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BOI v BOJ [2019] SGCA 30

Outcome: Appeal allowed in part


1 During parties’ marriage, $1.25m won through a Singapore Pools 4-D bet was deposited into parties’ joint bank account and used mainly to repay the matrimonial home mortgage loan. One of the issues on appeal was the High Court Judge’s decision to attribute the lottery winnings entirely as the Husband contributions towards the acquisition of the matrimonial home.

Court’s Decision:

2 The Court of Appeal allowed part of the Wife’s appeal by attributing the contributions towards the acquisition of the matrimonial home from the lottery winnings to each party equally. 

3 Lottery winnings received during the marriage constitute a matrimonial asset under s 112(10) of the Women’s Charter, and form part of the matrimonial pool to be divided pursuant to s 112(1) of the Women’s Charter; they do not come within the meaning of “gift” or “inheritance” or constitute a windfall in the same manner: at [9] to [11] and [18].

4 While who purchased the lottery ticket was a factor to be considered, the intention with which the lottery ticket was purchased was more important. Consistent with the concept of marriage as an equal co-operative partnership of efforts, the party who purchased the lottery ticket should not be regarded as the sole contributor of the lottery winnings to the pool of matrimonial assets if he or she had purchased the ticket for the family with the intention that the whole family should benefit if the ticket was a winning one. Much would depend on the precise facts and circumstances of the particular case: at [20] and [26].

5 The depositing of lottery winnings into parties’ joint account and utilisation of this money to pay for the mortgage of the matrimonial home was strong (but not conclusive) evidence that the party purchasing the lottery ticket intended to benefit the family instead of himself or herself: at [22].

6 Lottery winnings cannot be equated with CPF savings (the use of which is considered as that party’s contribution) as: (a) unlike CPF savings which are the fruits of one’s labour, lottery ticket winnings are realised as a matter of luck; and (b) the extreme disproportionality between the amount paid for a winning ticket and the amount of winnings makes the source of funds for the ticket much less important: at [23] to [25].

7 There is a presumption that both spouses contributed the lottery winnings equally to the pool of matrimonial assets, unless the spouse who purchased the winning lottery ticket can show that the intention was to benefit himself or herself and not the whole family. On the contrary, a presumption would not arise if the evidence showed that both parties had pooled their resources to purchase the lottery ticket: at [29].

The full text of the decision can be found here.

This summary is provided to assist the public to have a better understanding of the Court’s judgment. It is not intended to be a substitute for the reasons of the Court. All numbers in bold font and square brackets refer to the corresponding paragraph numbers in the Court’s judgment.

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