Tan Chai Heng v Yeo Seng Choon

JudgeChoor Singh J
Judgment Date30 September 1980
Neutral Citation[1980] SGHC 25
Date30 September 1980
Subject MatterApplication for extension of time for filing,Civil Procedure,Gross negligence on part of solicitor,Cause papers misplaced by solicitor,Appeals,Notice
Docket NumberMotion in Originating Summons No 239
Published date19 September 2003
Defendant CounselPeter Tio Pee Tat (Cheo & Tio)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Plaintiff CounselVenu Gopal (RS Balan & Co)

This originating summons was heard before the Honourable the Chief Justice on 18 July 1980 when it was dismissed with costs. The last day for filing the notice of appeal was 18 August 1980. No notice of appeal was filed by that date.

On 29 August 1980 an application was made before me for an extension of the time prescribed for the filing of the notice of appeal.
The reason for the failure to file the notice of appeal in time is stated in the affidavit of the appellant`s solicitor filed in support of the application, as follows:

... The notice of appeal was prepared on 18 July 1980. However the cause paper file pertaining to this matter was misplaced in my office library which was then undergoing renovations. Hence the said notice of appeal was not filed in court. It was only on 20 August 1980 in the afternoon after an exhaustive search that I discovered the file.

Upon an inspection of the file, I noticed that the notice of appeal was not filed in court.
I immediately instructed my clerk to file the same, but the same was rejected by the registry of this honourable court as the last day for filing the notice of appeal expired on 18 August 1980.

In my view the facts disclosed in the affidavit indicate that neither the solicitor nor his clerk used sufficient diligence to ensure the appeal being brought in time.

It was the duty of the solicitor for the applicant to exercise reasonable diligence to ensure that the notice of appeal was filed within the time prescribed for bringing the appeal even though the file was mislaid.
If the file was mislaid, all that the solicitor had to do was to go to the registry of the High Court, copy the heading of the case, prepare a notice of appeal and have it filed in the Registry. This was quite a simple thing to do, but no effort at all was made to do it. Instead, time was allowed to run and over a month passed before the file was found and then an attempt was made to file the notice of appeal.

There are numerous reported decisions, both here and in England dealing with the point in issue in this case.
The cases show that the court has a discretion in the matter which must be exercised judicially after considering all the circumstances of the case. They also show that for an application to extend time to succeed there must be circumstances which warrant the exercise of the court`s discretion in favour of the applicant. There is also a long line of cases which show further that a mistake or oversight on...

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    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 23 Junio 1998
    ...WLR 1270 (folld) Smith v Secretary of State for the Environment (The Times, 6 July 1987, CA) (distd) Tan Chai Heng v Yeo Seng Choon [1979-1980] SLR (R) 658; [1980-1981] SLR 381 (distd) Thamboo Ratnam v Thamboo Cumarasamy and Cumarasamy Ariamany d/o Kumarasa [1965] 1 WLR 8 (distd) Visha Apur......
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    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 13 Marzo 2000
    ... ... , by 22 December 1999.The solicitor in charge of the appeal (Teo Chee Seng) filed an affidavit on 10 January 2000 explaining the default. He stated ... Tat v Ho Gee Seng & Ors [1974] 1 MLJ 31 and [1975] 2 MLJ 149; Tan Chai Heng v Yeo Seng Choon SLR 381 ; Re Coles and Ravenshear [1907] 1 KB 1; ... ...
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    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
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    ... Judgment: ... LAI KEW CHAI J ... (delivering the grounds of judgment of the court): Introduction ... : Ratnam v Cumarasamy & Anor [1965] 1 MLJ 228 , Tan Chai Heng v Yeo Seng Choon [1981] 1 MLJ 271 and Pearson v Chen Chien Wen ... ...
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    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 7 Diciembre 2005
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