Sie Choon Poh trading as Image Galaxy v Amara Hotel Properties Pte Ltd

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date05 September 2003
Docket NumberSuit No 914 of 2002
Date05 September 2003

[2003] SGHC 198

High Court

Lai Kew Chai J

Suit No 914 of 2002

Sie Choon Poh (trading as Image Galaxy)
Plaintiff
and
Amara Hotel Properties Pte Ltd
Defendant

Navinder Singh (Navin & Co) for the plaintiff

Adeline Chong and Rajendran Kumarasan (Harry Elias & Partnership) for the defendants.

Marina Centre Holdings Pte Ltd v Pars Carpet Gallery Pte Ltd [1997] 2 SLR (R) 897; [1997] 3 SLR 625 (folld)

Civil Procedure–Pleadings–Failure of defendants to plead negligence and give particulars of negligence–Non-joinder of issue–Whether defendants precluded from relying on contractual defence of negligence–Landlord and Tenant–Covenants–Repair–Whether landlord exempted from breach of covenant to repair

The plaintiff was the tenant of a shop unit (“the premises”) under a lease agreement (“the agreement”) with the defendants. Under the agreement, the defendants as the landlord undertook, inter alia,to maintain all common areas in good repair. The agreement also contained an exemption of liability clause which released the landlord from any liability for “any loss damage or injury suffered” by the tenant not resulting from any gross negligence on the part of the landlord. In April 2001, waste water entered into the premises causing soiling and damage to the equipment, carpets and other assets of the plaintiff. Investigations revealed that the cause of the incident was a leak from a severely corroded pipe, which was in a state of disrepair due to lack of maintenance.

On the first day at trial the defendants admitted that they were in breach of the covenant to maintain and repair. The question arose as to whether the defendants could rely on the exemption clause in the agreement.

Held, allowing the claim:

(1) It was incumbent on the defendants to assert and prove that the breach of the covenant to maintain and repair was due to their negligence in order to bring themselves within the terms of the exemption clause. If the defendants had done that, it would have been up to the plaintiff to assert that the defendants were grossly negligent to preclude the operation of the exemption clause: at [17].

(2) Throughout the defendants' case, there was no pleading of any sort that they accepted that they were negligent but not grossly negligent, so that they could invoke the exemption clause. Consequently, there was no joinder of issue as to the defendants' negligence: at [7], [12] and [14].

(3) The defendants were not entitled to rely on the exemption clause in the agreement. Interlocutory judgment was entered in favour of the plaintiff for damages arising out of the defendants' breach of the covenant to maintain and repair: at [19].

Lai Kew Chai J

1 The plaintiff, trading as Image Galaxy, was at the material time a tenant of the defendants' shopping centre located at Amara Hotel under a lease agreement dated 28 July 1999. The shop unit was known as #03-11 (“the premises”). The plaintiff operated a printing shop business at the premises. The floor on top of the premises housed a large food court. The piping of the food court, which disposed of waste water, ran above the false ceilings of the third floor units, including the false ceiling of...

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4 cases
  • Amara Hotel Properties Pte Ltd v Sie Choon Poh (trading as Image Galaxy)
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 19 April 2004
    ...judgment of the court): 1 This matter came before us on appeal from the decision of Lai Kew Chai J given on 7 March 2003 (reported at [2003] 3 SLR 703) whereby the learned judge allowed the respondent tenant’s claim for damages arising out of the appellant landlord’s breach of covenant to r......
  • Amara Hotel Properties Pte Ltd v Sie Choon Poh (trading as Image Galaxy)
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 19 April 2004
    ...judgment of the court): 1 This matter came before us on appeal from the decision of Lai Kew Chai J given on 7 March 2003 (reported at [2003] 3 SLR 703) whereby the learned judge allowed the respondent tenant’s claim for damages arising out of the appellant landlord’s breach of covenant to r......
  • Sie Choon Poh (trading as Image Galaxy) v Amara Hotel Properties Pte Ltd (No 2)
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 15 July 2005
    ...an earlier trial, I allowed the plaintiff tenant’s claim for damages arising out of the landlord’s breach of the covenant to repair: see [2003] 3 SLR 703. The Court of Appeal allowed the landlord’s appeal, ruling that the issue of whether the defendant was negligent or not was joined, and r......
  • Sie Choon Poh (trading as Image Galaxy) v Amara Hotel Properties Pte Ltd (No 2)
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 15 July 2005
    ...an earlier trial, I allowed the plaintiff tenant’s claim for damages arising out of the landlord’s breach of the covenant to repair: see [2003] 3 SLR 703. The Court of Appeal allowed the landlord’s appeal, ruling that the issue of whether the defendant was negligent or not was joined, and r......
2 books & journal articles
  • Contract Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2003, December 2003
    • 1 December 2003
    ...clauses in the instant case). 9.43 Equally generally, the Singapore High Court decision of Sie Choon Poh v Amara Hotel Properties Pte Ltd[2003] 3 SLR 703 emphasises the importance of pleadings which are (in turn) inextricably related to the precise language of the exception clause itself (s......
  • Land Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2003, December 2003
    • 1 December 2003
    ...interest and the caveats were ordered to be removed. Leases Covenant to repair 17.7 In Sie Choon Poh v Amara Hotel Properties Pte Ltd[2003] 3 SLR 703, the issue which arose for consideration was whether the landlords could rely on the exemption of liability cl 8.1 contained in a lease agree......

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