Rank Xerox (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Ultra Marketing Pte Ltd

CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
JudgeWarren Khoo L H J
Judgment Date05 December 1991
Neutral Citation[1991] SGCA 45
Citation[1991] SGCA 45
Defendant CounselYeo Piah Chuan (Piah Tan & Partners)
Plaintiff CounselYeo Hock Cheong and Yap Tuck Kong (Hock Cheong & Co)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 38 of 1988
Date05 December 1991
Subject MatterAppeals,s 34(2) Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322),Conditional leave to defend,Leave,Effect of failure to obtain leave,Whether leave to appeal required,Appellate court's exercise of discretion to grant leave,Whether final or interlocutory order,Whether order final or interlocutory,Civil Procedure

Cur Adv Vult

The plaintiffs claimed against the defendants $1,706.17 for service and maintenance charges due under three agreements. Upon the plaintiffs` application for summary judgment, the district judge granted the defendants unconditional leave to defend. On 31 March 1988 Chan Sek Keong JC, as he then was, varied this by giving the defendants leave to defend conditional upon his payment of $1,706.17 into court. The plaintiffs sought to have this order set aside.

At the hearing before the Court of Appeal the defendants made a preliminary objection on the ground that leave to appeal had not been obtained as required under (i) s 34(1)(a) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, since the value of the subject matter `at trial` was less than $2,000; or (ii) s 34(2) of the same Act, since the order of conditional leave to defend was an interlocutory order.
The plaintiffs contended that s 34(1)(a) was inapplicable because, these being summary judgment proceedings, no `trial` was involved. In the event, we did not find it necessary to decide this point. We decided that an order for conditional leave to defend is an interlocutory order within the meaning of that subsection, and that leave is required.

We found the present English case law unhelpful in relation to the argument on s 34(2) because in England and Wales there has been since 1925 an express statutory provision to the effect that an order refusing unconditional leave to defend an action shall not be deemed to be an interlocutory order.
This was construed in Gordon v Cradock 1 to extend to an order giving conditional leave to defend. Our statutes and Rules of Court do not contain any equivalent provision, nor is it proper to read into s 34(2) of our Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322) a meaning assigned by a special provision of a statute from another jurisdiction. We think this a desirable opportunity to state clearly what the position in this jurisdiction is.

Previously, there were two possible tests to be applied in deciding whether an order was interlocutory or final.
The first was stated by Fry LJ in Salaman v Warner 2 at p 736:

... an order is `final` only where it is made upon an application or other proceeding which must, whether such application or proceeding fail or succeed, determine the action. Conversely, ... an order is `interlocutory` where it cannot be affirmed that in either event the action will be determined.

The second was the test stated by Lord Alverstone in

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25 cases
  • Lai Swee Lin Linda v Attorney-General
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 7 December 2005
    ...(refd) Public Service Commission v Lai Swee Lin Linda [2001] SGCA 10 (refd) Rank Xerox (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Ultra Marketing Pte Ltd [1991] 2 SLR (R) 912; [1992] 1 SLR 73 (folld) Salaman v Warner [1891] 1 QB 734 (not folld) Singapore Press Holdings Ltd v Brown Noel Trading Pte Ltd [1994] 3 ......
  • Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Ltd and Another v Fraser & Neave Ltd and Others
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    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
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    ......Later in 1992 in Rank Xerox (Singapore) v Ultra Marketing [1992] 1 SLR 73 , ......
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  • Jumabhoy Asad v Aw Cheok Huat Mick and Others
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 31 July 2003
    ...order is interlocutory or final was the subject of several decisions here. In Rank Xerox (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Ultra Marketing Pte Ltd [1992] 1 SLR 73, this Court, after reviewing the authorities, adopted the test propounded in Bozson v Altrincham Urban District Council [1903] 1 KB 547 to b......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 1998, December 1998
    • 1 December 1998
    ...Pte Ltd v Ultra Marketing Pte Ltd[19921 1 SLR 73. 23 [1903] 1 KB 547. 24 Rank Xerox (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Ultra Marketing Pte Ltd [1992] 1 SLR 73 at 76. The Court of Appeal held that the test laid down in Boczon v Altrincham UDC was to be preferred to that laid down in Salaman v Warner[1891......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2000, December 2000
    • 1 December 2000
    ...“at the trial” was an issue arising, but left open by the Court of Appeal, in Rank Xerox (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Ultra Marketing Pte Ltd[1992] 1 SLR 73. 34 [1999] 4 SLR at 404, para 8. 35 (2nd Ed) at p 1805. See [1999] 4 SLR at 403, para 6. 36 Ibid. 37 The limit of $50,000 is relevant for app......

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