Yeoh Poh San and Another v Won Siok Wan

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeWoo Bih Li JC
Judgment Date17 June 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGHC 129
Citation[2002] SGHC 129
Plaintiff CounselKuppanchetti and Shanti Supramaniam (Alban Tay Mahtani & De Silva)
Docket NumberSuit No 12 of 2002 (Registrar's
Date17 June 2002
Defendant CounselAndre Arul (Arul Chew & Partners)
Publication Date19 September 2003
Subject'Compromise order',Pleadings,Application by defendant for extension of time to file defence until determination of such appeal,Civil Procedure,Whether to allow such application for extension of time,Order requiring defendant to file defence on undertaking by plaintiff's lawyer not to treat it as step in proceedings pending appeal on stay of proceedings,Whether right for plaintiff to insist on filing of defendant's defence before conclusion of appeal,Judgments and orders,Relief available to defendant,Policy considerations against granting of such orders,Extension of time to file defence pending appeal against dismissal of stay application,Defence

by that day, the time for filing the Defence expired. The Plaintiff applied for judgment in default and the Defendant applied for an extension of time to file her Defence. Her application contained two alternative prayers: one sought an extension of 14 days from the date of the order to be made and the other which sought a stay until ‘final determination’ of the appeal. The Deputy Registrar granted the Defendant an extension of 14 days on the undertaking of the Plaintiffs’ counsel not to treat the filing of the Defence as a step taken by the Defendant in the proceedings in view of the appeal on the Defendant’s application for stay.

The Defendant filed this appeal against the Deputy Registrar’s order. Meanwhile, the appeal on the stay proceedings was dismissed by the judge-in-chambers. The Defendant had written to the judge to request further arguments, failing which she intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal. In this appeal, she sought for an extension of time to file her Defence until she exhausted all avenues of appeal.

Held

, allowing the appeal

(1) When a plaintiff’s solicitor is aware that a defendant has filed an appeal against the refusal to order a stay, he should not insist on the filing of the Defence pending the hearing of the appeal. This principle applies to an application for a stay on any grounds and is not confirmed to a challenge based on an absence of jurisdiction. To insist on the filing of the Defence is wrong because it will defeat the very purpose of the appeal against the refusal to order a stay. ( 18)

(2) If the plaintiff’s solicitor insists on the filing of the Defence, the defendant’s solicitor should apply for an extension of time to file pending the outcome of the appeal. An extension of time should generally be granted so as not to render the appeal nugatory. ( 19)

(3) Compromise orders that order a defendant to file his Defence pending his appeal on the stay proceedings provided the plaintiff undertakes not to treat the filing of the Defence as a step in the proceedings should not be granted for the following reasons: First, no such compromise orders are granted before the original stay application is heard and the position should be the same for appeals on stay applications. Secondly, to insist on the filing of a Defence while an appeal on the stay was pending is prejudicial to the defendant who has to meet the merits of the plaintiff’s claim while seeking a stay. Thirdly, if the defendant succeeds in the appeal, he may never have to meet the plaintiff’s claim on the merits as the plaintiff may abandon his claim in the alternate jurisdiction. Lastly until all avenues of appeal in relation to a stay application are exhausted, our courts are not properly seized of the matter. ( 24-29)

(4) On the facts, due to the peculiar words used in the Defendant’s application for an extension of time and the fact that the Defendant orally requested for an extension of time and obtained it from the Plaintiffs, a compromise order was granted as an exception to the general rule that compromise orders should be granted.( 30)

Judgment

GROUNDS OF DECISION

Background

1. The Plaintiffs Yeoh Poh San and Choo Lee Chin are husband and wife and are Malaysian citizens. They claim various sums of money from the Defendant Won Siok Wan who was a female companion of the First Plaintiff. She is also a Malaysian citizen. The claim is based on alleged wrongful withdrawals of monies by the Defendant from a joint bank account in Singapore in the name of the Second Plaintiff and the Defendant. The source of the monies is allegedly the First Plaintiff.

2. The Writ of Summons was filed in the High Court in Singapore and the Plaintiffs applied for and obtained leave to serve it, with a Statement of Claim endorsed thereon, on the Defendant at her residence in Malaysia.

3. After the Defendant was served, her Singapore solicitors entered an appearance on her behalf and applied for an order that the proceedings be stayed or dismissed or discontinued on the ground of...

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    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 27 August 2003
    ...Tropicon Contractors Pte Ltd [1991] 1 SLR (R) 622; [1991] SLR 80 (refd) Siskina, The [1979] AC 210 (folld) Yeoh Poh San v Won Siok Wan [2002] 2 SLR (R) 233; [2002] 4 SLR 91 (distd) Yomeishu Seizo Co Ltd v Sinma Medical Products (M) Sdn Bhd [1996] 2 MLJ 334 (folld) Rules of Court (Cap 322, R......
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    • 29 December 2003
    ....... 4    In Yeoh Poh San & anor v Won Siok Wan [2002] 4 SLR 91 , a case decided under the previous rule, the court ...; (ii) under the principle of forum non conveniens , there is a more appropriate forum in another country or (iii) there is an arbitration  clause to refer all disputes to arbitration. . 20    ......
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    ...SGCA 34 (“Carona Holdings”) at [33] and [34] approving the comments of Woo Bih Li JC (as he then was) in Yeoh Poh Seng v Won Siok Wan [2002] 4 SLR 91 at [21] (which is a forum non conveniens case) on the very same point said that ordinarily a defendant should not be asked or compelled to fi......
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3 books & journal articles
  • Arbitration
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2008, December 2008
    • 1 December 2008
    ...Go Go Delicacy Pte Ltd[2008] 4 SLR 460 at [17]. This was essentially the same question that was considered in Yeoh Poh San v Won Siok Wan[2002] 4 SLR 91, Samsung Corp and in Australian Timber, albeit in Yeoh Poh San v Won Siok Wan and Samsung Corp the question was raised in the context of a......
  • Civil Procedure
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2002, December 2002
    • 1 December 2002
    ...and he appeals against the decision, the plaintiff should not insist on the defendant filing his defence. In Yeoh Poh San v Won Siok Wan[2002] 4 SLR 91, the High Court stated that requiring the defence to be filed in these circumstances would defeat the very purpose of the stay application ......
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    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 2004, December 2004
    • 1 December 2004
    ...8 Delivering a defence would also constitute taking a step in the proceedings. 9 [1979] AC 210 at 262. 10 [2003] 3 SLR 656 at [14]. 11 [2002] 4 SLR 91. 12 Ibid at [25]. 13 Supra, n 11 at [27]. 14 At [25]. 15 Cap 143A, 2002 Rev Ed. 16 See JDC Corp v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd[1999] 1 SLR 6......

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