Wee Soon Kim Anthony v UBS AG

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeKan Ting Chiu J
Judgment Date16 September 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGHC 213
Citation[2002] SGHC 213
Published date19 September 2003
Date16 September 2002
Plaintiff CounselAnthony Wee Soon Kim in person
Defendant CounselDavinder Singh SC, Hri Kumar and Gary Low (Drew & Napier LLC)
Docket NumberSuit No 834 of 2001

Judgment

GROUNDS OF DECISION

1 The plaintiff was medically unfit to attend at a hearing before me. A practising lawyer came in his place with instructions to argue the matter for him. The lawyer did not come as the plaintiff’s counsel, but as his friend.

2. When the plaintiff commenced this action against the defendant bank a law corporation acted for him. The law corporation filed the cause papers and represented him in the interlocutory hearings and the first tranche of hearing between 26 February 2002 and 15 March 2002. The solicitor-client relationship did not last. On 15 June 2002 the plaintiff filed a notice that he was acting in person. Then on 8 July 2002, a law firm, Goh Aik Leng & Partners filed a notice that it had been appointed to act for him in place of the law corporation.

3. On 15 July 2002, an application by the defendant for interrogatories served by the plaintiff to be withdrawn came on for hearing. The plaintiff came to the hearing with Mr Goh Aik Leng and Mr Mohan Singh, a practising lawyer from another firm. At the outset, Mr Goh informed me that the plaintiff was still a litigant in person. Mr Goh described himself as the solicitor on record whose function was to file documents for the plaintiff and to accept service of documents on his behalf, while the plaintiff present arguments himself.

4. I was not persuaded that a party who has appointed counsel to act for him can consider himself to be a litigant in person and retain the right to argue his case himself. I stood down the matter for the plaintiff and Mr Goh to consider the matter. When the hearing resumed, they decided that the plaintiff would continue with the argument. Mr Goh withdrew as solicitor, but remained to assist the plaintiff while he presented the arguments himself.

5. On 22 July, the action came on for continued hearing scheduled to go on to 30 August 2002. However the plaintiff was not in court. Mr Goh appeared and informed me that the plaintiff was in hospital undergoing medical tests. Mr Mohan Singh was also present, and Mr Goh introduced him as the co-counsel of the plaintiff.1 However Mr Mohan Singh was unsure whether he could be a co-counsel to a litigant in person, and wanted to give further thought to that.

6. Mr Goh raised the question of his own status again. He applied that he be accorded the right of audience as the plaintiff’s friend. He took pains to state that he was not claiming any right by himself as a "McKenzie friend" because he acknowledged on the authority of R v Leicester City Justices Ex parte Barrow [1991] 2 QB 260 that he cannot claim the right himself.2 He submitted on the authority of that case that "(I)n the light of [the plaintiff’s] health and the complexity of the case, he is entitled to appoint me as his friend and he is also entitled to instruct me to speak on his behalf."3 and that the plaintiff had a choice to present his case himself, personally or to have a friend present it on his behalf.4

7. The application was adjourned for further hearing on 24 July. When hearing resumed, Mr Goh returned alone. He informed me...

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2 cases
  • Lee Hsien Loong v Singapore Democratic Party and Others and Another Suit
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 6 November 2007
    ...... defendant, Ms Chee Siok Chin (“Ms Chee”), is a member of the Central Executive Committee of the SDP and the third defendant, Dr Chee Soon Juan (“Dr Chee”), is its secretary-general. In these grounds of decision, the phrase “the defendants” refers to Ms Chee and Dr Chee only. . ...However, we view it as being of some significance. As Woo Bih Li J put it in the decision of this court in Wee Soon Kim Anthony v UBS AG [2005] SGCA 3 (“ Wee Soon Kim Anthony ”) at [53]–[54]: . 53         We would say at the outset that the prejudice referred ......
  • Tan Chor Chuan and Others v Tan Yeow Hiang Kenneth and Others
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 10 November 2005

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