GRANT THORNTON INTERNATIONAL LTD AND OTHERS v. TANG CHUNG WAH AND ANOTHER

HCCL 17/2012

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

COMMERCIAL ACTION NO 17 OF 2012

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BETWEEN

GRANT THORNTON INTERNATIONAL 1st Plaintiff
LIMITED
JONATHAN RUSSELL LEONG 2nd Plaintiff
RINGO CHIU WING CHEUNG 3rd Plaintiff
ANDREW LAM HUNG YUN 4th Plaintiff
GARY TERENCE JAMES 5th Plaintiff
LO NGAI HANG 6th Plaintiff
(also known as TONY LO NGAI HANG)
AU YIU KWAN 7th Plaintiff
(also known as ALVIN AU YIU KWAN)
LI WING YIN 8th Plaintiff
(also known as AMOS LI WING YIN)
NORMAN TWUI KA CHE 9th Plaintiff

and

TANG CHUNG WAH 1st Defendant
(also known as ALAN TANG)
LEE FUNG YING 2nd Defendant
(also known as ALISON WONG)
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Before: Hon Ng J in Chambers

Date of Hearing: 29 May 2013
Date of Decision: 29 May 2013

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D E C I S I O N

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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

“Unless the Defendants do within 7 days from today file and serve an English translation of their Defence and Counterclaim dated4 February 2013, the Defence and Counterclaim be struck out and default judgment be entered in favour of the Plaintiffs in termsof the Statement of Claim herein.”

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.

(Peter Ng)
Judge of the Court of First Instance
High Court

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.