(Taiwan)

The Supreme Court rendered the 103-Tai-Shang-1065 Civil Decision of May 29, 2014 (hereinafter, the "Decision"), holding that since a witness is an irreplaceable evidentiary method, if a witness was indeed present and witnessed the facts to be verified and is required to clarify factual relations, the court shall not readily give up the examination of the witness.

According to the facts underlying the Decision, Individual B and Individual C and Individual D, who is not a party to this lawsuit, pooled together a fund to purchase a land. Individual B was in charge of selling the land and obtaining the full payment before it was distributed according to the ratio of contribution to the fund. Individual B successively wired and delivered the distributed amount Individual D was entitled to Individual A, the agent of Individual D, by cash and check. However, a check carrying an amount of NT$2 million was dishonored when it was presented upon maturity. Individual D assigned the claim of such NT$2 million to Individual A. Therefore, Individual A filed a complaint to request Individual B to deliver the distributed payment. Individual B contended that the check was delivered to Individual A as the benefit that Individual D, who was not a party to the lawsuit, was entitled to when the land jointly developed and consolidated by Individual A and a person who is not a party to the lawsuit was purchased. Therefore, Individual A was not entitled to assert any right.

Individual A's complaint was rejected in the decision of the original trial court on the ground that according to information recorded in the ledger, it could be concluded that the check at issue was delivered to Individual A as the benefit to which Individual D, who is not a party to the lawsuit, was entitled as jointly agreed by the contributing shareholders. In addition, it was found in the decision of the original trial court that the ledger at issue produced by Individual B did contain handwritten notes, while the other witnesses testified that they did not see the handwritten notes. Therefore, the original trial court further believed that the testimonies of the other witnesses were not acceptable and pointed out that since the check at issue were to be recovered by Individual D, who is not a party to this lawsuit, as agreed, Individual A's claim was groundless.

In contrast, it was pointed out in this Decision that a witness is a irreplaceable evidentiary method, and that if a witness was indeed present and witnessed the facts to be verified, the court should not readily ignore the witness. Examination of the evidence in this matter shows that the typed portions in the copies of the ledgers separately produced by Individual A and Individual B are exactly the same, but the evidence produced by Individual B contains handwritten notes. Such annotation was still disputed since there was no evidence to prove by whom and at what time it was created, while Individual E, a witness, who was the integrator and broker for the purchase of the land using the pooled fund, was present in the preparation of the ledger at issue and can prove the circumstance in which the check was delivered at that time. It was held, without prudent consideration, in the original decision that there was no need to summon Individual E. Therefore, it was found in the Decision the original decision was rash and that Individual A's appeal was well-grounded. Hence, the original decision was reversed and remanded to the original trial court.