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LEE AH TEE v ONG TIOW PHENG & ORS

FEDERAL COURT
WAN SULEIMAN, MOHAMED AZMI & HASHIM YEOP A SANI FJJ
Summary of Fact of the Case
1. Appellant took out a petition under section 181 of the Companies Act, 1965 as a
shareholder of a company and alleged mismanagement, misappropriation of company
funds, fraud, embezzlement and general disregard for the rules of the company.
2 March 1982 : First Hearing
3 March 1982 : Hearing commenced and continued, and then adjourned to 17 March
1982 and then adjourned again to 7 April 1982 for continued hearing.
7 April 1982 : Appellant lost his counsel who had discharged themselves. The
appellant new counsel applied for adjournment which was granted and fixed to be on 7
June 1982.
7 June 1982 : Appellants counsel applied for adjournment and was fixed on 24 June
1982.
24 June 1982 : Appellant again applied for an adjournment apparently to engage a new
counsel.
2. Judicial Commissioner refuses to give an adjournment after a series of adjournment
made before this.
Issue:
Whether tthe learned Judicial Commissioner was wrong to deny him the adjournment he
asked for.
Appellants Arguments
Respondents Arguments

Courts decision and reasoning

The respondent opposed the application on the grounds


that like all the previous applications for adjournments
by the appellant this was also applied for at the last
minute
1. On the facts of this case, the Court found no
ground to disagree with the learned Judicial
Commissioner and accordingly dismissed the
appeal on the question of adjournment. The
learned Judicial Commissioner exercised his
discretion correctly in refusing a further
adjournment after all the previous adjournments.
2. The Court has adopt the following principles as

regards the discretion in allowing or refusing an


adjournment:(1) 1

Whether or not a party should be granted an


adjournment is wholly at the discretion of
the Judge. He would exercise the discretion
solely upon his view of the facts.

(2) 1

Prima facie this discretion is unfettered.

(3) 1

The question to ask in any particular case is


whether on the facts there are adequate or
sufficient reasons to refuse the adjournment.

(4) 1

Although an appellate court has power to


interfere with the Judge's decision in regard
to the granting of an adjournment, it would
refrain from doing so unless it appears that
such discretion has been exercised in a way
which tended to show that all necessary
matters were not taken into consideration or
the decision was otherwise arbitrarily made.

(5) 1

An appellate court ought to be very slow to


interfere with the exercise of the discretion.
But if it appears that the result of the order
made below would be to defeat the rights of
the parties altogether or that there would be
an injustice to one or the other of the parties
then the appellate court has power and
indeed a duty to review the exercise of the
discretion.

3. This is not really a case of refusing an


application for adjournment but a case of
refusing to further adjourn the hearing after a
number of adjournments granted previously.