Tan Huay Lim v Loke Chiew Mun and Another

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeChan Seng Onn JC
Judgment Date22 July 1998
Neutral Citation[1998] SGHC 255
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Year1998
Published date26 February 2013
Plaintiff CounselLim Wee Meng (Allen & Gledhill)
Defendant CounselK Gopalan (Raja Loo & Chandra)
Citation[1998] SGHC 255

Judgment:

GROUNDS OF DECISION

1. I heard the appeal against the Deputy Registrar’s decision dismissing the plaintiff’s application to vacate the trial dates fixed from 5 to 7 August 1998. I dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal. Dissatisfied, the plaintiff further appealed and I now give my reasons.

2. This suit was originally fixed for hearing from 22 April 1998 to 24 April 1998. Two days before the trial, the Registry informed the parties that the trial dates had been vacated and the parties were requested to attend before the Registrar on 14 May 1998 for a further pre-trial conference.

3. At the pre-trial conference, the Registrar, Mr Chiam Boon Keng, proposed 5 to 7 August 1998 as the new trial dates. The dates were unsuitable as both counsel having conduct of the matter, Mr Andre Yeap, and Mr Lim Wee Ming, were engaged in other High Court trials which overlapped with the trial dates proposed by the Registrar. The learned Registrar was informed that Mr Andre Yeap would be engaged in Suit No. 955 of 1997 from 27 July 1998 to 5 August 1998 whereas Mr Lim Wee Ming would be engaged in Admiralty in Rem No. 306 of 1996 from 3 August 1998 to 5 August 1998. Nevertheless, the Registrar proceeded to fix the trial on those dates.

4. In the affidavit filed by counsel in support of the appeal, counsel stated that it would be difficult, time consuming and costly for another solicitor to take over the matter as the case involved detailed consideration of the accounts of the business and complex accounting principles were involved. The plaintiff’s claim was against the defendants for the net asset value of an accounting and secretarial business sold by the plaintiff to the defendants. The plaintiff had indicated that he wanted Mr Andre Yeap and Mr Lim Wee Ming, both of whom had been dealing with the matter from the beginning, to attend to the trial and not other counsel.

My reasons

5. The trial dates in question were fixed nearly 3 months in advance. There was in my view ample time for another solicitor from the same firm to carefully study the file and take over conduct of the trial. There was no suggestion that there was no other counsel just as competent and capable of handling the matter or that none of the other counsel in the same firm was available on those dates. I noted that the plaintiff had engaged a fairly large firm, with presumably a fairly large litigation department. It was not a case of a sole proprietorship or a partnership firm with only two or three partners.

6. Alternatively, another solicitor could take over...

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4 cases
  • Su Sh-Hsyu v Wee Yue Chew
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 25 June 2007
    ...public interest. Court hearing days and time, being scarce and expensive resources, should not be wasted: Tan Huay Lim v Loke Chiew Mun [1998] SGHC 255 at [10]. It follows that strong compelling grounds must prevail before the court will consider the exercise of its discretion to vacate tri......
  • Su Sh-Hsyu v Wee Yue Chew
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 25 June 2007
    ...public interest. Court hearing days and time, being scarce and expensive resources, should not be wasted: Tan Huay Lim v Loke Chiew Mun [1998] SGHC 255 at [10]. It follows that strong compelling grounds must prevail before the court will consider the exercise of its discretion to vacate tri......
  • Singapore Investments (Pte) Ltd v Golden Asia International (Singapore) Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 29 June 2009
    ...public interest. Court hearing days and time, being scarce and expensive resources, should not be wasted: Tan Huay Lim v Loke Chiew Mun [1998] SGHC 255 at [10]. It follows that strong compelling grounds must prevail before the court will consider the exercise of its discretion to vacate tri......
  • TDK v TDL
    • Singapore
    • Family Court (Singapore)
    • 22 January 2015
    ...elaborated that: Court hearing days and time, being scarce and expensive resources, should not be wasted: Tan Huay Lim v Loke Chiew Mun [1998] SGHC 255 at [10]. It follows that strong compelling grounds must prevail before the court will consider the exercise of its discretion to vacate tri......

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