Thyssen Hunnebeck Singapore Pte Ltd v TTJ Civil Engineering Pte Ltd

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date21 October 2002
Docket NumberSuit No 766 of 2001 (Registrar's
Date21 October 2002

[2002] SGHC 247

High Court

Choo Han Teck JC

Suit No 766 of 2001 (Registrar's Appeal No 259 of 2002)

Thyssen Hunnebeck Singapore Pte Ltd
Plaintiff
and
TTJ Civil Engineering Pte Ltd
Defendant

Mark Lim (Wong & Leow LLC) for the plaintiffs

Christopher Goh (Ang & Partners) for the defendants.

Compagnie Financiere et Commerciale du Pacifique v Peruvian Guano Co (1882) 11 QBD 55 (refd)

Tan Chin Seng v Raffles Town Club Pte Ltd [2002] 2 SLR (R) 465; [2002] 3 SLR 345 (refd)

Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 1997 Rev Ed) O 24 r 5

Civil Procedure–Discovery of documents–Test for relevancy

The defendants were a scaffolding sub-contractor who were involved in a major building project. The plaintiffs were suppliers of scaffolding who contracted to supply the defendants with scaffoldings. The contract required the plaintiffs to supply additional quantities of scaffolding to the defendants “in the event acceleration of the project is required”, if a request was made pursuant to the relevant clause in the contract. One issue in dispute was whether the defendants were obliged to pay for the additional scaffolding. The plaintiffs averred that their invoices for the additional scaffolding had been used as the basis for a claim by the defendants from the main contractors.

The plaintiffs applied, inter alia, for discovery of documents relating to the scaffolding contract between the main contractor and the defendants, including all invoices pertaining to it. An assistant registrar refused the plaintiffs' application for discovery. The plaintiffs appealed.

Held, allowing the appeal:

(1) Under cl 2.3 of the contract, the request for additional scaffolding appeared to be predicated on the basis that work was accelerated. Whether that was indeed so is a matter for the trial judge to decide, but at this stage, it seemed that the documents might have some connection with the issue whether the request for additional scaffolding was indeed made pursuant to cl 2.3: at [3].

(2) The plaintiffs' counsel submitted that if the documents and invoices revealed that the defendants had claimed against the main contractors for the scaffolding, then the defendants might be estopped from denying that the plaintiffs were entitled to be paid for supplying the scaffolding. This argument, premised on the event that cl 2.3 did not apply, was not entirely lacking in merit. The test to be applied was whether the documents requested might contain information relevant to the plaintiffs' case: at [4].

(3) The plaintiffs argued an alternative claim in quantum meruit.The documents requested might show that the defendants had received a benefit such that it would be unjust for them to retain that benefit without paying the plaintiffs. The documents sought were in connection with work done by the defendants for the main contractor for which the scaffolding was provided by the...

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13 cases
  • Banque Cantonale Vaudoise v RBG Resources plc and Another
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 30 September 2004
    ...[6] and [7] of the judgment of Choo Han Teck JC (as he then was) in Thyssen Hunnebeck Singapore Pte Ltd v TTJ Civil Engineering Pte Ltd [2003] 1 SLR 75. I prefer to set out the entire para [6] and most of [7] as they show that the “train of inquiry” kind of discovery is not as wide as Mr Li......
  • HO KING MIN vs LEE MENG LENG, 10-06-2020
    • Malaysia
    • High Court (Malaysia)
    • 6 October 2020
    ...Han Teck JC (as he then was) explained in the High Court case of Thyssen Hunnebeck Singapore Pte Ltd v TTJ Civil Engineering Pte Ltd [2003] 1 SLR 75, at paras 5-6, as “5 … I accept that in some cases the line between a reasonable possibility of finding such information and a fishing expedit......
  • Tanjung Rhu Land Sdn Bhd vs Kauthar Venture Capital Sdn Bhd, 06-06-2021
    • Malaysia
    • High Court (Malaysia)
    • 6 June 2021
    ...Han Teck JC (as he then was) 32 explained in the High Court case of Thyssen Hunnebeck Singapore Pte Ltd v. TTJ Civil Engineering Pte Ltd [2003] 1 SLR 75, at paras 5-6, as "5... I accept that in some cases the line between a reasonable possibility of finding such information and a fishing ex......
  • Tan Yu Min Winston (by his next friend Tan Cheng Tong) v Uni-Fruitveg Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 1 August 2008
    ...... technologically advanced economy such as Singapore’s, the demand for IT graduates would remain robust for a ... full time on a fixed remuneration, by Hock Seng Engineering Works and Hock Seng Engineering Works continued to employ ......
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