Law Society of Singapore v Lim Yee Kai

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChao Hick Tin JA
Judgment Date04 January 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGHC 4
Citation[2001] SGHC 4
Date04 January 2001
Plaintiff CounselM Sivakumar and Prakash P Mulani (Azman Soh Murugaiyan)
Published date19 September 2003
Defendant CounselRespondent absent
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 1358 of 1997,Originating Summons No 1114 of
Subject MatterWhether Legal Profession (Solicitors' Account) Rules contravened,Show cause action,Whether misappropriation of clients' moneys, amount to grossly improper conduct in discharge of professional duty,Failure to maintain proper clients' accounts,Grossly improper conduct in discharge of professional duties,s 83(2)(b) Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 1997 Ed),Appropriate sanction,Legal Profession

(delivering the grounds of decision of the court): In these proceedings before us, the abovenamed, Lim Yee Kai, (`the respondent`), an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court, was ordered, upon application by the Law Society of Singapore (`the Law Society`) under s 98 of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 1997 Ed) (`the Act`), to show cause why he should not be dealt with under the provisions of s 83 of the Act. No cause was shown, and at the conclusion of the hearing, we made an order that the respondent be struck off the roll of advocates and solicitors of the Supreme Court. We now give our reasons.


The respondent was admitted to the roll of advocates and solicitors on 11 April 1990. At all material times, he was practising under the name and style of YK Lim and Company (`the firm`) at 1557 Keppel Road, Block B, [num ]02-24, Cantonment Central, Singapore 089066.

One Mr Thomas Loh Chong Yong (`Mr Loh`) joined the firm with effect from 17 September 1996. The arrangement between the two of them was that Mr Loh would not be a partner of the firm, although he was designated as a `partner`, and that Mr Loh was to pay the respondent 15% of the income that he (Mr Loh) would bring to the firm through his own efforts. Under the arrangement, Mr Loh was not responsible for any of the firm`s accounts, although as a matter of convenience, he was a signatory for the purpose of operating both the office and client`s accounts.

In November 1997, Mr Loh discovered that the client`s account of the firm was overdrawn to the sum of $155,731.79. In fact, there should have been a credit of $261,242.33, being the total amount of stakeholder funds placed with the firm. The total sum that was missing from the client`s account was $416,974.12. Mr Loh confronted the respondent, who admitted that he took the moneys from the client`s account for various purposes of his own.

Subsequently, on 19 November 1997, Mr Loh made a report to the Commercial Affairs Department (`CAD`) about a possible breach of trust on the respondent`s part. He also informed the Law Society of the same matter by way of a letter dated 20 November 1997.

The Law Society`s investigations

Arising from the letter from Mr Loh, the Council of the Law Society (`the Council`) on the same day resolved to intervene in the firm`s practice pursuant to s 74 of the Act and paras 1(1)(a) and 6 of the First Schedule thereto, on the ground that the Council had reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of the respondent in connection with his practice. On 21 November 1997, the Law Society served on the respondent and Mr Loh notices respectively to the effect that the Council had resolved to intervene in their partnership and their client`s accounts. The notices also contained a request to them to deliver up all the firm`s books of accounts, details of the bank accounts and a list of persons who were beneficially entitled to the moneys in the client`s account. The respondent then delivered some documents relating to the firm`s accounts pursuant to this request. From these documents and an investigation carried out, the Council found that for the year 1997, the accounting records and books required under paras (1)-(4) of r 11 of the Legal Profession (Solicitors` Accounts) Rules, namely:

(a) Cash books, receipt cash book and payment cash book;

(b) General ledger;

(c) Clients` ledger;

(d) Journals;

(e) Reconciliation...

To continue reading

Request your trial
9 cases
  • Law Society of Singapore v Fun Huay Yew
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 17 May 2005
    ...By the time Toshiba learned the truth, the respondent had disappeared along with the money. 15 In Law Society of Singapore v Lim Yee Kai [2001] 1 SLR 721 (“Lim Yee Kai”), the solicitor in question had misappropriated and absconded with money from the client account maintained by the firm. T......
  • Law Society of Singapore v Chiong Chin May Selena
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 18 August 2005
    ...Solicitors (LexisNexis Butterworths, 9th Ed, 2005) at para 1402). 23 This court has also held in Law Society of Singapore v Lim Yee Kai [2001] 1 SLR 721, that any failure to maintain proper accounts would be viewed seriously. L P Thean JA stated at [17] Where the rules relating to accounts ......
  • Law Society of Singapore v Rasif David
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 30 January 2008
    ...Law Society of Singapore v Chiong Chin May Selena [2005] 4 SLR (R) 320; [2005] 4 SLR 320 (refd) Law Society of Singapore v Lim Yee Kai [2001] 1 SLR (R) 30; [2001] 1 SLR 721 (refd) Law Society of Singapore v Ong Ying Ping [2005] 3 SLR (R) 583; [2005] 3 SLR 583 (refd) Law Society of Singapore......
  • Law Society of Singapore v Udeh Kumar s/o Sethuraju and another matter
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 27 June 2017
    ...that he knew to be false and failed to pay his client’s money into a client account. In Law Society of Singapore v Lim Yee Kai [2001] 1 SLR(R) 30, the respondent used money from a client’s account for his own purposes and failed to keep and maintain the firm’s books of accounts. Finally, an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT