Ding Huirong v China Times Securities Ltd And Another

CourtCourt of First Instance (Hong Kong)
Judgment Date03 June 2020
Neutral Citation[2020] HKCFI 978
Subject MatterCivil Action
Judgement NumberHCA365/2018
HCA365A/2018 DING HUIRONG v. CHINA TIMES SECURITIES LTD AND ANOTHER

HCA 365/2018

[2020] HKCFI 978

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 365 OF 2018

_____________

BETWEEN

DING HUIRONG (丁輝榮) Plaintiff

and

CHINA TIMES SECURITIES LIMITED 1st Defendant
ADAM INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENTS LIMITED 2nd Defendant

_____________

Before: Mr Recorder Stewart Wong, SC
Dates of Written Submissions: 21 April, 5 May and 12 May 2020
Date of Decision: 3 June 2020

_______________________________________________________

DECISION ON APPLICATION TO VARY COSTS ORDER NISI

_______________________________________________________

1. On 12 March 2020, I handed down my decision[1] in this matter, which are applications by the plaintiff made under Order 14 and Order 14A of the Rules of the High Court[2]. By the Decision, I found, under Order 14A, that the proposition stated by the plaintiff at [1] of the Summons[3] to be correct and adjourn the application for other reliefs pursuant thereto, and dismissed the plaintiff’s Order 14 application. At [53] of the Decision, I said:

“As for costs, the plaintiff has succeeded on the Order 14A application but not his summary judgment application, which occasioned some submissions on behalf of the 1st defendant and AIIL. There should therefore be a reduction in the costs to be paid to the plaintiff, and in my view a 5% reduction is fair. Even though the 1st defendant adopts the submissions of AIIL, it does oppose the application and I see no reason why it should not also be liable for the costs of the plaintiff as well. I therefore make an order nisi that the 1st defendant and AIIL are to pay 95% of the costs of the plaintiff of and occasioned by the Summons, including the hearing before me, with certificate for two counsel, to be taxed if not agreed”.

2. Because of the closure of the High Court Registry due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the defendants were unable to file summonses seeking a variation of the costs order nisi within the 14-day limit. Instead, by letter dated 24 March 2020, solicitors acting for AIIL gave notice that AIIL intended to apply to vary the costs order nisi as soon as the Registry had reopened. A draft summons was attached stating that the following costs order would be sought in place of the costs order nisi:

“(a) the costs of and occasioned by the Plaintiff’s Summons dated 15 March 2019 and amended on 17 June 2019 (the ‘Summons’) be to the 2nd Defendant; and

(b) the costs of the hearing of the Summons on 4 November 2019 be reserved, pending the outcome of the trial of this action”.

3. By letter dated 25 March 2020, solicitors for the 1st defendant also gave notice of its intention to apply for similar variations in its favour, and attached a draft summons to that effect.

4. The parties having all agreed to the paper disposal of both applications to vary, I gave directions dispensing with the issue of summonses by the 1st defendant and AIIL, and for written submissions to be filed.

5. This is my decision on the applications to vary the costs order nisi by the 1st defendant and AIIL. Since what the 1st defendant is asking for is materially the same as what AIIL is asking for and the former adopts the submissions of the latter, what I say about AIIL’s application applies equally to the 1st defendant’s.

6. As can be seen from its draft summons (see [2] above), AIIL seeks to divide up the costs into two parts. In his submissions, Mr Byron Chiu, for AIIL, clarifies that the “part one costs” (ie costs of and occasioned by the Summons) are intended to cover costs in respect of [3]-[4] of the Summons, ie the Order 14 application (which I dismissed) and an application for a stay pending the final determination of the Order 14 and the Order 14A applications (which I also dismissed since I have decided on both applications). Preparatory work relating to [1] of the Summons, ie the Order 14A application, are to be “captured” in the “part two costs” (ie costs of the hearing) before me on 4 November 2019.

7. Therefore, in effect, AIIL seeks to divide up the costs as either being related to the Order 14 application or the Order 14A application. It says it is entitled to the former as I have dismissed the same, whereas for the latter, costs should be reserved because if the Court eventually decides the primary dispute between the parties, ie whether the plaintiff did enter into the Adam Loan Agreement and the Adam CAA with AIIL, in the plaintiff’s favour, the resolution of the question under Order 14A will turn out to have been unnecessary.

8. While the focus at the...

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