SINGAPORE: A court has rejected the fee claims of a person who wanted to be compensated for his time for accompanying his spouse to court for her lawsuit against PUB.
His spouse, Ms Chan Hui Peng, had sued PUB for S$5 million after falling into an open manhole.
The trial was set for two weeks in November 2020, however Ms Chan accepted an undisclosed settlement provide by PUB on the fourth day.
Ms Chan’s husband, Mr Sim Kwang Jui, accompanied her to and from court for the 4 trial days. He had been subpoenaed by PUB as a witness, however his attendance as a witness was scheduled for the second week, so he by no means attended court as a witness.
In a judgment issued on Friday (Sep 23), Justice Andre Maniam detailed how Mr Sim sought fee from PUB for attending court on the primary day of trial.
He requested for S$34.59 for transport and meal bills, offering receipts, and S$750 for a day’s value of labor. He mentioned he earned S$14,700 a month.
PUB mentioned it was not obliged to pay Mr Sim something, however the board’s legal professionals from WhiteFern LLC mentioned they may advise PUB to pay for the transport and meal bills of S$34.59. Mr Sim didn’t need this provide.
He mentioned he would be referring the problem of different subpoena charges on his first day of attendance in court to the Law Society of Singapore, however WhiteFern instructed him this was not the right discussion board.
Mr Sim complained to LawSoc anyway, claiming that PUB’s legal professionals had “cheated” him out of fee for attending court on the primary day. His criticism was dismissed.
Mr Sim then filed a declare within the Small Claims Tribunals against WhiteFern. He raised his declare to S$3,815.09 and alleged that he had a contract with WhiteFern for the supply of providers for that sum. He claimed that these providers had been for his court attendance as a subpoenaed witness. At this level, he had elevated his declare from sooner or later’s value of court attendance to 5 days.
The Small Claims Tribunals dismissed Mr Sim’s declare. At this level, PUB supplied Mr Sim S$1,000 to settle the matter, in accordance to court paperwork.
However, he turned it down and mentioned he would file a lawsuit if he was not paid S$3,932.93 and complained to the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.
PUB then wrote to the trial choose, Justice Maniam, to resolve the problem of whether or not Mr Sim ought to be paid for being subpoenaed by PUB. By this time, Mr Sim’s claims had risen to S$7,826.28.
This quantity included claims for his unsuccessful complaints and claims to LawSoc and the Small Claims Tribunals, and a declare for his time in writing to court.
PUB, LAWYERS NOT OBLIGED TO PAY HIM
Justice Maniam mentioned in his full grounds of determination on Friday that neither PUB nor its legal professionals had been obliged to pay Mr Sim something for the subpoena.
“Mr Sim went to court as a result of he was accompanying his spouse, the plaintiff. He was not attending court on the subpoena, he was not complying with an order to attend court, and he didn’t incur time and bills in complying with the subpoena for which he ought fairly to be compensated,” mentioned the choose.
He pointed that Mr Sim supposed to attend his wife’s trial even earlier than the subpoena was served on him.
He talked about his unique intention to comply with his wife’s trial proceedings and “watch after and take care” of her during the trial, however complained that he was disadvantaged of his privilege and satisfaction of utilizing his depart to sit within the court listening to to comply with the continuing.
This was as a result of he was subpoenaed as a witness and requested to depart the courtroom whereas different witnesses testified, as he was a cloth factual witness.
He had utilized for depart from his job on Nov 12, 2020 and it was authorized that very same day. Three days later, PUB’s legal professionals served the subpoena on him.
Even earlier than the trial commenced, Mr Sim had written to WhiteFern to ask in regards to the difficulty of fee for his attendance as a witness. He instructed the regulation agency that he wanted to apply depart so as to attend court, however didn’t inform the agency that he had already secured the depart for the primary week of trial.
“Mr Sim has spent the higher a part of two years pursuing fee that he’s not entitled to,” concluded Justice Maniam. “He ought to cease chasing after the wind.”
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