Wee Soon Kim Anthony v The Law Society of Singapore

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChan Sek Keong JC
Judgment Date23 May 1988
Neutral Citation[1988] SGHC 44
Citation[1988] SGHC 44
Defendant CounselGoh Joon Seng (Goh Poh & Partners)
Subject MatterLegal Profession,s 93(4) Legal Profession Act (Cap 161),Whether High Court has original jurisdiction to hear complaint against solicitor after Law Society Council dismisses complaint,Whether court has original jurisdiction to hear complaint,Original,Law Society Council dismisses complaint,Disciplinary procedures,Jurisdiction,Courts and Jurisdiction,Complaint against advocate and solicitor for making reckless allegations and failing to verify allegations
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 157 of 1988
Date23 May 1988
Plaintiff CounselMak Kok Weng (Mak & Partners)

This was an application by the plaintiff made pursuant to s 93 of the Legal Profession, Act (Cap 161) (the Act) for an order that the Law Society of Singapore be directed to apply to the honourable Chief Justice for the appointment of a disciplinary committee to investigate the complaint dated 17 November 1987 of the plaintiff against two advocates and solicitors, viz Mr Goh Soon Hock (GSH) and Mr Tan Kok Quan (TKQ).

At the conclusion of the hearing, I dismissed the application with costs and said I would give my reasons later.

The plaintiff and GSH were practising as advocates and solicitors during the period from 1 July 1971 up to December 1984 in the firm of Messrs ASK Wee. GSH left the firm as a result of certain tax investigations made against the plaintiff. In suit no 8521, the plaintiff commenced proceedings against GSH claiming the sum of $246,410.33, being the total amount taken out by GSH allegedly as his share of the profits of the firm when he was only an employee, and the sum of $96,000 being excess salary taken out by GSH. In his defence, GSH has maintained that he was a partner during the material period and that he had not taken out any money wrongfully from the firm. He has also counter claimed for an account and inquiry in respect of the partnership assets and for payment of his share of the profits of the firm. TKQ, a partner in Messrs Lee & Lee, represent GSH in these proceedings, which are pending.

In O 14 proceedings in SUIT NO 8521 of 1985, GSH on 28 November 1985 swore an affidavit in which he deposed in para 19 thereof that the plaintiff had received payment in cash or kind from clients for which no proper bills had been rendered and no proper receipts had been issued or which had been paid to him over and above the amount of costs shown on the bills delivered. GSH listed out the names of five clients who, he deposed, had alleged they had been involved in such payments.

The plaintiff has denied the said allegations in an affidavit, the relevant paragraph (ie para 13) of which reads:

as regards para 19 ..., a very grave libel has been committed against me by those concerned and appropriate action is on foot. The persons referred to in para 19(2), (3), (4) and (5) have sworn/affirmed their categorical denials of the defendant`s allegations against me. In so far as [the first named client] is concerned, I annex hereto ... an exchange of letters which clearly shows that the defendant was aware that the question of costs was never settled and therefore that I had improperly received substantial sums of moneys from [the client] in the manners alleged is as untrue as it is malicious.

The affidavits of the four named clients denying GSH`s allegations were filed for the purpose of the said application.

On 17 November 1987, the plaintiff lodged a complaint with the Law Society and requested an investigation into the conduct of GSH and TKQ. The substance of the complaint was:

(1) That both Goh Soon Hock and his solicitor made them [ie the allegations] recklessly not caring whether they are true or false with the view to smearing me with the stigma of my having committed a criminal offence with the consequence that I had, cheated Goh Soon Hock out of his share of the costs.

(2) Tan Kok Quan had failed to take reasonable steps to take statements from the named clients or to verify the source of information before permitting the said affidavit to be sworn before a commissioner for oaths and before filing and service.

The Law Society referred the complaint to the chairman of the inquiry panel on 25 November 1987 and informed the plaintiff on the same day. On 8 January 1988, the Law Society wrote to the plaintiff to inform him that the Council had...

To continue reading

Request your trial
21 cases
  • Whitehouse Holdings Pte Ltd v Law Society of Singapore
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 23 May 1994
    ...SLR 527 (refd) Wee Harry Lee, Re [1983-1984] SLR (R) 274; [1984-1985] SLR 323 (refd) Wee Soon Kim Anthony v Law Society of Singapore [1988] 1 SLR (R) 455; [1988] SLR 510 (distd) Wong Juan Swee v Law Society of Singapore [1993] 1 SLR (R) 429; [1993] 2 SLR 554 (folld) Legal Profession Act (Ca......
  • The Law Society of Singapore v Ang Boon Kong Lawrence
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 14 December 1992
    ...Suppiah v Law Society of Singapore [1985-1986] SLR (R) 443; [1984-1985] SLR 311 (refd) Wee Soon Kim Anthony v Law Society of Singapore [1988] 1 SLR (R) 455; [1988] SLR 510 (distd) Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 1990 Rev Ed) ss 86, 87, 88, 95 (consd);ss 29, 32 (1), 85 Legal Profession–Discip......
  • Lee Kuan Yew v Tang Liang Hong and Another
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 12 November 1997
    ...Pty Ltd (1966) 117 CLR 118 (folld) Vasoo v Chee Soon Juan Suit No 935 of 1993 (refd) Wee Soon Kim Anthony v Law Society of Singapore [1988] 1 SLR (R) 455; [1988] SLR 510 (folld) Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (1985 Rev Ed, 1992 Reprint) Art 12 (1) Defamation Act (Cap 75, 1985 Rev......
  • Bachoo Mohan Singh v Public Prosecutor and another matter
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 15 July 2010
    ...a solicitor that he must verify the instructions of his client. This was laid down in Wee Soon Kim Anthony v Law Society of Singapore [1988] 1 SLR(R) 455 and Tang Liang Hong v Lee Kuan Yew [[1997] 3 SLR(R) 576]. It would be different if there were compelling reasons or circumstances which r......
  • 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