CACV 14/2009 AND CACV 280/2009
IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF APPEAL
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 14 OF 2009 AND 280 OF 2009
(ON APPEAL FROM HCPI NO. 254 OF 2006)
Before: Hon Rogers Acting CJHC in Chambers
Date of Hearing: 22 February 2010
Date of Decision: 22 February 2010
D E C I S I O N
1. On this occasion, it has been the court which has called for a directions hearing. The reason the court has called for that is thatthese are now two appeals which will be heard together. The first appeal is from a decision early last year and the appeal was fixedin July. It is quite clear that there are appeals not only as to whether time limits should have been extended for bringing the casebut also on liability.
2. There is a transcript which is in Chinese and there are, apparently, many Chinese documents. It was quite clear that the Defendant/Appellant’spreference would be that those should not need to be translated, which is a reasonable course, but no application was made for abilingual Bench when the matter was set down. The Appellant then appears to have been vacillating as to what course it would takeand, as late as 18 February, they wrote a letter to the court which makes clear that there are a number of documents which will needtranslating if the appeal is to be heard by a monolingual Bench. They say:
Then, in the penultimate paragraph of the letter, they say:
3. In my view, that letter simply does not understand the way the system works. Benches cannot be rustled up at the last minute. Appealsare fixed anything up to six months or more ahead and it is simply not possible, at the last minute, to find a bilingual Bench andthat has been made clear to the Appellants by the court for a very long time. That approach to the preparation of an appeal whichis to take place in two months’ time is simply not acceptable.
4. It was for that reason that the Respondents to the appeal, the Plaintiff’s solicitors, set forth a very sensible time-scale ifthis case is going to be heard before a monolingual Bench, which it is going to be if the dates in April are to be kept, and thereis good reason why they should be kept, if for no other reason, the events relating to this appeal took place 10 years ago.
5. So in my view, the necessity for this directions hearing has been entirely because the Appellant’s solicitors have been very dilatoryin their preparation, have not concentrated their minds, have not prepared the case as they should have done and I am going to orderthat the Appellant should pay the costs in any event. I am seriously minded as to whether or not it should be the solicitors whoshould bear the costs, but, on this occasion, if the Appellant’s solicitors can draw this matter to their client’s attention,and they must do so, and if the clients want the solicitors to pay, that seems to me to be the correct course but it is going tobe up to the clients to decide.
6. I am going to order that the costs be to the Respondent in any event.
Mr Tim Kwok, instructed by Messrs Siao Wen and Leung, for the Plaintiff/Respondent
Ms Selina Lau, instructed by Messrs Ince & Co., for the Defendant/Appellant