Re Seah Pong Tshai

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeLai Kew Chai J
Judgment Date29 October 1991
Neutral Citation[1991] SGHC 157
Citation[1991] SGHC 157
Plaintiff CounselMadan DT Assomull (Assomull, Pereira & Partners)
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 368 of 1990
Defendant CounselSeah Pong Tshai in person

In these proceedings, Seah Pong Tshai (`the respondent`), an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court, was ordered to show cause why he should not be dealt with under s 80 of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161) (`the Act`). The proceedings arose from a determination by the disciplinary committee, appointed by the Chief Justice under s 87(1) of the Act, that in relation to a complaint dated 22 January 1988 made by one Ang Beng Kheng (`the complainant`) to the Law Society of Singapore (`Law Society`), cause of sufficient gravity for disciplinary action existed under s 80 of the Act. The determination of the disciplinary committee was made on the basis of a charge (which we shall set out shortly) framed by the Law Society which the disciplinary committee found had been proved. We held that the determination was not sustainable as there was a fundamental error in the proceedings before the disciplinary committee which, in our view, vitiated the entire proceedings. We accordingly discharged the order nisi and in the circumstances made no order as to costs. We now give our reasons.

The relevant facts that gave rise to these proceedings were briefly these. The respondent was at the material time practising under the name and style of PT Seah & Co at 865, Mountbatten Road, #06-21, Katong Shopping Centre, Singapore 1543. On or about 16 December 1987 he was instructed to act for the complainant in the criminal case DAC 11569/87, in which the latter was charged with an offence under s 5(a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185) and which was coming on for mention in the district court on 19 December 1987. However, on the date of mention, when the complainant saw the respondent in court he terminated the service of the respondent. On these facts there was no dispute. The dispute between the complainant and the respondent was with respect to the payment of a sum of $1,000 alleged to have been made by the complainant to the respondent on 17 December 1987 to account of the latter`s fees.

The evidence of the complainant is this. On 16 December 1987 he went to the office of the respondent and saw the respondent`s clerk, Thomas Toh (`Toh`), and showed Toh a copy of the charge and the result of the urine test. Toh asked for a sum of $5,000 as fees and later agreed to reduce it to $4,000 with the respondent`s consent. It was not clear whether the complainant saw the respondent at that time. Toh further asked the complainant to pay a deposit of $2,000, but no amount was paid on that day. On the following day, the complainant went to the respondent`s office and paid a deposit of $1,000, which was received by Toh. The respondent agreed to accept this amount provided that another sum of $1,000 would be paid on the date of mention for the case. The complainant asked Toh for a receipt, but the latter merely acknowledged receipt of the sum of $1,000 on a blank form of warrant to act which was given to the complainant. On 18 December 1987 the complainant retained the service of another lawyer called Mr Guru and at the same time instructed him to recover the sum of $1,000 from the respondent. On 19 December 1987, which was the date of mention for the case, one Mr Dhanwant Singh from Mr Guru`s office appeared in court on behalf of the complainant. The complainant saw the respondent in court and terminated the latter`s service and asked for the refund of the sum of $1,000. The respondent refused. Later the complainant went to the office of the respondent, again, trying to obtain a refund of the sum of $1,000, but he was unsuccessful.

The respondent denied that he received any payment from the complainant. He said that the complainant saw him in his office and retained him for the case. He asked for a deposit of $500 to be paid on the date of mention, and on that date he went to court and he saw the complainant. The complainant, however, did not pay the sum of $500. The complainant told him that M/s Guru & Partners had been engaged to represent the complainant and terminated his service.

The disciplinary committee accepted the evidence of the complainant and found that the sum of $1,000 was paid to the respondent on 17 December 1987. On the evidence before it, the disciplinary committee was entitled to...

To continue reading

Request your trial
9 cases
  • Tan Tiang Hin Jerry v Singapore Medical Council
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 26 August 1999
    ...Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate; Ex p Pinochet Ugarte (No 2) [2000] 1 AC 119; [1999] 1 All ER 577 (distd) Seah Pong Tshai, Re [1991] 2 SLR (R) 744; [1992] 1 SLR 399 (distd) Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 1997 Rev Ed)s 86 (8) Medical Registration Act (Cap 174, 1998 Rev Ed)ss 40, 40 (14),......
  • The Law Society of Singapore v Wong Kai Kit
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 3 December 1993
    ...[1978-1979] SLR 240 (distd) Ratnam v Law Society of Singapore [1974-1976] SLR (R) 629; [1975-1977] SLR 39 (distd) Seah Pong Tshai, Re [1991] 2 SLR (R) 744; [1992] 1 SLR 399 (folld) Advocates and Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules (S 98/1963) rr 2, 10 Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, ......
  • Tan Tiang Hin Jerry v Singapore Medical Council
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 23 March 2000
    ...Calveley [1986] QB 424 (refd) Ratnam v Law Society of Singapore [1974-1976] SLR (R) 629; [1975-1977] SLR 39 (refd) Seah Pong Tshai, Re [1991] 2 SLR (R) 744; [1992] 1 SLR 399 (refd) Singh Kalpanath, Re [1992] 1 SLR (R) 595; [1992] 2 SLR 639 (distd) Tullio Planeta v Maoro Andrea G [1994] 2 SL......
  • Law Society of Singapore v Tan Phuay Khiang
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 26 June 2007
    ...449; [2005] 3 SLR 449 (refd) Saltman Engineering Co, Ltd v Campbell Engineering Co, Ltd [1963] 3 All ER 413 (refd) Seah Pong Tshai, Re [1991] 2 SLR (R) 744; [1992] 1 SLR 399 (refd) Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 2001 Rev Ed) ss 83 (1), 83 (2) (h), 89 (4), 93, 94 (1), 98 Legal Profession (Pr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT