Singapore case – Specific Discovery – Sanae Achar v Sci-Gen Ltd

A new case from the Singapore High Court involves an appeal against an order for specific discovery of documents. The case is Sanae Achar v Sci-Gen Ltd
[2011] SGHC 87  The appellant lost and was ordered to disclose more or less what had been demanded. She was ordered to pay costs fixed at $1500.

For now, I will leave you to read it without much commentary from me – my focus at the moment is on conference preparations and interesting and important distractions turn up every time I turn back to what I am really supposed to be doing. In reading it you will note that the rules are very close to their equivalents under the CPR of England & Wales. This was no accident; apart from our shared common law tradition, the Singapore courts watch closely what happens in other jurisdictions and are shrewd to adopt, at a steady pace, those procedural measures which seem to work elsewhere. We do the same, which is why judgments like this are of interest. They have sensibly stuck with the word “discovery” and (a point of sentiment to those of us of a certain age), the discovery rules appear in Order 24, as ours used to.

I will draw attention to one point dear to my heart. The judgment ends with a reference to the passage at paragraph 46 of Digicel v Cable & Wireless in which Morgan J adopted Jacob LJ’s point in Nichia v Argos about unturned stones and smoking guns (see paragraphs 44-52 of Nichia). As quoted in the Singapore judgment it reads:

[T]he [discovery] rules do not require that no stone should be left unturned. This may mean that a relevant document, even “a smoking gun” is not found. This attitude is justified by considerations of proportionality

I quote this in almost every talk I give, and see it as the single most important paragraph in any judgment about disclosure.

My thanks to Senior Assistant Registrar Yeong Zee Kin of the Singapore High Court for drawing my attention to this judgment to which, as I say, I will revert in due course.


About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
This entry was posted in Discovery, eDisclosure, eDiscovery, Electronic disclosure, Singapore. Bookmark the permalink.

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