Jurisdiction - Singapore
Singapore – Banking: Teo Wai Cheong v Credit Industriel et Commercial [2013] 3 SLR 573.

12 March, 2014


Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Singapore – Dispute Resolution


Court of Appeal illustrates potential adverse consequences of failure to meet discovery obligations in the context of a banking dispute. This decision may have wider implications on how members in the banking industry and their legal advisors conduct themselves in the litigation process.

Discovery is an important part of the litigation process, and it is sometimes difficult to assess what should and should not be disclosed. This is particularly so for the banking industry, which may have to balance issues of client confidentiality as well. In this decision, the Court of Appeal demonstrated the potential consequences of failing to meet discovery obligations.

The Plaintiff private bank claimed against its client, the Defendant, for losses arising from certain products he had allegedly purchased through his relationship manager, Ng. The Defendant’s defence was that he had never authorised the purchase of these products.
At first instance, the High Court found that the Defendant had authorised Ng to make the purchases. However, the Court of Appeal held that the Plaintiff had failed to comply with its disclosure obligations, and ordered a retrial. By the time of the retrial, Ng was no longer available to testify. The Court of Appeal thus excluded Ng’s evidence. Upon consideration of the admissible evidence before it, the Court of Appeal then held that the purchases had not been authorised.

The Plaintiff bank’s case was deeply affected by its failure to meet its discovery obligations at the first trial, leading eventually to the dismissal of its initially successful claim. The Court of Appeal highlighted that it is the duty of the litigant, its solicitors and its in-house counsel to ensure that all relevant documents are disclosed.


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Lai Yew Fei, Partner, Rajah & Tann
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