Singapore Investments (Pte) Ltd v Golden Asia International (Singapore) Pte Ltd

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChan Seng Onn J
Judgment Date29 June 2009
Neutral Citation[2009] SGHC 149
Citation[2009] SGHC 149
Defendant CounselHee Theng Fong and Noelle Seet (KhattarWong)
Plaintiff CounselA P Thirumurthy (Murthy & Co)
Published date01 July 2009
Docket NumberSuit No 617 of 2008 (Registrar's Appeal No 90 of 2009)
Date29 June 2009
Subject MatterStrong compelling grounds needed before court exercises discretion to vacate chamber hearing dates,Vacation of chamber hearing dates,Civil Procedure,Strict judicial policy

29 June 2009

Chan Seng Onn J:


1 This was an appeal from the decision of Assistant Registrar, Saqib Alam (“AR”), who found that the defence that there was no binding agreement with the plaintiff was a sham. The AR granted summary judgment to enforce the lease agreement entered into between the defendant and the plaintiff, the owners of the property. This appeal brought by the defendant had been specially fixed for a half day hearing before me on 18 May 2009. Counsel for the defendant, Mr A P Thirumurthy, asked for an adjournment of the hearing in order to file a new affidavit. He informed me that he took over the matter some 4 weeks ago. The notice of change of solicitors was filed on 14 April 2009. Mr Thirumurthy obtained all the papers and files from the former solicitors the next day on 15 April 2009.

2 Mr Hee Theng Fong, counsel for the plaintiff, objected to the adjournment. Mr Hee said that there were already voluminous affidavits filed, amounting to a total of four affidavits from both sides. Mr Hee submitted that the application for adjournment to file a further affidavit was a delay tactic. I then asked Mr Thirumurthy what exactly were the new facts that required another affidavit to be filed. After some probing, Mr Thirumurthy admitted to me that there were no new facts. He said he was not ready to argue the matter. I then asked him why he misinformed me that he wanted an adjournment to file a further affidavit when the true reason was that he was simply not ready with his legal arguments. I told Mr Thirumurthy that this bordered on dishonesty and amounted to conduct unbecoming of counsel. Mr Thirumurthy thereafter apologised to the court.

3 I then considered two options: grant the adjournment as requested or dismiss the appeal without hearing arguments on the merits from both counsel. In exercising my discretion on whether or not to grant the adjournment, I took into consideration the following matters, some of which were based on what Mr Hee had surfaced to the court:

(a) An earlier hearing for this appeal had been fixed on 13 April 2009, but it was vacated. The Registry directed the parties as early as 9 April 2009 to write in with their available dates. The plaintiff wrote in twice. However there was no response from the defendant. Accordingly, a pre-trial conference had to be fixed on 30 April 2009, whereupon Mr Hee, mentioning also on behalf of Mr Thirumurthy, indicated to the court that the date 18 May 2009 was suitable to both counsel for fixing the hearing of the appeal. Thus, the special hearing date was fixed on 18 May 2009 at the request of both counsel. In my view, Mr Thirumurthy had ample time to prepare his legal arguments, if he wanted to. He had more than a month, since the time he took over as counsel to prepare for this hearing.

(b) The merits had been adjudicated once before, albeit before the AR, who had given succinct and cogent reasons for granting summary judgment as could be seen in the certified transcript of the AR’s hearing dated 11 March 2009. In that sense, it was not as if the defendant did not even have...

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1 cases
  • ULB v ULC
    • Singapore
    • Family Court (Singapore)
    • 26 March 2018
    ...Yue Chew [2007] 3 SLR(R) 673 and by the High Court in Singapore Investments (Pte) Ltd v Golden Asia International (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2009] SGHC 149. I ordered that the Defendant was to pay to the Plaintiff costs fixed at $700, and I also ordered that the Defendant was not permitted to cla......

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