Yugiantoro v Budiono Widodo

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date20 November 2001
Docket NumberSuit No 573 of 2001 (Registrar's
Date20 November 2001

[2001] SGHC 346

High Court

Tan Lee Meng J

Suit No 573 of 2001 (Registrar's Appeal No 143 of 2001)

Budiono Widodo

Sivakumar Murugaiyan (Colin Ng & Partners) for the appellant/defendant

Daniel Koh (Engelin Teh & Partners) for the respondent/plaintiff.

Bambang Sutrisno v Bali International Finance Ltd [1999] 2 SLR (R) 632; [1999] 3 SLR 140 (distd)

Las Vegas Hilton Corp v Khoo Teng Hock Sunny [1996] 2 SLR (R) 589; [1997] 1 SLR 341 (folld)

Oriental Insurance Co Ltd v Bhavani Stores Pte Ltd [1997] 3 SLR (R) 363; [1998] 1 SLR 253 (folld)

Conflict of Laws–Natural forum–Enforcement of oral agreement allegedly made in Singapore–Contracting parties Indonesian citizens having homes, assets and business interests in Singapore and Indonesia–Stay of action–Whether Indonesia more appropriate forum–Factors to consider–Whether complex issues under Indonesian law relevant

The parties, Yugiantoro and Widodo, were Indonesian citizens who had homes and business interests in Singapore and Indonesia. Yugiantoro claimed that he had entered into an oral agreement with Widodo in Singapore to purchase shares in a Hong Kong company of which Widodo was chairman. Yugiantoro further alleged that in return for his undertaking not to sell the shares for one year, Widodo agreed to indemnify him against any loss arising from a fall in the value of the shares at the end of the period.

Yugiantoro asserted that the shares which he purchased were worthless one year later and sued Widodo in Singapore for his loss. Widodo, who contended that he did not enter into the alleged indemnity arrangement, asserted that the dispute should be resolved in the Indonesian courts. His application to have the action stayed on the ground that Indonesia was a more appropriate forum was dismissed by the assistant registrar.

Widodo appealed, submitting, inter alia, that the action should be tried in Indonesia because Indonesian law was the proper law of the contract and complicated issues under Indonesian law regarding the validity of an indemnity without the consent of a spouse were involved.

Held, dismissing the appeal:

(1) A defendant who sought a stay of proceedings on the ground that there was a more appropriate forum elsewhere had the task of satisfying the court that the other forum was a more appropriate forum: at [6].

(2) If only the place of residence and location of assets were considered, Indonesia was not necessarily a more appropriate forum. Both parties had homes, assets and business interests in Singapore as well as Indonesia: at [9].

(3) It was not asserted that a trial in Singapore would be inconvenient for Widodo's witnesses or that relevant evidence was unavailable in Singapore: at [10].

(4) Taking all circumstances into account, Widodo had not established that Indonesia was the place of performance of the alleged oral contract or that the alleged contract had the closest and most real connection with Indonesian law: at [16].

(5) The relevant question to be determined was not whether or not complex issues under Indonesian law were involved but whether or not Indonesian law was, in the first place, applicable to the alleged oral contract. The fact that Indonesian law on spousal consent for guarantees was complicated could not, by itself, be a reason for holding that the alleged contract was governed by Indonesian law: at [17].

Tan Lee Meng J

1 The appellant, Mr Budiono Widodo, who was sued by the respondent, Mr Yugiantoro, asserted that the action in Singapore should be stayed on the ground that Indonesia is a more appropriate forum for the suit. The assistant registrar refused to stay the said proceedings. I dismissed the defendant's appeal against the assistant registrar's decision and now give my reasons for having done...

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1 cases
  • Tay Way Bock v Yeunh Oi Siong
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 2 February 2006
    ...Law 27 The document which was signed in Kuala Lumpur made no reference to Singapore Law. In the case of Yugiantoro v Budiono Widodo [2002] 2 SLR 275, Tan Lee Meng J “If the alleged oral contract was made, it certainly did not deal with the question of the proper law of the contract. In the ......

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