IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CIVIL ACTION NO 2263 OF 2013
Before: Deputy District Judge Phillis Loh in Chambers (open to public)
Date of Hearing: 7 October 2014
Date of Decision: 10 October 2014
1. This is the defendant’s application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal against my decision dated 18 June 2014 (“theDecision”) granting leave for the plaintiff to file a fresh statement of claim annexed to the plaintiff’s summons filed on 23May 2014 (“the fresh SOC”).
2. The defendant’s application was filed on 5 July 2014, 3 days out of time. It has not taken out an application for leave out oftime. Its director Mr Lau Chun Ming made the application in court and, despite the lack of properly adduced evidence, attemptedto explain the reasons for the delay, namely that he had fallen sick on those few days. I could see no prejudice suffered by theplaintiff as a result of the 3-day delay. Mr Docherty for the plaintiff confirmed in court that the plaintiff took no issue on this.
3. In these circumstances, I was minded to grant leave for the defendant to proceed out of time and proceeded to hear the defendant’sapplication for leave to appeal. As it turns out, the question whether leave out of time should be granted under Order 58 rule 2(10)of the Rules of the District Court has become academic for reasons stated in this decision.
Grounds of appeal
4. In essence, the defendant argues that the Decision was wrong as the court did not have a full picture of the events of this andother related actions (mentioned in paragraphs 36 and 37 of the Decision). About 20 important documents were allegedly omitted inthe hearing bundle. The omitted documents are now exhibited in the affidavit of Mr Lau Chun Ming filed on 24 September 2014 in supportof the defendant’s application for leave to appeal.
5. The defendant also alleged misconduct and default on the part of the plaintiff in conducting these proceedings, designed to oppressthe defendant. It was unfair to the defendant for the court to grant leave for the plaintiff to file the fresh SOC and to proceedthe action.
6. Section 63A(2), District Court Ordinance, Cap 336 states the following:-
7. Of the 20 documents allegedly missing from the hearing bundle, 14 of them (E37 to E49; E51) are court orders and decisions, anddocuments filed by the parties in this action. They are all in the court files and there is no question that the court did not havea full picture of the case. The other 6 documents (E50, E52 to E56) are those filed by the parties in other court actions and notrelevant to the present proceedings.
8. As regards the conduct of the plaintiff and default of its solicitors in failing to comply with the unless order, these matterswere taken into account by this court in considering whether relief against sanction should be granted as discussed in the Decision.
9. The defendant rightly pointed out that in paragraph 35 of the Decision, the filing date of the Defence should be 1 August 2013 (not5 July 2013 which was the date of the Defence); also there was a Supplemental Defence filed on 2 August 2013. Mr Docherty for theplaintiff confirmed in court that there should be no ambiguity regarding the plaintiff’s responsibility to pay costs, and thatthe plaintiff would bear all wasted costs of the defendant in respect of both the Defence filed on 1 August 2013 and the SupplementalDefence filed on 2 August 2013.
10. The defendant’s arguments do not assist its application for leave to appeal.
11. I am not persuaded that I have erred in points of law or fact in the Decision. There is no reasonable prospect of success in the proposed appeal, and I do not believe there is any other reason why the appeal shouldbe heard by the Court of Appeal in the interests of justice. There is also no basis for a stay of the action.
12. I therefore dismiss the defendant’s application for leave to appeal.
13. I make an order nisi that costs of this application be to the plaintiff to be taxed if not agreed. The costs order shall becomeabsolute after 14 days.
Mr Michael John Docherty of Haley & Co, for the plaintiff
The defendant appeared in person