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UJN v UJO [2021] SGCA 18

Outcome: Application allowed in part.  


1  The husband filed an appeal against the Judge’s decision in respect of the division of matrimonial assets (the “main appeal”). The husband also filed a summons for leave to adduce evidence for the main appeal. 

Court’s decision

2  On the introduction of fresh evidence, the issue is whether there are special grounds to allow such evidence. The criteria for “special grounds” is set out in three requirements (the “three requirements”) as follows: (at [4])

(a) First, the evidence could not have been obtained with reasonable diligence for use at the hearing below. 
(b) Second, the evidence, if given, would probably have an important influence on the result of the case, though it may not be decisive. 
(c) Third, the evidence must be such as is presumably to be believed, or in other words, it must be apparently credible, though it need not be incontrovertible.

3  If the appeal is against a decision after a trial or a hearing bearing the characteristics of a trial, the three requirements should apply with full rigour. Otherwise, the court remains guided by the three requirements but is not obliged to apply it strictly. Even in the first category of appeals, the court should still consider the interests of justice in assessing whether to allow the fresh evidence to be adduced: at [5]

4  The court should generally be disinclined to allow a party to adduce fresh evidence on appeal if that evidence is in aid of a position which is inconsistent with the applicant’s position below. There should be finality in proceedings, and it is important to hold parties to their positions. Otherwise, it would be unfair to the opponent and to the court if a party were to take one position in the hearing below and yet be allowed to resile from it on appeal. The waste of court resources is another factor. It could be said that running a contrary case on appeal is an abuse of process as the appeal would not really arise from dissatisfaction with the decision below but really with the conduct of the case below on the party of the dissatisfied party: at [7].  

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.
Subject Matters: Appeals

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