In a common law, adversarial system of litigation, “discovery” is often described as one of the most fundamental rules that ensure the just and efficient disposal of a dispute; parties are expected to conduct litigation “cards face up on the table” and disclose all relevant evidence before any hearing of the dispute, so that they can evaluate the strength of their respective cases and clarify the issues between them. Surprises at trial are also minimised, and parties may even be encouraged to settle if proper disclosure is made. In Teo Wai Cheong v Crédit Industriel et Commercial, the Singapore Court of Appeal held that the most material evidence of the plaintiff respondent bank was inadmissible. This was after the bank had been given several opportunities at various points in the proceedings to fulfil its discovery obligations properly. The court further observed that the bank’s egregious breaches of its discovery obligations precluded it from arguing any form of prejudice suffered to its case as a result of the evidence being excluded. It then delivered unequivocal warnings to the legal profession, including in-house lawyers, that any dereliction of duty in relation to their clients’ discovery obligations may lead to the incurring of wasted costs, while at the same time noting that this consequence may be mitigated or nullified in special circumstances, such as where the client is sophisticated and not lacking in resources.
Asian Studies | Civil Law
Law, Society and Governance
Civil Justice Quarterly
Sweet & Maxwell
CHEN, Siyuan and POON, Nicholas.
Recent Developments in Discovery in Singapore: Teo Wai Cheong v Credit Industriel et Commercial  SGCA 33. (2014). Civil Justice Quarterly. 33, (1), 32-40. Research Collection School Of Law (SMU Access Only).
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research_smu/59