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David Smyth

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RPC | Hong Kong | 24 Aug 2021

Security for costs in context of incorrect address

Re Buildtech Enterprise International Ltd & Ors is a recent reminder that when a plaintiff provides an incorrect address in their originating court document (in order to commence proceedings), it does not necessarily follow that a court will make an order for security for costs against them. A failure to provide an address or a correct address is one of several grounds pursuant to which a......
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RPC | Hong Kong | 27 Jul 2021

Resumed trial or new trial of old case

In a recent case, a judge of the High Court allowed the plaintiff's application for a new trial (a trial de novo or retrial) of a trial that had been adjourned part-heard in July 2008, just before the court's summer vacation that year. This represents a quite remarkable outcome. Assuming that the case does not settle, a new trial is unlikely to be heard for a couple of years and, when it is......
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RPC | Hong Kong | 13 Jul 2021

Court considers legal privilege and journalistic material in context of national security law

In an interesting decision, handed down recently and described as "the first case of its type" in Hong Kong, the Court of First Instance of the High Court had to consider claims to legal professional privilege and journalistic material in the context of orders for the production of documents made pursuant to the relevant implementation rules for the national security law. The court's decision......
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RPC | Hong Kong | 15 Jun 2021

Court of Appeal on extensions of time to appeal and stays

The Court of Appeal recently had the opportunity to review some important points of practice regarding appeals against first-instance judgments – in particular, with respect to applications to extend time to appeal and to stay execution of judgments pending an appeal. While a short delay (which can be adequately explained) in serving a notice of appeal may not be fatal, a substantial delay of......
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RPC | Hong Kong | 25 May 2021

Adjournment of trial only in 'exceptional circumstances'

Trial dates are regarded as 'milestone dates' for civil litigation and are therefore immovable, save for 'exceptional circumstances'. In such circumstances, the courts have a discretion to adjourn a trial. An exercise of such discretion involves balancing the prejudice suffered by the parties, as a result of an adjournment, with the primary aim of securing a just resolution of a dispute in......
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RPC | Hong Kong | 30 Mar 2021

Burden of proving witness competency

The Court of Appeal recently reviewed what appears to have been a novel point regarding which party in civil proceedings has the burden of proving that a witness is competent to give evidence at the time of giving evidence. The decision of the first-instance judge and Court of Appeal on the principal point in dispute accords with what is the commonly held understanding – namely, that it is......
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RPC | Hong Kong | 2 Mar 2021

Court of Appeal sets aside contempt regarding statement of truth

In a recent case, the Court of Appeal allowed the defendant's appeal against a lower court's finding that he had made a false statement of truth with respect to an admission in a defence filed on behalf of a company. As is normal in such appeals, the Court of Appeal was reluctant to disturb a lower court's primary finding. However, in this case, the Court of Appeal considered that the lower......
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RPC | Hong Kong | 16 Feb 2021

Court reviews implied undertaking not to use documents for collateral purpose

The High Court recently released a party from an implied undertaking not to use documents for a collateral purpose. In this case, the documents in question had been provided by the second respondent to the police in support of its criminal complaint against the applicant. The case serves as a useful reminder of some general principles in an area of practice that can cause problems for the unwary.
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RPC | Hong Kong | 26 Jan 2021

Court considers claim to money in court once injunction discharged

The High Court recently allowed a defendant's application for the release to him of a sum of money paid into court by the plaintiffs in order to fortify an asset freezing injunction that the plaintiffs had obtained against (among others) the defendant. The case reviews some interesting legal issues with regard to Quistclose trust claims in the context of payments into court. It also draws......
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RPC | Hong Kong, United Kingdom | 12 Jan 2021

Phase 3 of court guidance for remote hearings for civil business

A third guidance note on the use of remote hearings for civil proceedings took effect on 2 January 2021. The guidance note (representing Phase 3) provides for wider use of videoconferencing facilities and telephone hearings with respect to all levels of civil courts in Hong Kong. In particular, Phase 3 is more comprehensive and provides more options for connecting with the courts'......
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