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


Status
Not open for further replies.

wind30

Deregistered
Mar 14, 2004
2,927
0
0
#1
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+News/Courts+and+Crime/STIStory_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.
 

wind30

Deregistered
Mar 14, 2004
2,927
0
0
#2
who gains in this scenario?

not the woman, she just don't want to pay $1200 :confused:

no prizes for right answer though

..... somehow this does not seem right.

I find living in Singapore very stressful sometime due to the legal climate here. Is it like this everywhere in the world?

Law is supposed to be protecting the weak and the helpless.
 

Jan 8, 2006
53
0
0
#4
Helping the weak and helpless is one facet of the law. Sometimes, people, "for the principle of it", contest law suits to the end.

The lawyers who did the work also have a right to be paid. As to whether the fees are reasonable or whether it is morally justifiable, that's another issue. What if, for fighting a very small claim, the law suit takes years or go up to the highest court? Would it be right to ask the lawyer to give a huge discount or do it for free?

The people and facts involved differ. Lawyers usually "gain", yes. But they can be nice human beings under certain circumstances too. :think:
 

wind30

Deregistered
Mar 14, 2004
2,927
0
0
#5
Helping the weak and helpless is one facet of the law. Sometimes, people, "for the principle of it", contest law suits to the end.

The lawyers who did the work also have a right to be paid. As to whether the fees are reasonable or whether it is morally justifiable, that's another issue. What if, for fighting a very small claim, the law suit takes years or go up to the highest court? Would it be right to ask the lawyer to give a huge discount or do it for free?

The people and facts involved differ. Lawyers usually "gain", yes. But they can be nice human beings under certain circumstances too. :think:
ya but when Assomull & Partners pick up the lady's case, SURELY they can guess who will be footing their bill if they win.

ya bravo for taking the case to the high court.
 

foxwagon

New Member
Mar 13, 2005
687
0
0
#6
Pardon my ignorance as I don't own a car.
Are'nt motor accidents settled by their respective insurance companies if the parties would not be settling by private mutual agreements?

$45,000 could had bought a small car instead.
 

waileong

Deregistered
Feb 5, 2003
2,519
0
0
Visit site
#7
Law is supposed to be protecting the weak and the helpless.
Not really. At least not here.

For a start, our govt doesn't appoint an attorney for you if you can't afford one, unless it's a capital case.
 

waileong

Deregistered
Feb 5, 2003
2,519
0
0
Visit site
#8
Pardon my ignorance as I don't own a car.
Are'nt motor accidents settled by their respective insurance companies if the parties would not be settling by private mutual agreements?

$45,000 could had bought a small car instead.
Exactly. Except in this case, both wanted to settle directly and not affect their NCD's...
 

foxwagon

New Member
Mar 13, 2005
687
0
0
#9
Exactly. Except in this case, both wanted to settle directly and not affect their NCD's...
O no.
What's the saying?
Penny wise pound foolish?
 

yanyewkay

Senior Member
Sep 22, 2004
3,924
0
0
Cons digger.
#10
ya but when Assomull & Partners pick up the lady's case, SURELY they can guess who will be footing their bill if they win.

ya bravo for taking the case to the high court.
I thought all appeals will go to high court by default? So it's not a matter of whether they wanted to take it there.
 

V

vince123123

Guest
#11
Unfortunately, the legal system here prohibits contingency fees, hence legal assistance is usually only available to those who can afford it.

In the United States, those less well off people with good cases are able to hire lawyers because of contingency fees.

Not really. At least not here.

For a start, our govt doesn't appoint an attorney for you if you can't afford one, unless it's a capital case.
Actually, I think there's pro bono lawyers even for civil cases - although there's some sort of means testing involved I believe. Not too sure about this.
 

foxwagon

New Member
Mar 13, 2005
687
0
0
#13
How many BMW/Harley Davidson motor cycles can $45,000 buy?
 

Tupi Guy

Senior Member
Jan 6, 2003
2,133
0
0
#14
Law is supposed to be protecting the weak and the helpless.
:confused:

Perhaps only when our ancestor are not born yet.........It's just how you want look at it. For some, laws are meant to protect the "needy" people who can just buy needs.
 

Jan 8, 2006
53
0
0
#15
the argument against contingency fees is that it promotes litigation. as long as you can find a lawyer who will take the chance of you winning (even for a not-so-strong case), proceedings will start. look at the United States and compare it with the legal climate in UK and Singapore. having contingency fees may not be the best way to help the poor.

there is legal aid for non-criminal matters. there is means testing involved and even then, you may have to pay the legal aid bureau some contribution toward legal fees.

---

i think this case just sounds ridiculous, whether it's the money involved or the legal point involved but well. i just hope that the firm acting for the teacher doesn't actually intend to recover all of the S$80,000 that was said to be outstanding.
 

waileong

Deregistered
Feb 5, 2003
2,519
0
0
Visit site
#17
the argument against contingency fees is that it promotes litigation. as long as you can find a lawyer who will take the chance of you winning (even for a not-so-strong case), proceedings will start. look at the United States and compare it with the legal climate in UK and Singapore. having contingency fees may not be the best way to help the poor.

there is legal aid for non-criminal matters. there is means testing involved and even then, you may have to pay the legal aid bureau some contribution toward legal fees.
Most people who own cars will not be able to qualify for legal aid.

Frankly, our means testing is so low that only Bangladeshi workers on criminal charges can qualify. And even then, it's done voluntarily by the Law Society, the govt does not provide public attorneys as defence lawyers for accused.
 

waileong

Deregistered
Feb 5, 2003
2,519
0
0
Visit site
#18
This is like insanity.

Does this mean that justice is only available to those who can afford it? If so, then something is wrong.
Many things are wrong.

In this case, however, the parties should have claimed from their insurance, rather than fight it out themselves.

PS. We have the Small Claims tribunal to offer cheap justice for low-value cases (ie under $20,000 in dispute). However, SCT won't do cases involving motor claims.
 

Gunbucker

New Member
Sep 14, 2005
1,066
0
0
East Coast
sanzaw.smugmug.com
#19
Justice is often symbolized as a woman. Hence prone to miscarriages, and tend to be more favourable to those who can afford her the Bling-Blings.

Sad.
 

waileong

Deregistered
Feb 5, 2003
2,519
0
0
Visit site
#20
the argument against contingency fees is that it promotes litigation. as long as you can find a lawyer who will take the chance of you winning (even for a not-so-strong case), proceedings will start. look at the United States and compare it with the legal climate in UK and Singapore. having contingency fees may not be the best way to help the poor.
What's wrong with promoting litigation? It may be better than a situation where people have no worthwhile means to pursue remedial actions for torts against them.
 

Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom