Seino Merchants Singapore Pte Ltd v Porcupine Pte Ltd

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeG P Selvam J
Judgment Date31 August 1999
Neutral Citation[1999] SGHC 227
Citation[1999] SGHC 227
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberSmall Claims Appeal No 8 of 1999
Plaintiff CounselRoslina Baba and Lam Wei Yaw (Ramdas & Wong)
Defendant CounselMichael Lai (Colin Ng & Partners)
Date31 August 1999
Subject MatterWhether appellants negligent or in breach of their duty as bailees,Liability of bailee for damage to goods in his custody,Appeal only on questions of law,Appeals,Civil Procedure,Bailees,Appeal from Small Claims Tribunal,Bailment,Standard of bailee's duty,Whether inherent vice or deterioration of quality amounts to loss or damage in law,s 38(1)(a) Small Claims Tribunal Act (Cap 308, 1998 Ed)

: This is a small claims appeal from the Small Claims Tribunal.

The appellants, Seino Merchants Singapore Pte ltd, carry on business as freight forwarders. They lodged a small claim for the sum of $289.20 in respect of delivery charges. They delivered a consignment of Australian wine which was imported by the respondents, Porcupine Pte Ltd. The consignment comprised 72 bottles in seven boxes. The respondents lodged a counterclaim for $4,831.80. The tribunal awarded the appellants` claim as well as the respondents` counterclaim. The amount awarded on the counterclaim was $3,882.90. The appeal was made only in respect of the award on the counterclaim. It arose in these circumstances.

The appellants assumed the responsibility of attending to the clearance of the goods from the airport. It was common ground that they were not appointed by the respondents to perform that function, as there was no contract between the parties as regards the clearance and handling the consignment. For the purpose of clearance the appellants needed an authentic invoice. The respondents furnished them with an invoice but it was not acceptable to the authorities. So they had to obtain an authentic copy from Australia, the country of origin of the wine. In the meantime, due to no fault of the appellants, the wine remained in their possession for ten days. During those ten days it was not kept in cold storage but left standing in an ambient temperature, that is between 28 C and 30 C. The respondents` complaint was that the wine was warm. They said that during the ten days it ought to have been left in a cold room. So, the respondents alleged the wine was damaged. Hence the counterclaim.

The respondents called an expert on wine to expound their case. The opinion of the expert was that wine kept at normal (non-aircon) temperatures would become very `warmed up`, almost equivalent to `cooked` wine. In a short spell of two to three weeks the wine would be oxidized. Oxidization meant that the wine would dry up, air would go in and the wine would evaporate completely and be `spoilt`, in layman`s term. Because of differences in the climatic conditions, the wine would become imbalanced and would not be ideal for consumption. At room temperature, the wine would react. When drunk within two to three days wine would pick up more alcohol than fruits. Within two to three weeks, the wine would be unconsumable. After ten days the wine would go bad.

In the grounds of decision the Tribunal stated that...

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1 cases
  • Tai Seng Glass Sdn. Bhd. v Jasa Kita Warehousing Service Sdn. Bhd., 11-06-2010
    • Malaysia
    • Court of Appeal (Malaysia)
    • 11 June 2010
    ...Juahir bin Sadikon v Perbadanan Kemajuan Ekonomi Negeri Johor [1996] 3 MLJ 627 7. Seino Merchants Singapore Pte Ltd v Porcupine Pte Ltd [2000] 1 SLR 99 8. Ramachandran a/l Mayandy v Abdul Rahman bin Ambok Laongan and another [1997] 4 MLJ 237 9. Yap Nyo Nyok v Bath Pharmacy Sdn Bhd [1993] 2 ......

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