Techmex Far East Pte Ltd v Logicraft Products Manufacturing Pte Ltd

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChao Hick Tin J
Judgment Date29 August 1997
Neutral Citation[1997] SGHC 221
Citation[1997] SGHC 221
Defendant CounselJoseph Chia (Joseph Chia & Co)
Plaintiff CounselSusan Tang (Francis Khoo & Lim)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberDistrict Court Suit No 4914 of
Date29 August 1997
Subject MatterSecond application for summary judgment,Whether first application is determined on merit,O 14 Rules of Court 1996,Factors in considering second application,Whether second application introduces new cause of action,Civil Procedure,Summary judgment,Whether second application permissible after dismissal of first application with no appeal against dismissal


An important point of procedure was raised in this appeal from a decision of a deputy registrar of the subordinate courts. It is also in a sense novel because there does not appear to be a local decision on it. The point is whether a second O 14 application may ever be made in an action after the first has been dismissed and no appeal has been brought against that decision.

2. Statement of claim

The facts as pleaded in the amended Statement of claim are as follows. In August 1995, the plaintiffs agreed to sell to an Indian company in Madras (Indian buyer) four Agfa Arcus II PC colour scanners and three Agfa Horizon Plus colour scanners for S$98,600. At about the same time the defendants also sold various goods to the same Indian buyer. It was agreed between the three parties that the plaintiffs would deliver the seven scanners to the defendants` premises at the Kallang Basin Industrial Estate for batching with the defendants` goods so that the defendants could ship them together to the Indian buyer. It was agreed between the plaintiffs and the defendants, or alternatively, it was their implied understanding that -

(i) the defendants would not release the goods to the buyer until the defendants had received payment for the goods or a form of secured payment such as a confirmed sight letter of credit; and

(ii) the defendants would pay the plaintiffs on receipt of payment from the buyers.

3.On 15 August 1995 the seven scanners were delivered by the plaintiffs to the defendants` premises and were shipped to India. However, the plaintiffs have not received payment. The plaintiffs claim payment from the defendants on two bases: (i). breach of agreement or an implied term;

(ii). negligence, by releasing the scanners to the Indian buyer without obtaining payment or security for the payment.

4. Defence

In their defence the defendants, while admitting that the plaintiffs requested that the scanners be shipped with the defendants` goods, deny any assumption of duty on their part to collect payment or obtain security on behalf of the plaintiffs. The defendants say that they did not have any knowledge of the payment arrangement made between the plaintiffs and the Indian buyer. By a letter of indemnity dated 14 August 1995 the plaintiffs even gave an undertaking to the defendants that the latter were not to be held responsible for payment should the buyer default in the payment to the plaintiffs. The defendants deny that they were negligent or in breach of any duty of care to the plaintiffs. The defendants deny receiving any payment from the Indian buyer for the plaintiffs` goods.

5. Order 14 applications

The plaintiffs` first application for summary judgment came before the district judge on 18 February 1997 who dismissed it. No appeal was lodged against that decision.

6.On 10 April 1997, the plaintiffs obtained leave of court to further amend the amended statement of claim to allege that the Indian buyer had informed the plaintiffs that on 1 September 1995 they had paid the defendants, inter alia, the sum of $98,000 in respect of the plaintiffs` goods and thus the plaintiffs are claiming that sum against the defendants, being money had and received by the defendants to the use of the plaintiffs.

7.Following the filing of the re-amended statement of claim the plaintiffs applied again for summary judgment. The deputy registrar refused the application apparently on the ground that a second application was not permissible. From the notes recorded that seemed to be the main point. The plaintiffs appealed to the High Court and it came before me.

8. Is a second application permissible?

To consider this question, it is necessary to see what O 14 r 1 provides. It reads:

Where a statement of claim has been served on a defendant and that defendant has entered an appearance in the action, the plaintiff may, on the ground that that defendant has no defence to a claim included in the writ, or to a particular part of such a claim, or has no defence to such a claim or part except as to the amount of any damages claimed, apply to the Court for judgment against the defendant.

9.It is clear that the rule does not expressly state whether a second or further application may or may not be made though it allows for an application for part of a claim.

10.An early case on point would appear to be Dombey & Son v Playfair Bros [1897] 1 QB 368 where the defendants were given leave to defend because they had been sued as...

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