Tan Chiang Brother's Marble (S) Pte Ltd v Permasteelisa Pacific Holdings Ltd

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
Judgment Date04 April 2002
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 8 of 2001
Date04 April 2002

[2002] SGCA 21

Court of Appeal

Chao Hick Tin JA

and

Tan Lee Meng J

Civil Appeal No 8 of 2001 (Notice of Motion No 8 of 2002)

Tan Chiang Brother's Marble (S) Pte Ltd
Plaintiff
and
Permasteelisa Pacific Holdings Ltd
Defendant

Ng Yuen (Ng & Koh) for the applicant/appellant

Neo Kim Cheng Monica (Chan Tan LLC) for the respondent.

Boyd v Bischoffsheim [1895] 1 Ch 1 (folld)

Chan Kee Beng v Ramasamy Naidu [1939] MLJ 113 (folld)

Dreesman v Harris (1854) 9 Exch 485; 156 ER 207 (folld)

Mason v Burningham [1949] 2 KB 545 (folld)

Mayer v Burgess (1855) 4 El & Bl 655; 119 ER 241 (folld)

Nomura Regionalisation Venture Fund Ltd v Ethical Investments Ltd [2000] 2 SLR (R) 926; [2000] 4 SLR 46 (refd)

Pearson Judith Rosemary v Chen Chien Wen Edwin [1991] 2 SLR (R) 260; [1991] SLR 212 (folld)

Spandeck Engineering (S) Pte Ltd v Yong Qiang Construction [1999] 3 SLR (R) 338; [1999] 4 SLR 401 (refd)

Twin Enterprises Pte Ltd v Lim Heng Wah Peter [2000] SGHC 288 (refd)

Yai Yen Hon v Teng Ah Kok & Sim Huat Sdn Bhd [1997] 1 MLJ 136 (folld)

Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 1997 Rev Ed) O 57 r 4

Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1999 Rev Ed) s 34 (2) (a) (consd);ss 36 (1), 36 (3)

Civil Procedure–Appeals–Leave–Claim at trial exceeding $250,000–Subject matter of appeal to Court of Appeal not exceeding $250,000–Bona fide claim–Whether need for leave to file appeal–Section 34 (2) (a)Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1999 Rev Ed)–Civil Procedure–Appeals–Notice–Notice of appeal served out of time–Whether extension of time for service should be granted–Factors to consider–Courts and Jurisdiction–Jurisdiction–Interlocutory–Single judge of Court of Appeal striking out notice of appeal on ground that leave required and not obtained–Whether single judge has jurisdiction to strike out appeal–Words and Phrases–“At the trial”–Section 34 (2) (a)Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1999 Rev Ed)

PPH engaged Tan Chiang as subcontractors for three projects. Tan Chiang instituted Suit No 14/2001 against PPH for the balance of payments due under the three projects, and its claim at the trial exceeded $250,000. After the trial judge delivered her judgment, Tan Chiang filed its notice of appeal against part of the judgment, having already informed PPH of its intention to appeal. However, the notice was not served on PPH within the prescribed time.

Subsequently, PPH filed a motion (No 3/2002) to set aside the notice of appeal on two broad grounds: (a) leave to appeal should have been obtained as the subject matter of the appeal was less than $250,000; and (b) the notice of appeal was not served on PPH within the prescribed time. The motion came before S Rajendran J, sitting as a single judge of the Court of Appeal under s 36 (1) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1999 Rev Ed) (“SCJA”). Though he was inclined to grant an extension of time for service, he nevertheless struck out the notice of appeal on the ground that it was necessary for Tan Chiang to first obtain leave of court because the value of the subject matter of the appeal was less than $250,000.

Tan Chiang filed this motion (No 8/2002) essentially to ask the court to review and set aside the ruling made by Rajendran J. The substantive issue concerned the interpretation of s 34 (2) (a) of the SCJA, which provided that where “the amount or value of the subject matter at the trial is $250,000 or less” no appeal would be brought to the Court of Appeal except with the leave of the Court of Appeal or a judge.

Held, allowing the application:

(1) A single judge had no jurisdiction under s 36 (1) of the SCJA to strike out an appeal. The orders to be made under the first two categories in s 36 (1), ie any incidental direction and any interim order to prevent prejudice, were premised on the existence of an appeal and the need for certain interim orders or directions to safeguard the interest of the parties pending the disposal of the appeal. An application to strike out an appeal could not be considered to be an order of that interlocutory nature: at [9].

(2) The words “at the trial” in s 34 (2) (a) of the SCJA should not be read to mean “at the appeal”. The determining factor was not the amount or the value of the subject matter of the appeal, but the amount or value of the subject matter of the civil suit. The right to appeal depended on the value of the claim at the trial and not the award given by the trial judge. It could be different if bad faith could be shown in the formulation of the claim. Additionally, a party who unreasonably inflated his claim might be penalised when the question of costs arose for consideration: at [20], [21], [22] and [24].

(3) The quantum of the claim at the trial was well in excess of $250,000. There was no suggestion that this was not a bona fide claim. Accordingly, no leave of court needed to be obtained by Tan Chiang to file the appeal (CA No 8/2001): at [25].

(4) The factors which the court should take into account in exercising its discretion whether to extend time to enable a party to file a notice of appeal were (a) the length of the delay; (b) the reasons for the delay; (c) the chances of the appeal succeeding if time was extended; and (d) the degree of prejudice to the would-be respondent if the application was granted: at [27].

(5) Tan Chiang had explained the delay, caused in part by the change in the system of filing following the expansion of the electronic filing system to civil appeals. The appeal was not without merits. As the delay was only some nine days and PPH was notified that an appeal was being filed, there was no prejudice. In the circumstances, an extension of time for service ought to be given: at [29] and [30].

Chao Hick Tin JA

...

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16 cases
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    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 7 December 2005
    ...[1979-1980] SLR (R) 658; [1980-1981] SLR 381 (folld) Tan Chiang Brother's Marble (S) Pte Ltd v Permasteelisa Pacific Holdings Ltd [2002] 1 SLR (R) 633; [2002] 2 SLR 225 (folld) Thamboo Ratnam v Thamboo Cumarasamy and Cumarasamy Ariamany d/o Kumarasa [1965] 1 WLR 8 (folld) Thrasyvoulou v Sec......
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    ...amount or value of the subject-matter at the trial”. In Tan Chiang Brother’s Marble (S) Pte Ltd v Permasteelisa Pacific Holdings Ltd [2002] 2 SLR 225 (“Tan Chiang Brother’s Marble”), this court interpreted the corresponding phrase in s 34(2)(a) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 32......
  • Hua Sheng Tao v Welltech Construction Pte Ltd and Another and Another Application
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
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    ...and is inconsistent with the Court of Appeal's decision in Tan Chiang Brother's Marble (S) Pte Ltd v Permasteelisa Pacific Holdings Ltd [2002] 2 SLR 225. Furthermore, on appeal, the entire dispute may have to be re-examined and the amount in dispute that is being re-examined must obviously ......
  • Roberto Building Material Pte Ltd and Others v Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd and Another
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 16 May 2003
    ...this regard, they relied upon the decision of this Court in Tan Chiang Brothers Marble (S) Pte Ltd v Permasteelisa Pacific Holdings Ltd [2002] 2 SLR 225 where the court stated, in relation to the first two limbs of s 36(1), that they “… are premised on the existence of an appeal and the nee......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • Contract Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2002, December 2002
    • 1 December 2002
    ...1 SLR 443 (also referred to supra, with regard to shipping); Tan Chiang Brother”s Marble (S) Pte Ltd v Permasteelisa Pacific Holdings Ltd[2002] 2 SLR 225; Lam Soon Oil and Soap Manufacturing Sdn Bhd v Whang Tar Choung[2002] 2 SLR 395; PSA Corp Ltd v Korea Exchange Bank[2002] 3 SLR 37 (also ......
  • Civil Procedure
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2003, December 2003
    • 1 December 2003
    ...to hear the matter de novo. 6.86 Following its decision in Tan Chiang Brother”s Marble (S) Pte Ltd v Permasteelisa Pacific Holdings Ltd[2002] 2 SLR 225, the court held that the amount of the subject matter at trial was $1.5m, the plaintiff”s original claim. Thus, leave was not required. 6.8......
  • Civil Procedure
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2002, December 2002
    • 1 December 2002
    ...minimum in s 21 of the SCJA. 6.75 The second case was Tan Chiang Brother”s Marble (S) Pte Ltd v Permasteelisa Pacific Holdings Ltd[2002] 2 SLR 225. Here the Court of Appeal dealt with s 34(2)(a) of the SCJA which provides that where the “amount or value of the subject matter at the trial is......

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