Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 61

Thread: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

  1. #41
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Planet Eropagnis
    Posts
    2,944

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Quote Originally Posted by wind30 View Post
    did you guys read the article today in Straits times about the poor teacher who had to pay like THOUSANDS out of a small motorbike accident?
    http://www.straitstimes.com/Latest+N...ry_155684.html

    Costly court battle
    A PRIMARY school teacher involved in a traffic accident in 2004 was awarded $188 for the damage to his motorbike.
    Three years and several court appearances later, the 35-year-old now finds he has to pay $45,000 -and do it in under a month.

    This is not all: His former lawyer is also after him for $80,000 in legal fees.

    So how did a minor traffic scrap for which he was to receive a small compensation balloon into a liability that size?

    Mr Jonathan Lock's story began with a November 2004 collision between his nine-year-old, second-hand BMW motorbike and a Toyota sport utility vehicle driven by a Ms Jessiline Goh.

    When the case went before the Primary Dispute Resolution Centre (PDRC) in March last year, all he wanted was a 'swift resolution' to the case.

    PDRC hearing ended with District Judge Seng Kwang Boon awarding him $188; Ms Goh, on the other hand, was ordered to pay costs of almost $1,200.

    Through her lawyers from Assomull & Partners, she appealed the decision in the High Court on the grounds that the PRDC - now called the e@dr Centre - was not a court and that the order was invalid.

    Judge Seng, her lawyers argued, had no power to issue a court order, since the settlement was not part of a court proceeding.

    Justice Lai Siu Chiu, agreeing with this, overturned the PDRC decision and ordered Mr Lock to pay the appeal costs of $63,000.

    Then he filed an appeal against this and managed to bring the sum down to $45,000.
    That's just great.

    Now, I'm just wondering abt the integrity of that woman right now.

    Ordering a Primary School teacher to pay up $45K just like dat? Damn, not everyone drives a freaking huge SUV and can cry foul over $188 and bring it up to appeal costing well over $50K!

  2. #42
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    3,688

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Quote Originally Posted by jsbn View Post
    That's just great.

    Now, I'm just wondering abt the integrity of that woman right now.

    Ordering a Primary School teacher to pay up $45K just like dat? Damn, not everyone drives a freaking huge SUV and can cry foul over $188 and bring it up to appeal costing well over $50K!
    I think Judge Seng has at least to cover part of that sum, as he/she did not tell the teacher that his order is not 'valid' or not 'binding' :-)

    HS

  3. #43
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    3,688

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    So this case was not about who was at fault at the accident, but rather about the
    validity of the first judgement? And that can cost so much? What a joke! These judges should have already pointed the case to a lower court to avoid these costs and use their precious time for more important cases!

    HS

  4. #44
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    I suspect that a wrong idea was conveyed in that article that the judge of first instance was wrong, leading to cries that he should be paying for the fees.

    My guess (and its only a guess since no facts are available), that whether the PDRC order was valid or not is not really material. The facts of the actual accident and the merits of each party's claim would be.

    All I can tell is that the PDRC gave an order, and which was later appealed and overruled. However, I suspect (again not sure) that the appellate court also examined the merits of the case and found against that male teacher.

  5. #45

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    I suspect that a wrong idea was conveyed in that article that the judge of first instance was wrong, leading to cries that he should be paying for the fees.

    My guess (and its only a guess since no facts are available), that whether the PDRC order was valid or not is not really material. The facts of the actual accident and the merits of each party's claim would be.

    All I can tell is that the PDRC gave an order, and which was later appealed and overruled. However, I suspect (again not sure) that the appellate court also examined the merits of the case and found against that male teacher.
    NOPE. I read the full article in straits times. The report is contrary to what you have guessed. The appeal was made SOLELY on the lack of legal power of PDRC. nothing to do with the accident. Because of this case, some rectifications was done to the way PDRC works so no one else will kenna the same fate as the poor teacher.

    But errr.... I guess it was small comfort to the teacher...

  6. #46
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Yes I know, thats what the ST reported, and that is what I'm saying MAY be misleading.

    Let me see if I can find the decision by the High Court (hopefully its released).

    Quote Originally Posted by wind30 View Post
    NOPE. I read the full article in straits times. The report is contrary to what you have guessed. The appeal was made SOLELY on the lack of legal power of PDRC. nothing to do with the accident. Because of this case, some rectifications was done to the way PDRC works so no one else will kenna the same fate as the poor teacher.

    But errr.... I guess it was small comfort to the teacher...

  7. #47

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    Yes I know, thats what the ST reported, and that is what I'm saying MAY be misleading.

    Let me see if I can find the decision by the High Court (hopefully its released).
    can we read such reports on the net?

    Anyway you should not use the word misleading, the more correct word is probably "WRONG".

    I am not refering to the ST online article but the full article on the hardcopy ST, they state in very simple english that the appeal was based on the PDRC has no legal power and the PDRC after this incident made changes so that such incidents will not happend.

    It is not misleading and if your guess that "the appeal is based on the accident" is correct, straits times would be outright lying.

  8. #48
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    I now have had an opportunity to review the actual High Court judgement for the full story and it appears that my initial hypothesis that the ST article did not paint a full picture was correct (as I felt that the impression it gives doesnt make any sense).

    And yes, wind30, I read the ST hardcopy article before the online one you posted above.

    However, my theory on why that is true, turned out to be incorrect - there was no discussion on the merits of the case.

    Nevertheless, after reading the judgement, it is clear to me that there is (and I have always held that view) nothing wrong with the judge or judicial system in this case.


    The full story is as follows:

    1. Jonathan Lock (JL) made a claim against Jesseline Goh (JG).

    2. The parties attended Court Dispute Resolution (CDR), where the mediator (who is also a judge) recorded a settlement between the parties (ie both sides agreed to this settlement) that JG will pay JL $187.50 plus S$1,000 legal costs plus reasonable disbursements (which is not quantified).

    3. JL's lawyers then faxed to JG's lawyers a list of disbursements totalling S$290.35 for approval. JG's lawyers did not approve.

    4. JL's lawyers then went to the Registrar of the Subordinate Courts to extract an order of court (and there some details here where the High Court felt that JL's lawyers tried to mislead the Registrar, but that is not very important). This is the first step down the slope.

    5. The Registrar then issued the Order of Court.

    6. Armed with the Order of Court, JL's lawyers then made the fatal second step of applying for a writ of seizure and sale against JG's assets. JG's lawyers paid up.

    7. JG's lawyers then went to file an application in court to declare that the writ of seizure and sale was void and that the Order of Court should be set aside (presumable since if the Order is void, the writ is also void )

    8. Both were dismissed by the Deputy Registar. JG'ls lawyers appealed to the High Court.

    9. The High Court allowed the appeal and held that the PDRC was not a court and cannot issue an Order of Court, even though the presiding mediator is a Judge. Powers are granted to courts and not to judges.

    As for the subsequent rectifications you referred to, this was done because the High Court noted that there is an existing practice (albeit wrong in law) of settlement judges issuing consent orders upon which execution (ie writ of seizure) may be based on. I would think that the "rectifications" are merely a notice issued to all settlement judges that they should abolish this wrong practice henceforth as it there is no legal basis for it.

    Now, reading all of the above, I believe that everyone now has a good idea of what actually happened - hence no more outcrys to hang the judge please. He's a retired old man living out his retirement days so let him enjoy it

    He wasn't even involved in any of the events subsequent to his recording of the settlement terms.


    Last edited by vince123123; 11th September 2007 at 03:53 PM.

  9. #49

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Thank for the very informative article

    You noted

    "As for the subsequent rectifications you referred to, this was done because the High Court noted that there is an existing practice (albeit wrong in law) of settlement judges issuing consent orders upon which execution (ie writ of seizure) may be based on. "

    So it seems that there was a mistake whereby settlement judges issued consent orders which execution orders can be based on. Did or did not the settlement judge in this case make the above MISTAKE? If he did not, how did JL lawyers managed to get the court order?

    Somebody in Singapore Courts must have screwed up cuz JL lawyers managed to get the court order when they wasn't supposed to.... Is it the Registrar? Notice that the Registrar dismissed JG's claimed to revoke the court order so the registrar were pretty certain that they were right

    From your facts laid out, my logical conclusion is either the Registrar or the district Judge or the high court made a mistake. So which is which?

    Whichever it is, err all three party belong to singapore court of law so how can you claim
    "nothing wrong with the judge or judicial system in this case" ????


    After reading your article, I am all the more convinced that some mistake was made in the judicial process in this case.


    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    I now have had an opportunity to review the actual High Court judgement for the full story and it appears that my initial hypothesis that the ST article did not paint a full picture was correct (as I felt that the impression it gives doesnt make any sense).

    And yes, wind30, I read the ST hardcopy article before the online one you posted above.

    However, my theory on why that is true, turned out to be incorrect - there was no discussion on the merits of the case.

    Nevertheless, after reading the judgement, it is clear to me that there is (and I have always held that view)
    nothing wrong with the judge or judicial system in this case.

    The full story is as follows:

    1. Jonathan Lock (JL) made a claim against Jesseline Goh (JG).

    2. The parties attended Court Dispute Resolution (CDR), where the mediator (who is also a judge) recorded a settlement between the parties (ie both sides agreed to this settlement) that JG will pay JL $187.50 plus S$1,000 legal costs plus reasonable disbursements (which is not quantified).

    3. JL's lawyers then faxed to JG's lawyers a list of disbursements totalling S$290.35 for approval. JG's lawyers did not approve.

    4. JL's lawyers then went to the Registrar of the Subordinate Courts to extract an order of court (and there some details here where the High Court felt that JL's lawyers tried to mislead the Registrar, but that is not very important). This is the first step down the slope.

    5. The Registrar then issued the Order of Court.

    6. Armed with the Order of Court, JL's lawyers then made the fatal second step of applying for a writ of seizure and sale against JG's assets. JG's lawyers paid up.

    7. JG's lawyers then went to file an application in court to declare that the writ of seizure and sale was void and that the Order of Court should be set aside (presumable since if the Order is void, the writ is also void )

    8. Both were dismissed by the Deputy Registar. JG'ls lawyers appealed to the High Court.

    9. The High Court allowed the appeal and held that the PDRC was not a court and cannot issue an Order of Court, even though the presiding mediator is a Judge. Powers are granted to courts and not to judges.

    As for the subsequent rectifications you referred to, this was done because the High Court noted that there is an existing practice (albeit wrong in law) of settlement judges issuing consent orders upon which execution (ie writ of seizure) may be based on. I would think that the "rectifications" are merely a notice issued to all settlement judges that they should abolish this wrong practice henceforth as it there is no legal basis for it.

    Now, reading all of the above, I believe that everyone now has a good idea of what actually happened - hence no more outcrys to hang the judge please. He's a retired old man living out his retirement days so let him enjoy it

    He wasn't even involved in any of the events subsequent to his recording of the settlement terms.


    Last edited by wind30; 11th September 2007 at 04:18 PM.

  10. #50
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Hmm, good points brought up. Perhaps I am wrong somewhere

    Some possible reasons:

    1. The judgement didn't say whether the settlement judge recorded an order. All it says is "The terms of the settlement were recorded by the district judge who was presiding as the mediator in the CDR conference (“the Settlement Judge”)." It doesn't say if it's recorded as an order or not.

    2. I can't really tell what happened at the Registrar stage, so I'll reproduce the whole portion here for you:

    Notwithstanding the letter from the defendant’s solicitors of 7 April 2006, the plaintiff’s solicitor wrote to the Registrar of the Subordinate Courts on 13 April 2006 stating two clear days had lapsed since he forwarded the draft order of court to the defendant’s solicitors on 7 April 2006 and the defendant’s solicitors had not replied. Accordingly he was allowed to extract the order of court which he did on 17 April 2006 (“the Order of Court”). Questioned by the court on his misleading letter to the Registrar of the Subordinate Courts, counsel for the plaintiff sought to explain with the excuse (which I did not accept) that he meant the defendant’s solicitors did not reply in terms of accepting his draft order of court.

    It COULD mean that the Registrar was mislead into allowing them to extract the order. I don't know.

    Anyway, even if the lower court or Registrar did make a mistake, I'm not sure if it is fair to ask them to pay. If this reasoning is sound, then it would mean that in ALL appeal cases where the appellate court overturns the lower courts' judgment, the lower court has to pay. That doesn't quite make sense to me.




    Quote Originally Posted by wind30 View Post
    Thank for the very informative article

    You noted

    "As for the subsequent rectifications you referred to, this was done because the High Court noted that there is an existing practice (albeit wrong in law) of settlement judges issuing consent orders upon which execution (ie writ of seizure) may be based on. "

    So it seems that there was a mistake whereby settlement judges issued consent orders which execution orders can be based on. Did or did not the settlement judge in this case make the above MISTAKE? If he did not, how did JL lawyers managed to get the court order?

    Somebody in Singapore Courts must have screwed up cuz JL lawyers managed to get the court order when they wasn't supposed to.... Is it the Registrar? Notice that the Registrar dismissed JG's claimed to revoke the court order so the registrar were pretty certain that they were right

    From your facts laid out, my logical conclusion is either the Registrar or the district Judge or the high court made a mistake. So which is which?

    Whichever it is, err all three party belong to singapore court of law so how can you claim
    "nothing wrong with the judge or judicial system in this case" ????


    After reading your article, I am all the more convinced that some mistake was made in the judicial process in this case.

  11. #51

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Look, it was a simple mistake. Judges and even courts do make occasional mistakes, which is why there is an appeal process, to allow the higher courts to correct the lower courts.

    In this case, the mistake is the Registrar's, who issued a court order for a mediated resolution. He probably thought that anything that came out of a judge must be a valid court decision, hence his SOP in issuing the court order.

    What is clear is that the original resolution was a mediated solution, and the reasonable and ordinary meaning of "mediation" is something that is arrived at after compromise and agreement. It clearly is not binding and does not carry force of law. Hence, it was wrong to issue a court order based on the terms of the mediated resolution.

    What is more interesting is why the party went to apply for a Court Order for $290.35. That has to be one of the most stupid things ever done. The lawyers' time involved probably cost more than that already! Animosity between the two parties must have been extremely high for a Court order to be applied for such a small amount. Alas, the whole thing has now backfired on them both.

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    Hmm, good points brought up. Perhaps I am wrong somewhere

    Some possible reasons:

    1. The judgement didn't say whether the settlement judge recorded an order. All it says is "The terms of the settlement were recorded by the district judge who was presiding as the mediator in the CDR conference (“the Settlement Judge”)." It doesn't say if it's recorded as an order or not.

    2. I can't really tell what happened at the Registrar stage, so I'll reproduce the whole portion here for you:

    Notwithstanding the letter from the defendant’s solicitors of 7 April 2006, the plaintiff’s solicitor wrote to the Registrar of the Subordinate Courts on 13 April 2006 stating two clear days had lapsed since he forwarded the draft order of court to the defendant’s solicitors on 7 April 2006 and the defendant’s solicitors had not replied. Accordingly he was allowed to extract the order of court which he did on 17 April 2006 (“the Order of Court”). Questioned by the court on his misleading letter to the Registrar of the Subordinate Courts, counsel for the plaintiff sought to explain with the excuse (which I did not accept) that he meant the defendant’s solicitors did not reply in terms of accepting his draft order of court.

    It COULD mean that the Registrar was mislead into allowing them to extract the order. I don't know.

    Anyway, even if the lower court or Registrar did make a mistake, I'm not sure if it is fair to ask them to pay. If this reasoning is sound, then it would mean that in ALL appeal cases where the appellate court overturns the lower courts' judgment, the lower court has to pay. That doesn't quite make sense to me.

  12. #52
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Actually, I believe the court order was extracted so as to give JL the right to proceed with execution (ie writ of seizure and sale).

    What I think is stupid however, to put it more accurately, is for JL to quibble over the quantum of reasonable disbursements, ie S$290.35. He should have just taken 1k + 188 and go home with that.

    However, it could very well be (and is most likely the case) that 1k is insufficient to cover his own lawyer's fees, which is why he wanted to get as much as he can. He was also probably emboldened in the fact that the settlement terms recorded were favourable to him and thought he could ask for as much as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    What is more interesting is why the party went to apply for a Court Order for $290.35. That has to be one of the most stupid things ever done. The lawyers' time involved probably cost more than that already! Animosity between the two parties must have been extremely high for a Court order to be applied for such a small amount. Alas, the whole thing has now backfired on them both.

  13. #53

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Why would you need a court order to enforce a mediated solution? The point of mediation is that both parties go into it willingly and agree with the outcome. If the parties do not agree, why go to mediation in the first place? If the parties decide not to proceed with the agreed resolution, then clearly they should have started fresh proceedings rather than applying for a court order. That was dumb.

    PS The amount should have been agreed up front rather than leave the reasonable disbursements to be decided later. A lesson learnt for all mediators-- don't leave any loose ends, that's asking for trouble!


    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    Actually, I believe the court order was extracted so as to give JL the right to proceed with execution (ie writ of seizure and sale).

    What I think is stupid however, to put it more accurately, is for JL to quibble over the quantum of reasonable disbursements, ie S$290.35. He should have just taken 1k + 188 and go home with that.

    However, it could very well be (and is most likely the case) that 1k is insufficient to cover his own lawyer's fees, which is why he wanted to get as much as he can. He was also probably emboldened in the fact that the settlement terms recorded were favourable to him and thought he could ask for as much as possible.
    Last edited by waileong; 11th September 2007 at 07:01 PM.

  14. #54
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    No no, you got me wrong. I said you need a court order to start enforcement actions (ie to get the whole seizure done). I don't know why JL wanted to take out enforcement - you are right, in a mediated solution, both parties should have just agreed when/how/what to pay.

    Of course, they were quibbling over the disbursements and hence, JL probably decided to take out the atomic bomb and bomb JG. In order to do so, JL first needed to hire the atomic bomber (the court order) to drop the bomb (the writ).

    The parties willlingly agreed to go to mediation, and indeed, willingly entered settlement terms - they only went into disagreement as to the quantum of disbursements later on.

    Starting fresh proceedings cost a lot more.

    And it is not uncommon for things to be left hanging, at least during normal court judgments. Reason is because at the time of judgement, the amount of disbursements involved is usually not known, and which is why we have yet another procedure called "taxation of costs" where parties go before a Registrar to decide how much costs are to be awarded. That is for court cases, I don't know about CDR cases.



    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Why would you need a court order to enforce a mediated solution? The point of mediation is that both parties go into it willingly and agree with the outcome. If the parties do not agree, why go to mediation in the first place? If the parties decide not to proceed with the agreed resolution, then clearly they should have started fresh proceedings rather than applying for a court order. That was dumb.

    PS The amount should have been agreed up front rather than leave the reasonable disbursements to be decided later. A lesson learnt for all mediators-- don't leave any loose ends, that's asking for trouble!

  15. #55

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    Of course, they were quibbling over the disbursements and hence, JL probably decided to take out the atomic bomb and bomb JG. In order to do so, JL first needed to hire the atomic bomber (the court order) to drop the bomb (the writ).
    Sounds like a case of premature detonation...

  16. #56

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    And it is not uncommon for things to be left hanging, at least during normal court judgments. Reason is because at the time of judgement, the amount of disbursements involved is usually not known, and which is why we have yet another procedure called "taxation of costs" where parties go before a Registrar to decide how much costs are to be awarded. That is for court cases, I don't know about CDR cases.
    It is not uncommon for reasonable costs to be determined later as part of a judgement. However, this is not a judgement and such should not have been the practice. It's a pity the mediator was a judge who probably did it the usual way, not realising how much grief it would cause later.

    There should be no question of seizure in a mediated solution. If one party decide not to honour their side of the bargain, then the other party still retains all its rights at law to initiate proceedings.

    Expensive or not, fresh proceedings should have been the way, since there was no enforceable judgement, applying for a court order was dumb.

  17. #57

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    This was a true comedy of errors. The parties-- who should have left everything to insurance. The mediator-- who left things hanging, unknowingly allowing more contention. The lawyers-- applying for a court order on a mediated settlement. The Registrar-- issuing a court order on a mediated settlement. And the parties again-- fighting in court over such a small amount.

    Just goes to show that a little animosity goes a long way to making everyone's lives miserable.

  18. #58
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Well, the High Court did say that it was a practice that everyone has been doing (albeit wrongly) all this time. Its probably the story of the monkeys and the electrified cage all over again.

  19. #59
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Well unfortunately I don't know much about CDRs so I can't really give any more input at this time In any case, for future cases, the mediated settlements will be passed on for endorsement by a court, so these errors appear more procedural than substantive.

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    It is not uncommon for reasonable costs to be determined later as part of a judgement. However, this is not a judgement and such should not have been the practice. It's a pity the mediator was a judge who probably did it the usual way, not realising how much grief it would cause later.

    There should be no question of seizure in a mediated solution. If one party decide not to honour their side of the bargain, then the other party still retains all its rights at law to initiate proceedings.

    Expensive or not, fresh proceedings should have been the way, since there was no enforceable judgement, applying for a court order was dumb.

  20. #60

    Default Re: our courts and lawyers, teacher to pay thousands...

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    Well unfortunately I don't know much about CDRs so I can't really give any more input at this time In any case, for future cases, the mediated settlements will be passed on for endorsement by a court, so these errors appear more procedural than substantive.
    I hope the parties want that...

Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •