Shaw Sung Ching v Hassan Namazie

Judgment Date19 October 1966
Date19 October 1966
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No Y12 of 1965
CourtFederal Court (Singapore)
Shaw Sung Ching
Hassan Namazie

[1966] SGFC 15

Wee Chong Jin CJ


Tan Ah Tah FJ


J W D Ambrose J

Civil Appeal No Y12 of 1965

Federal Court

Land–Adverse possession–Right of action to recover land accrued when adverse possession taken of land–When adverse possession started–Limitation of Actions–Particular causes of action–Lands–Burden of proof in actions for recovery of land–Whether claim to possession of land time-barred–Sections 9, 15 and 18 Limitation Ordinance 1959 (No 57 of 1959)

There were two lots of land (“the first lot” and “the second lot” respectively). In September 1945, a house on the first lot was let to the defendant/appellant. Since then, the defendant was in possession of the first lot and a certain portion of the second lot (“the disputed portion”). In September 1960, the first lot was sold to one Mohamed bin Abdul Aziz (“MAA”) who then sold it in October 1962 to Vermont Realty Ltd. The defendant was the managing director of Vermont Realty Ltd. In September 1962, the second lot was sold to the plaintiff/respondent.

The plaintiff sought to recover the disputed portion which was occupied by the defendant, pleading that the defendant was in wrongful possession of it. In effect, the defendant's argument was that he was in possession of the disputed portion since 1945 and that the plaintiff's right of action to recover the disputed portion accrued when adverse possession was taken of the land. He argued that the plaintiff's claim was thus time-barred and his right and title to the land were extinguished. The judge below ruled in favour of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed against his decision.

Held, dismissing the appeal:

(1) The onus was on the plaintiff to prove that his right of action to recover possession of the land arose within the prescribed limitation period of 12 years. In doing so, he could take advantage of the evidence adduced by him as well as any fact or circumstance in his favour appearing in the evidence adduced by the other party: at [14].

(2) The plaintiff had duly discharged the onus on him. Possession was not adverse unless it was inconsistent with the title of the true owner. The earliest date on which the defendant's possession could be said to have been adverse to the plaintiff's predecessors in title was when the first lot was sold to MAA in September 1960. The right of action to recover the disputed portion accrued at the date of the sale, which was within 12 years preceding the commencement of the action brought by the plaintiff: at [18].

Limitation Ordinance (Indian Act No 6 of 1896) of SingaporeArt 111

Limitation Ordinance 1959 (No 57 of 1959)ss 9, 15, 18 (consd);ss 2 (4),10 (1), 12

Limitation Act1908 (India)Art 142

Limitation Act 1939 (c 21) (UK)ss 4 (3), 16

K S Chung (K S Chung) for the appellant

L A J Smith (L A J Smith) for the respondent.

J W D Ambrose J

(delivering the judgment of the court):

1 This was an appeal by the defendant from a judgment of F A Chua J declaring that the plaintiff is entitled to possession of a parcel of land occupied by the defendant and ordering the defendant to deliver up possession to the plaintiff. It was dismissed with costs on the day of the hearing with an intimation that reasons for the dismissal would be given in due course. I now proceed to give my reasons.

2 The plaintiff bought a piece of land in September 1962, and commenced the action in the High Court on 2 October 1963 to recover a certain part of it which was occupied by the...

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