Teo Chee Kwang v Yi Kai Development Pte Ltd

JudgeJames Leong Kiu Yiu
Judgment Date13 April 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] SGDC 82
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
Hearing Date14 March 2016,11 February 2016
Docket NumberSuit No. 428 of 2011, Registrar’s Appeal No. 130 of 2015, HC/RAS No. 11 of 2016
Plaintiff CounselMs Carolyn Tan [M/s TAN & AU LLP]
Defendant CounselMs Hong Jia (with Trainee Mr Lim Yang Yu) [M/s WONGPARTNERSHIP LLP]
Subject MatterCivil Procedure,Pleadings,Striking Out
Published date19 April 2016
District Judge James Leong Kiu Yiu: Introduction

This was the defendants’ appeal against part of the decision of the Learned Deputy Registrar in Summons 3597/2015 taken out by the defendants to strike out the plaintiff’s entire action under O 18 r 18 of the Rules of Court. Alternatively, the defendants asked that paragraph 9 of the Statement of Claim and paragraph 8(a) of the Further and Better Particulars Served Pursuant to Letter of Request dated 18 April 2011 be struck out. The Deputy Registrar dismissed the application to strike out the action and allowed the Further and Better Particulars to stand, while striking out paragraph 9 of the Statement of Claim relating to the plaintiff’s claim for fraudulent misrepresentation. The plaintiff did not appeal against the decision of the Deputy Registrar striking out the fraudulent misrepresentation aspect of his claim. After hearing arguments and an exchange of written submissions, I allowed the Registrar’s Appeal brought by the defendants and struck out the remainder of the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff has now appealed against my decision to the High Court

Background Facts

The plaintiff is the purchaser of a housing unit within the Centurion Residences, a cluster housing development along Puay Hee Avenue developed by the defendants. The plaintiff and the defendants entered into a Sale and Purchase Agreement dated 18 July 2007 for the price of $ 1,890,000.00. Construction of Centurion Residences was completed and the temporary occupation permit issued in or around March 2010. In December 2010, the plaintiff contracted to sell his unit to two sub-purchasers for the sum of $ 2,200,000.00. The plaintiff’s solicitors wrote vide letter dated 3 December 2011 to the defendants’ solicitors requesting for the defendant’s consent to the sub-sale.

By a letter dated 7 January 2011, the solicitors for the defendants replied that their clients had no objections to entering into a fresh Sale and Purchase Agreement subject to various terms and conditions, inter alia, that the existing Sale and Purchase Agreement be returned for cancellation and that the plaintiff furnish a Letter of Authority in a specified form confirming that he shall henceforth have no claim or interest whatsoever in the property. On 19 January 2011, the plaintiff accepted the defendants’ terms and conditions and furnished a Letter of Authority dated 8 February 2011 confirming that henceforth he shall have no claim or interest in the property. The plaintiff and the sub-purchasers also entered into a Deed of Assignment dated 8 February 2011 assigning to the sub-purchasers at clause 1 (a) all right title interest benefits advantages permits licences and remedies which the Assignor has in under or arising out of the said Agreement.

Immediately prior to this, on 7 February 2011, the plaintiff commenced the current writ action against the defendants. In essence, the claim contended that the construction of the property has deviated from the Original Sale and Purchase Agreement and that there were defects in the unit. Subsequently, it was added by way of amendments to the pleadings that false representations were made to the plaintiff that induced him to enter into the Original Sale and Purchase Agreement.

By a letter dated 9 February 2011, the solicitors for the plaintiff gave notice to the solicitors for the defendants that pursuant to the Deed of Assignment, the plaintiff has assigned to the sub-purchasers all the plaintiff’s rights to the stakeholding money paid to the Singapore Academy of Law under the Original Sale and Purchase Agreement and the full benefits and remedies granted therein. Relying on the documentation including the Letter of Authority and Deed of Assignment, and in accordance with the Housing Developers Rules, the defendants cancelled the Original Sale and Purchase Agreement and entered into a fresh Sale and Purchase Agreement with the sub-purchasers dated 9 February 2011. More than a year later, the sub-purchasers signed a document dated 10 April 2012 stating for the avoidance of doubt that the Deed of Assignment was for the purpose of transferring title and interest in the property and that the present action filed on 7 April 2011 was outside the scope of the sub-sale.

Submissions of Defendants

The primary basis of the defendants’ application to strike out is that the plaintiff has no legal basis or locus standi to maintain the action in light of the sub-sale. Counsel for the defendants contended that the sub-sale amounts to a novation and the plaintiff had either waived all his rights under the Original Sale and Purchase Agreement or transferred them to the sub-purchasers by virtue of the various conveyancing documents.

Counsel for the defendants contended that the rights that were transferred pursuant to...

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