United Overseas Bank Ltd v Sin Bian Sea Transport

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtFederal Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date05 June 1968
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No Y42 of 1967
Date05 June 1968

[1968] SGFC 4

Federal Court

Wee Chong Jin CJ

,

Tan Ah Tah FJ

and

M Buttrose J

Civil Appeal No Y42 of 1967

United Overseas Bank Ltd
Plaintiff
and
Sin Bian Sea Transport
Defendant

K S Chung (Chung & Co) for the appellant

C S Wu (Donaldson & Burkinshaw) for the respondent.

Brown v Draper [1944] KB 309; [1944] 1 All ER 246 (folld)

Chartered Bank (Malaya) Trustee Ltd v Abu Bakar [1957] MLJ 40 (distd)

Kassim bin Adam v Bandukwala GE [1958] MLJ 226 (refd)

Weinberg v Lim Seow Peng [1955] MLJ 152 (refd)

Control of Rent Ordinance (Cap 242, 1955 Rev Ed)

Landlord and Tenant–Recovery of possession–Whether claim for possession of rent-controlled premises can be made against licensee without tenant being party to proceedings–Control of Rent Ordinance (Cap 242, 1955 Rev Ed)

The Singapore Lighter Owners' Association (“the association”) was the subtenant of premises subject to the Control of Rent Ordinance (Cap 242, 1955 Rev Ed). The defendant became a licensee of the association and in that capacity occupied part of the premises.

On 19 September 1958, the tenant was adjudicated a bankrupt and thereupon his contractual tenancy of the premises vested in the Official Assignee. The plaintiff bought the premises from the previous owners on 22 May 1963. It duly determined the Official Assignee's contractual tenancy on 31 August 1963, by a notice to quit dated 31 July 1963. On 9 June 1965 it issued a writ of summons against the defendant claiming possession.

The trial judge stated that he was not in a position to adjudicate upon its claim as the association had not been made a party to the action. The plaintiff appealed.

Held, dismissing the appeal:

(1) In the case of a tenancy involving rent-controlled premises, the court had no jurisdiction to make an order for possession against a licensee unless the tenant was a party and an order was made against him as well: at [7].

(2) The association had already become a statutory tenant of the Official Assignee by the time the writ of summons was issued against the defendant. There was no evidence whatsoever to show that the association's statutory tenancy had been lawfully determined. In the circumstances, as the association had not been made a party to the proceedings in the court below, the trial judge was right in refusing to make an order for possession against the defendant: at [5], [6] and [11].

Tan Ah Tah FJ

(delivering the judgment of the court):

1 In this case the...

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