SLR 388. 149 The plaintiff is ordinarily resident out of jurisdiction. 150 Ibid, at p 393. Also see Porzelack Kg v Porzelack (UK)[1987] 1 ALL ER 1......
  • TRUST FUNDS, ASCERTAINABILITY OF BENEFICIAL INTEREST AND INSOLVENCY SET-OFF
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 1996, December 1996
    • 1 December 1996
    ...Peng[1990] 3 MLJ 37; Lee Yoke San v Tsong Sai Sai Cecilia[1993] 1 SLR 602; Omar Ali bin Mohd v Syed Jafaralsadeg bin Abdulkadir Alhadad[1995] 3 SLR 388; Wong Moy (Administratrix of the Estate of Theng Chee Khim) v Soo Ah Choy[1996] 1 SLR 586. 40 Re Leigh’s Will Trusts [1970] 1 Ch 277. 41 Se......
  • Civil Procedure
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2003, December 2003
    • 1 December 2003
    ...[18]). 6.71 With regard to security for costs, the principles established in Omar Ali bin Mohd v Syed Jafaralsadeg bin Abdulkadir Alhadad[1995] 3 SLR 388 were applied in Span Pacific Corp v ASP Crew Management Ltd[2003] SGHC 84. In deciding not to award security for costs, the High Court to......
  • Civil Procedure
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2017, December 2017
    • 1 December 2017
    ...[35(c)]. 84 [2017] 4 SLR 1124. 85 Lakshmi Anil Salgaocar v Vivek Sudarshan Khabya [2017] 4 SLR 1124 at [36]. 86 [1996] 3 SLR(R) 27. 87 [1995] 2 SLR(R) 407. 88 [2010] 2 SLR 76. 89 Cap 43, 1999 Rev Ed. 90 Cap 251, 2000 Rev Ed. 91 [2017] SGHCR 8. 92 [2017] SGHC 43; see also para 8.218 below. 9......

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