Jurong Town Corp v Wishing Star Ltd

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeChao Hick Tin JA
Judgment Date31 March 2004
Neutral Citation[2004] SGCA 14
Citation[2004] SGCA 14
Date31 March 2004
Subject MatterOrder 23 r 1(1)(a) Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 1997 Rev Ed),Costs,Interlocutory appeals,Plaintiff ordinarily resident out of jurisdiction,Whether Ladd v Marshall principles applicable,Security,Whether court has discretion to allow admission of further evidence,Relevant factors to consider in court's exercise of discretion,Order 57 r 13(2) Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 1997 Rev Ed),Civil Procedure,Appeals
Published date05 April 2004
Defendant CounselEdmund Kronenburg and Celina Chua (Drew and Napier LLC)
Plaintiff CounselHo Chien Mien and J Sathia (Allen and Gledhill)
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 126 of 2003

31 March 2004

Chao Hick Tin JA (delivering the judgment of the court):

1 This was an appeal against a decision of the High Court (reported at [2004] 1 SLR 1) refusing the application of the defendant-appellant, Jurong Town Corporation (“JTC”), for the plaintiff-respondent, Wishing Star Limited (“WSL”), to furnish security for costs in the sum of $400,000 in respect of the action. We dismissed the appeal. For the purposes of the appeal, JTC also sought, by way of a motion, the admission of certain fresh evidence. We disallowed that too. We now give our reasons.

The background

2 WSL, a construction company incorporated in Hong Kong, is engaged in the business of manufacturing and constructing curtain walls for buildings. JTC is a statutory board established under an Act of Parliament. On 14 June 2002, JTC awarded WSL a contract in respect of the façade works for seven tower blocks at the JTC Multi-User Biomedical Research and Development Complex at North Buona Vista Drive (“the Biopolis Project” or “the project”) pursuant to a tender submitted by WSL. The value of this contract was some $54m. Indeed, in accordance with the terms of the contract, WSL started work on the project on 23 May 2002 even though the formal award was only made on 14 June 2002.

3 On 9 September 2002, JTC terminated the contract on the main ground that WSL had made material misrepresentations in its tender submission.

4 On 13 January 2003, WSL commenced the present action against JTC claiming, inter alia, payment for work done and damages for the wrongful termination of the contract. In the alternative, WSL claimed on a quantum meruit. In its defence, JTC pleaded that it had lawfully rescinded the contract and, instead, counterclaimed for certain damages which it had suffered. The trial of the action and the counterclaim are now part-heard in the High Court.

5 After the pleadings were closed, various interlocutory issues arose eg, the obtaining of further and better particulars and discovery, which resulted in several applications being made to court.

6 In the meantime, on 7 April 2003, pursuant to a summons for directions, the Registrar set the date for the trial of the action and counterclaim to commence on 3 November 2002 and it was to continue until 28 November 2003. No question of security for costs was raised by JTC.

7 It was only on 6 August 2003 that JTC’s solicitors wrote to WSL’s solicitors asking for security for costs in the sum of $400,000. In response to a request from WSL as to the basis of the demand, JTC furnished the following grounds:

(a) WSL was ordinarily resident out of the jurisdiction;

(b) it was believed that WSL did not own fixed and permanent assets in Singapore; and

(c) it was believed that WSL did not own fixed and permanent assets in Hong Kong either, its place of incorporation.

8 This request for security was resisted by WSL, saying that it had a registered office here and was therefore not ordinarily resident out of Singapore. WSL did not give any information regarding its assets either in Singapore or Hong Kong.

9 On 15 August 2003, JTC made a formal application for security in the sum of $400,000. Upon its dismissal by the assistant registrar, an appeal was lodged to a judge in chambers who, in turn, also dismissed it on 28 October 2003. On 6 November 2003, JTC lodged its appeal to the Court of Appeal. In the meantime, on 5 November 2003, the trial of the action commenced before the High Court and the hearing was adjourned on 13 November 2003. The resumed hearing is now scheduled to start on 5 April 2004.

10 Before the assistant registrar and the judge, one of the contested issues was whether WSL could be considered to be ordinarily resident out of the jurisdiction when it has a branch office here which is registered under our Companies Act. On this point, both the assistant registrar and the judge held against WSL, who no longer pursued it in its Case before us.

11 In deciding not to order security for costs, the judge took into account the following main considerations:

(a) WSL was a reputable Hong Kong company with business interests in Singapore and there was no reason to suppose that such a company would not pay its costs if ordered to do so;

(b) there was reciprocal enforcement of judgments between Singapore and Hong Kong; and

(c) the application for security for costs was made too late and the quantum was too large.

The law

12 The application by JTC for security was made pursuant to O 23 r 1(1)(a) of the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 1997 Rev Ed) (“r 1(1)(a)”) which reads:

Where, on the application of a defendant to an action or other proceeding in the Court, it appears to the Court that the plaintiff is ordinarily resident out of the...

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    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 1 June 2018
    ...of Ladd v Marshall are inapplicable (at 620h). This proposition was endorsed by this Court in Jurong Town Corp v Wishing Star Ltd [2004] 2 SLR(R) 427 (“Jurong Town Corp”) at [27] per Chao Hick Tin JA, although we note in passing that it was in fact expressed obiter in Electra: see Electra a......
  • Ong Jane Rebecca v Pricewaterhousecoopers and Others
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    ...extent of such security. There is no presumption in favour of, or against, a grant of security. See Jurong Town Corp v Wishing Star Ltd [2004] 2 SLR 427 at 22 The strength or weakness of the plaintiff’s claim is one of the relevant factors. The Court considers whether the plaintiff has a bo......
  • ARW v Comptroller of Income Tax and another and another appeal
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    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 30 November 2018
    ...earlier. To this end, the Appellants relies on the following observation made by this court in Jurong Town Corp v Wishing Star Ltd [2004] 2 SLR(R) 427 (“Wishing Star”) (at [27]): …. As the present appeal was not one against ‘a judgment after trial or hearing of any cause or matter on the me......
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    ...condition under r 1(1)(a), rather than a conclusive indicator that security should be ordered: see Jurong Town Corp v Wishing Star Ltd [2004] 2 SLR 427 (“Wishing Star”) at [14]. Although security will not follow as a matter of course whenever a foreign plaintiff is involved, it will general......
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