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Tan Chee Heong v. Chen Hua [2023] SGHC 118

Home > Our Cases > Tan Chee Heong v. Chen Hua [2023] SGHC 118

This case is another crucial decision in the context of jurisdiction and personal injury claims that was argued and won by Hoh Law Corporation.

The facts of this case were as follows:

The respondent commenced an action in the District Court against the appellant for injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Interlocutory Judgment was entered for the respondent for 80% of the damages to be assessed, the 20% reduction was on account of the respondent’s contributory negligence. Thereafter, the respondent filed a request for a hearing for assessment of damages and quantified his claim at $734,168.31.

The issues to be determined in this appeal were as follows:

  • Whether the phrase “abandon the excess amount” under s.22 of the State Courts Act [“SCA”] meant that a claimant was required to amend their pleadings or to re-quantify their claim to a sum not exceeding the DC Limit to bring it before the DC; and
  • Where there is a reduction of the claim by reason of the claimant’s contributorily negligence, whether that reduction is applied against (i) the actual damages assessed; or (ii) the re-quantified claim at or below the DC Limit.

The Court of Appeal had decided that s.22 of the SCA shall operate in the following manner:

  • The District Court can hear an action where the amount claimed exceeds the DC Limit on condition that the claimant confirms that they will abandon the excess amount.
  • The claimant need not amend their pleadings or re-quantify their claim to not exceed the DC Limit to avail themselves of s.22 SCA. It is sufficient that the claimant gives notice of that choice to the DC.
  • Where the District Court determines that damages should be reduced on account of contributory negligence by the claimant or otherwise, that reduction is applied against the damages assessed, and not the DC Limit. The claimant will be awarded the reduced sum, which cannot exceed the DC Limit.

The respondent was represented by Mr. N Srinivasan of Hoh Law Corporation.

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