Chan Hay (Hee) Koo v Hui Shun Cheong

Court:District Court (Hong Kong)
Judgement Number:DCCJ1589/1970
Judgment Date:15 Jul 1970
DCCJ001589/1970 CHAN HAY (HEE) KOO v. HUI SHUN CHEONG

DCCJ001589/1970

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF HONG KONG

HOLDEN AT VICTORIA

CIVIL JURISDICTION

ACTION NO. 1589 OF 1970

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BETWEEN
CHAN HAY (HEE) KOO Plaintiff
AND
HUI SHUN CHEONG Defendant

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Coram: District Judge T.L. Yang in Court.

Date of Judgment: 15 July 1970

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JUDGMENT

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1. In these proceedings the wife claims maintenance from the husband on the ground of his wilful neglect to provide reasonable maintenance for her.

2. She is 33 years of age and he 39. They were married in 1959 in Hong Kong, and there are no children of the marriage.

3. It is very apparent that she is a more intelligent and better educated person than he. It also appears that she is somewhat more westernized having been educated in Anglo-Chinese schools in Hong Kong while he is perhaps more Chinese in many ways. Both her father and his father are men of substance and are rice merchants doing considerable business in this Colony, and according to her evidence it was at the insistence of her parents that she married the defendant against her own wish. It seems that from an early stage of their marriage they had discovered that they were not suited to each other. Against this background, it was only a matter of time before serious frictions within the matrimonial home developed, culminating in an agreement to separate. On the 1st October, 1967, the parties drafted a so-called divorce agreement at home (Ex.D1), which they both signed. This agreement I shall refer to as the divorce agreement, though it has no legal effect as such. The terms of the agreement are as follows :-

"Because of difference in character we agree that as from today's date (we) divorce (each other). Thereafter each party shall not interfere with each other's marriage. lest oral words shall have no proof, (we) specifically make this divorce agreement, each party having a copy hereof.


Male (Sd.) HUI SHUN CHEONG

Female (sd.) CHAN HAY KOO

Dated the 1st day of October, 1967."

4. The wife left the matrimonial home on the following day and never returned, nor is there any evidence that he ever asked her to. Sometime after the wife's departure, the husband obtained legal advice on the divorce agreement, as a consequence of which the two parties went to a solicitor's office and executed a formal separation agreement dated 15th January, 1968, (Ex.P2), presumably intending it to supercede the earlier agreement. It is therefore indisputable on the evidence that the parties had parted by consent and that their separation was a consensual separation.

5. It will be noted that neither the agreement executed at home nor the agreement executed at the solicitor's office makes any mention as to the payment of maintenance by the husband to the wife. No financial arrangement of any kind were made thereby.

6. According to the wife's evidence, she has always been in poor health, but this is denied by the husband and she has produce no evidence to support her allegation. She says that because of her poor health she was able to work only intermittently both before and after her marriage; and the last employment she had was with a carpet factory, earning $400 a month. She says that when the divorce agreement was made she did not ask for maintenance from her husband because in his own opinion, and knowing of her poor health, he ought to pay for her maintenance. Again, she did not ask the solicitor to insert a provision for maintenance in the separation agreement because her husband had said that he wanted to provide maintenance and she believed him. The husband, however, says...

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