Roberto Building Material Pte Ltd and Others v Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd and Another

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeChao Hick Tin JA
Judgment Date16 May 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] SGCA 21
Citation[2003] SGCA 21
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 100 of 2002
Defendant CounselMichael Hwang SC, Edwin Tong, Loong Tse Chuan (Allen & Gledhill),V K Rajah SC, Lee Eng Beng, Chio Yuen-Lyn, Lynette Koh (Rajah & Tann)
Published date17 December 2003
Plaintiff CounselKenneth Tan SC and Wang Wei Chi (Kenneth Tan Partnership)
Date16 May 2003
Subject MatterStay of appeal pending payment of taxed costs of action below,Whether single judge can order stay of appeal pending payment of taxed costs of action below,Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1999 Rev Ed) s 36(1),Inherent,Jurisdiction,Failure to comply with order,Civil Procedure,Striking out of appeal,Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 1997 Rev Ed) O 92 r 4,Whether single judge may strike out an appeal,Appeals,Whether circumstances warrant exercise of jurisdiction,Stay of appeal

Delivered by Chao Hick Tin JA

1 This was an application made by way of motion asking the Court of Appeal to review a decision made by a single Judge pursuant to the powers conferred upon him under s 36(1) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (SCJA). We heard the motion on 30 April 2003 and allowed it. We now give our reasons as the issue involved relates to an aspect of civil procedure of some practical importance.

Background

2 The applicants in the motion are the four appellants in Civil Appeal No. 100/2002. The first appellant (Roberto) is a Singapore incorporated company engaged in the business of supplying building materials to the construction industry. The second, third and fourth appellants are the directors of Roberto.

3 There are two respondents in the civil appeal. The first is a bank, the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd (OCBC), and the second, Mr Don Ho Mun-Tuke, a public accountant, who was appointed receiver and manager of Roberto pursuant to rights conferred upon OCBC under a deed of debenture entered into between Roberto and OCBC. The second to fourth appellants stood as guarantors in relation to the credit facilities granted by OCBC to Roberto.

4 The appointment of Mr Don Ho as receiver and manager was made by OCBC on 22 April 2000. At that point in time, Roberto owed OCBC a sum of about $32.9 million. After his appointment as receiver and manager, attempts were made by him to sell a certain real property belonging to Roberto. Some attempts were also made to rent out the property on short term leases. But, up to the time of the institution of the action by Roberto and the guarantors against OCBC and Mr Don Ho for alleged breaches of their duties, the property had not yet been sold. Except for a brief period, 13 November 2000 to 12 February 2001, when the 6th floor was rented out, no rental income from the building was obtained.

5 The trial of the action stretched over some nine days in August/September 2002. At its conclusion Roberto’s and the guarantors’ claims against OCBC and Mr Don Ho were dismissed with costs. On 26 September 2002 the appellants filed their Notice of Appeal, having furnished the standard sum as security for costs. The trial judge rendered his Grounds of Decision on 9 December 2002. The appellants filed their Case in the appeal on 10 February 2003. The respondents filed their Cases on 10 March 2003. In the meantime, OCBC’s costs for the trial were taxed. Despite request, the taxed costs were not paid.

6 In March 2003, by way of two motions (Nos. 18/2003 and 25/2003) the respondents asked for the appeal to be stayed until the taxed costs of the first respondent in relation to the action below have been paid and also for further security for costs of the appeal. The applications came before Choo Han Teck J who, pursuant to s 36(1) of the SCJA, ordered the appellants to furnish to OCBC, by 17 April 2003, further security for costs of the appeal in the sum of $40,000 by way of a banker’s guarantee. He also ordered that the unpaid taxed costs of the trial below due to OCBC in the sum of $287,849, plus disbursements, be paid by the same date, failing which the appeal against both the respondents would be stayed and OCBC would be entitled to make a further application to dismiss the appeal. In respect of the second respondent, Mr Don Ho, the judge ordered that the appellants furnish him $10,000 as additional security. The additional security for both...

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    ...of ‘need’. 82 In the (also) Singapore Court of Appeal decision of Roberto Building Material Pte Ltd v Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd [2003] 2 SLR 353, Chao Hick Tin JA, delivering the judgment of the court, referred to the above principles and also observed thus (at Accordingly, this inhe......
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3 books & journal articles
  • PRE-COMMENCEMENT DISCOVERY AND THE ODEX LITIGATION: COPYRIGHT VERSUS CONFIDENTIALITY OR IS IT PRIVACY?
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 2008, December 2008
    • 1 December 2008
    ...Swee Meng[2003] 1 SLR 657; Wee Soon Kim Anthony v Law Society of Singapore[2001] 4 SLR 25; and Roberto Building Material Pte Ltd v OCBC[2003] 2 SLR 353. 77 [2006] 4 SLR 95. 78 Note that S Menon JC, referring to the English Mitsui decision of Lightman J underscored the fact that the Norwich ......
  • Civil Procedure
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2003, December 2003
    • 1 December 2003
    ...was dismissed by the Court of Appeal (see [2004] 2 SLR 392). 6.94 In Roberto Building Material Pte Ltd v Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd[2003] 2 SLR 353, the respondents applied for an appeal to be stayed on the ground that the appellants had not paid the costs awarded to the respondents i......
  • Land Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2014, December 2014
    • 1 December 2014
    ...a clear need for it and the justice of the case so demands: citing Roberto Building Material Pte Ltd v Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd[2003]2 SLR(R) 353 at [17]. The court held that it was precluded from exercising its inherent powers to fill in a lacuna in the law that was deliberately le......

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