It is not often that a judgment contains a reference to Aristotle’s work or a coda at its conclusion. The recent Singapore Court of Appeal judgment of Gay Choon Ing v Loh Sze Ti Terence Peter (delivered by Andrew Phang JA) contained both, the latter of which an extensive judicial exposition on the difficulties (and tentative solutions) relating to the contractual doctrine of consideration. This re-evaluation of consideration at the slightest opportunity is unsurprising, given the conceptual problems that have afflicted the doctrine.There have been various judicial solutions, generally capable of classification into two distinct types: first, through an internal re-definition of concepts within consideration (for example, the equation of factual and legal benefit or detriment in Williams v Roffey Bros & Nicholls (Constructors) Ltd); second, through the application of an external doctrine in conjunction with or in replacement of consideration (for example, the arguable substitution of promissory estoppel for consideration in Collier v P & MJ Wright (Holdings) Ltd). For convenience, the former type will be termed the ‘internal solution’, and the latter termed the ‘external solution’. The application of either type of solution has different implications about the continued utility of consideration. Whilst leaving its final conclusion deliberately undecided, the Court in Gay Choon Ing seemingly preferred an external solution, providing yet another string to the bow for the abolition of consideration in contract law, at least in the Singapore context. However, questions remain as to the consequences of such abolition, particularly when, as this comment will suggest, there is insufficient recognition of the distinction between (and consequences of) internal and external solutions to the considerable problems of consideration.
Asian Studies | Commercial Law
Commercial Law Quarterly
Commercial Law Association of Australia
Compromising on Consideration in Singapore: Gay Choon Ing v Loh Sze Ti Terence Peter. (2009). Commercial Law Quarterly. 23, (1), 11-15. Research Collection School Of Law.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research/1352
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