IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
COMMERCIAL ACTION NO 17 OF 2012
D E C I S I O N
1. This is the adjourned hearing of an application for an unless order by the Plaintiffs against the two Defendants.
2. On 7 March 2013, after a contested hearing, this court ordered the Defendants to inter alia serve on the Plaintiffs and file incourt an English translation of their Defence and Counterclaim dated 4 February 2013 within 14 days. This court handed down its reasonson 11 March 2013.
3. The Defendants having failed to comply with the order, the Plaintiffs issued a summons on 21 March 2013 seeking an unless orderagainst the Defendants.
4. The matter first came before this court on 11 April 2013. The 1st Defendant did not turn up. The 2nd Defendant did, and told this court she would comply with the order of 7 March 2013. On that basis, this court adjourned the Plaintiff’ssummons for unless order, and further extended the time for the Defendants to file and serve an English translation of their Defenceand Counterclaim for another 14 days.
5. Today is 29 May 2013, almost 3 months since this court made the order on 7 March 2013. The English translation is still not forthcoming.
6. The Statement of Claim is a two-page document. The Plaintiffs’ claim is for GBP57,500, being costs ordered against the Defendantsand summarily assessed by a court in the Chancery Division of the High Court of England and Wales. The proceedings were initiatedby the Defendants.
7. As I said in my reasons handed down on 11 March 2013, the Defendants are educated professionals conversant with both the Chineseand English languages. The Defence and Counterclaim in this action is also a two-page document. I have little doubt that if theychoose to, the Defendants themselves would be able to translate the document into English. If they prefer external translation services,the expenses are unlikely to be substantial.
8. Court orders are to be complied with, whether or not there is a pending appeal against it. The public interest in the proper administrationof justice clearly requires that to be so. If people are free to comply with or ignore court orders, the entire judicial system willcollapse.
9. There is no doubt in my mind that the Defendants’ failure to comply with the court orders made on 7 March 2013 and 11 April 2013are intentional and contumelious.
10. I am satisfied that this is a proper case to make an unless order. The order that I am going to make is that
11. I also order that the costs of the Summons for unless order be to the Plaintiffs, including the hearings on 11 April 2013 and today,summarily assessed at HK$21,000.
Ms Amanda Beattie, of King & Wood Mallesons, for the plaintiffs
The 1st defendant appeared in person
The 2nd defendant appeared in person
Please refer to CACV193/2013 for the relevant appeal(s) to the Court of Appeal.