People's Insurance Company Ltd v Khoo Tiang Seng

CourtFederal Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date10 February 1966
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 118 of 1964
Date10 February 1966
People's Insurance Co Ltd
Khoo Tiang Seng

[1966] SGFC 2

Thomson LP


Wee Chong Jin CJ


Tan Ah Tah FJ

Civil Appeal No 118 of 1964

Federal Court

Insurance–Motor vehicle insurance–Third party risks and compensation–Vehicle driven by policy holder's mechanic at time of accident–Whether mechanic was driving with policy holder's permission–Whether mechanic was “authorised driver” within meaning of policy

The respondent was injured in a road accident due to the negligent driving of a car insured by the appellant. The appellant's policy was issued in favour of one Ah Bah. At the time of the accident, the car was being driven by Ah Bah's mechanic, who was returning the car when he decided to deviate from the normal route to have lunch first. The respondent sued both the mechanic and the appellant for damages. Under the terms of the policy, the appellant undertook to indemnify any “authorised driver” driving the vehicle and this included any licensed driver who was “driving on the policy holder's order or with his permission”. The trial judge found that at the time of the accident, Ah Bah had given his mechanic implied permission to use the car. As the mechanic was driving the car with the policy holder's permission within the meaning of the policy, the judge gave judgment in favour of the respondent. The appellant appealed.

Held, dismissing the appeal with costs:

The mechanic had on two previous occasions similarly deviated from the normal route to have lunch without Ah Bah expressing disapproval of such use of the car. Further, Ah Bah had not on the day in question expressly prohibited his mechanic from using the car for the latter's private purposes. Where the insured in parting with the control of the car without any definite prohibition as to the nature of its use to a person, who thereupon uses it for a purpose for which he had used it on previous occasions with the insured's knowledge and without the insured's express disapproval, the insured must be held to have given permission to that person to use the car for the purpose for which it had been used on previous occasions: at [10] and [12].

Motor Vehicles (Third Party Risks and Compensation) Ordinance 1960 (No 1 of 1960) s 8 (1)

Dennis Lee (Lee & Lee) for the appellant

Robert Yap Tyou Min (Batenburg & Talma) for the respondent.

Wee Chong Jin CJ

1 The respondent who was injured in a road accident due to the negligent driving by one Chua...

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