Tan Poh Soon v Phua Sin Yin

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeG P Selvam J
Judgment Date30 June 1995
Neutral Citation[1995] SGHC 151
Citation[1995] SGHC 151
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 817 of 1992
Date30 June 1995
Defendant CounselGeraldine Lim (Allen & Gledhill)
Plaintiff CounselTan Hee Liang (Tan See Swan & Co)
Publication Date19 September 2003
SubjectMatrimonial assets,Family Law,Interest in matrimonial property,HDB flat,Whether claim defeated by s 51 of the Housing and Development Board Act,Division,s 56 Women's Charter (Cap 353),s 51 Housing and Development Board Act (Cap 129),Relevant considerations in deciding extent of interest under s 56 of the Women's Charter
Introduction - the application

At the time this originating summons was taken out the plaintiff was the wife of the defendant. They were married in Singapore in September 1963 and they both were Singapore citizens.

Before this marriage the plaintiff had another marriage and two children. She parted from the first husband by `Chinese customary divorce`. The defendant also had been married before and was a widower with six children by his previous marriage. At the time of the second marriage his six children by his first marriage were aged between three and 16. The parties had one child by their marriage - a son born in 1964. By the time the matter came before me, therefore, all the children had come of age - the youngest was more than 30 years old.

From the time of the second marriage until 1966 the defendant worked for the Royal Air Force, Seletar. After the British pulled out, finding a satisfactory job in Singapore was difficult for the defendant. So he went to the Netherlands in 1969 and has lived there since then.

Before he left for the Netherlands the defendant purchased in his sole name a flat from the Housing & Development Board. The purchase price was $7,800 of which the defendant paid $4,500 from his own resources and took a loan for the balance. Long before this originating summons was filed the loan had been redeemed.

In 1989 or 1990 the defendant instituted divorce proceedings against the plaintiff in the Netherlands. A feeling of insecurity about her future led to the filing of this originating summons seeking the following principal reliefs:

(1) A declaration that the plaintiff was entitled to a share of the matrimonial property known as Apt Blk 1 Lor 7 Toa Payoh #11-53 Singapore 1231, in such proportion as the court deems fit. She sought the necessary ancillary orders to give effect to the declaration she sought.

(2) A sum of $200 per month as maintenance for the plaintiff.



By the time the originating summons was heard by me the Dutch court had granted a divorce against the plaintiff. The plaintiff sought no ancillary reliefs in the Dutch divorce proceedings. That divorce, in my view, had very little effect in my consideration of the issues before me. In the event, I made the following orders:

(a) the defendant is to transfer the property known as Apt Blk 1, Lor 7 #11-53 Toa Payoh, Singapore 1231 to the plaintiff upon the plaintiff paying to the defendant 50% of the value of the said property; which value is to be agreed or determined by the court;

(b) there be no order made on the plaintiff`s application for maintenance;

(c) there be no order as to costs on this proceedings; and

(d) Liberty to parties to apply.



Both parties are unhappy with my decision. The plaintiff has appealed against my refusal to award maintenance and costs in her favour. The defendant has appealed against the order directing him to transfer his interest in the flat.

Maintenance

I shall first give my reasons for my decision on the question of maintenance. At the time of my decision the defendant was 72 years old (born in 1923). Though a citizen of Singapore he had for many years been unemployed and living on welfare benefits provided by the Dutch...

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4 cases
  • Cheong Yoke Kuen and Others v Cheong Kwok Kiong
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 13 April 1999
    ...trust from arising. 16.In support, counsel for the respondent relies on the decision of the High Court in Tan Poh Soon v Phua Sin Yin [1995] 3 SLR 368 . That case concerned a dispute between a husband and wife who were Singapore citizens and were married in Singapore. The husband had migrat......
  • Hartinah bte Sahlan v Mohamed Juma`at bin Dollah and another action
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 April 1998
    ...in their joint names was a factor I was entitled to take into account, citing the decision of GP Selvam J in Tan Poh Soon v Phua Sin Yin [1995] 3 SLR 368 , I think on the evidence that it is clear she can have no interest in the flat. Tan Poh Soon involved a quite different set of circumsta......
  • Sitiawah Bee bte Kader v Rosiyah bte Abdullah
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 12 October 1999
    ...Kwok Kiong [1999] 1 SLR (R) 1126; [1999] 2 SLR 476 (distd) Lloyds Bank plc v Rosset [1991] 1 AC 107 (refd) Tan Poh Soon v Phua Sin Yin [1995] 2 SLR (R) 583; [1995] 3 SLR 368 (refd) Housing and Development Act (Cap 129, 1985 Rev Ed) s 51 (4) (consd);ss 47, 51 (5) Land Titles Act (Cap 157, 19......
  • Cheong Yoke Kuen and Others v Cheong Kwok Kiong
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 13 April 1999
    ...trust from arising. 16.In support, counsel for the respondent relies on the decision of the High Court in Tan Poh Soon v Phua Sin Yin [1995] 3 SLR 368 . That case concerned a dispute between a husband and wife who were Singapore citizens and were married in Singapore. The husband had migrat......
3 books & journal articles
  • Case Note
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 2015, December 2015
    • 1 December 2015
    ...certainty and saves judicial time. 102Tan Thiam Loke v Woon Swee Kheng Christina[1991] 2 SLR(R) 595 and Tan Poh Soon v Phua Sin Yin[1995] 2 SLR(R) 583 both applied the common intention constructive trust approach in ascertaining the beneficial interest of the wife. See also Tang Hang Wu, “H......
  • Equity and Trust
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2002, December 2002
    • 1 December 2002
    ...trust, such a trust can be avoided by s 51(4) Housing and Development Act (Cap 129, 1997 Ed) (see Tan Poh Soon v Phua Sin Yin[1995] 3 SLR 368, Cheong Yoke Kuen v Cheong Kwok Kiong[1999] 2 SLR 476, Sitiawah Bee bte Kader v Rosiyah bte Abdullah[2000] 1 SLR 612; Crown, “Trusts of HDB Flats”[19......
  • HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT BOARD FLATS, TRUST AND OTHER EQUITABLE DOCTRINES
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 2012, December 2012
    • 1 December 2012
    ...Law and Policy 123. 57 See C Tan, “‘We are Registered’: Actual Processes and the Law of Marriage in Singapore”(1999) 13 IJLPF 1. 58[1995] 2 SLR(R) 583. 59[1992] 3 SLR(R) 744 at [10]. 60[1991] 1 AC 107. 61 See, for example, Walker James Edward v Hong Geok Choo[1996] SGHC 87, where the claim ......

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