People's Insurance Co Ltd v Akai Pty Ltd

JudgeChoo Han Teck JC
Judgment Date13 June 1997
Neutral Citation[1997] SGHC 165
Docket NumberSuit No 468 of 1997
Date13 June 1997
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselAlvin Yeo, Sim Bock Eng and Paul Sandosham (Wong Partnership)
Citation[1997] SGHC 165
Defendant CounselLawrence Lee and Ruby Akbar (David Chong & Co)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject MatterInjunctions,Whether Singapore court should influence course of case,Civil Procedure,Australian and English courts with jurisdiction,Whether defendants amenable to jurisdiction of Singapore court,Proceedings commenced in England and Australia,Choice of law and jurisdiction clause in favour of English law and courts,Ex parte injunction obtained to restrain action in Australia,Restraining foreign proceedings


The plaintiff is an insurance company incorporated in Singapore (People`s Insurance Co Ltd) and carrying on business as such. The defendant is a wholly owned subsidiary of Akai Electric Co. It distributes audio, video and other electronic equipment in Australia for its Tokyo based parent company.

2.In March 1991 the defendant`s insurance brokers, Credit Insurance (Brokers) Ltd (CIA) began negotiations with Global Trade Insurance Management Pte Ltd (GTI), a wholly owned subsidiary of the plaintiff, for a credit insurance policy to be issued by the plaintiff to the defendant.

3.The negotiations concluded with the issue of a `comprehensive credit policy` on 1 June 1991 by the plaintiff naming the defendant as the insured. The policy was issued from Singapore and the risks covered are set out in cl IA of the policy.

4.Sometime about November 1991, one of the defendant`s trade debtors failed to pay its debt and eventually went into liquidation in February 1992. Thereafter, fthe defendant made a claim on the policy. By letter dated 20 December 1992, GTI, on behalf of the plaintiff, rejected the claim, citing breaches of the terms of the policy.

5.On 5 March 1993 the defendant commenced proceedings in England and Australia simultaneously. The English action was not pursued, and the writ was not served on the plaintiff until 22 December 1993. In the meantime, the plaintiff had entered appearance in the Australian proceedings and applied successfully for a stay of the Australian proceedings. The stay order was made on 7 December 1993, a few weeks before the English writ was served on the plaintiff. The defendant appealed against the stay order but its appeal was dismissed. It then appealed to the High Court of Australia, and by a majority of three to two the High Court of Australia allowed the defendant`s appeal and directed that the action proceed to trial. As the defendant were taking steps to obtain directions as to the further conduct of the proceedings the plaintiff applied, ex parte, to the High Court in Singapore for an injunction (fashionably referred to as an `anti-suit` injunction) against the defendant, prohibiting them from proceeding further in the Australian action. The application was granted and the defendant now applied to have the injunction discharged.

6.The basis for the plaintiff`s application for the injunction against the defendant was that cl 9 provided that the policy shall be governed by English law and that any dispute arising from the policy `shall be referred to the courts of England`. The plaintiff applied for the injunction in Singapore only because it fears that if the defendant is successful in the Australian suit it would seek to enforce the judgment against the plaintiff`s assets in Singapore.

7.The plaintiff`s application was an unusual one because normally, a party seeking an anti-suit injunction makes his application in one of the competing forums to restrain the other party from commencing or continuing an action in the other forums. In this case, Singapore was not a competing forum in the sense that neither party intended to litigate the matter here. The competition was between the English forum and the Australian forum. The plaintiff did not apply for an anti-suit injunction in England. There is, however, a pending application by the...

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9 cases
  • Evergreen International SA v Volkswagen Group Singapore Pte Ltd and Others
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 27 June 2003
    ...the injunction could be enforceable against the Defendants. He referred to cases such as People’s Insurance Co Ltd v Akai Pty Ltd [1998] 1 SLR 206 and The Sea Hawk [1986] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 317 where an injunction was not granted as the defendant had no assets within the jurisdiction. Mustill L......
  • Akai Pty. Ltd v People's Insurance Company Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Commercial Court)
    • 31 July 1997
  • John Reginald Stott Kirkham and Others v Trane US Inc and Others
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 15 July 2009
    ...first criteria [sic] would be satisfied. 31 In contrast to the situation in Koh Kay Yew, in People’s Insurance Co Ltd v Akai Pty Ltd [1998] 1 SLR 206, the defendant, who had had taken no steps in the Singapore proceedings except to defend the application for an anti-suit injunction, was hel......
  • R1 International Pte Ltd v Lonstroff AG
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 14 April 2014
    ...Maldives Airports Co Ltd v GMR Malé International Airport Pte Ltd [2013] 2 SLR 449 (folld) People's Insurance Co Ltd v Akai Pty Ltd [1997] 2 SLR (R) 291; [1998] 1 SLR 206 (folld) Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale v Lee Kui Jak [1987] AC 871 (refd) Trans-Link Exhibition Forwarding ......
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7 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2008, December 2008
    • 1 December 2008
    ...Trading) Act (Cap 52A, 2004 Rev Ed). 90 See Airbus Industrie GIE v Patel[1999] 1 AC 119 at 131; People’s Insurance Co Ltd v Akai Pty Ltd[1998] 1 SLR 206 at [12]. 91 Professor Symeonides has criticised the Rome II Regulation for giving as much effect to pre-tort agreements as it does to post......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2013, December 2013
    • 1 December 2013
    ...Ltd v Papierwerke Waldhof-Aschaffenberg AG[1981] 2 Lloyd's Rep 446. 207 See n 203 above. 208People's Insurance Co Ltd v Akai Pty Ltd[1997] 2 SLR(R) 291 at [12]. 209 For instance, courts have had to deal with validity of choice of law and jurisdiction agreements: see Mackender v Feldia AG[19......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2015, December 2015
    • 1 December 2015
    ...such cases, the Singapore court has held that it will not act as an “international busybody” (People's Insurance Co Ltd v Akai Pty Ltd[1997] 2 SLR(R) 291 at [12]). 24Orchard Capital I Ltd v Ravindra Kumar Jhunjhunwala[2012] 2 SLR 519 at [24] and [30]–[31], citing Yeo Tiong Min, “The Contrac......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2005, December 2005
    • 1 December 2005
    ...of foreign courts in Turner v Grovit, supra n 23, at [22]—[29]. 123 (1996) 188 CLR 418. 124 People’s Insurance Co Ltd v Akai Pty Ltd [1998] 1 SLR 206. It was not argued in the case, and no separate proceedings were taken elsewhere, on the basis that the commencement of anti-suit proceedings......
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