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Withers KhattarWong secures victory for Huttons in landmark misrepresentation case

22 April 2024 | Applicable law: Singapore | 5 minute read

Withers KhattarWong LLP, the Singapore office of the global law firm Withers, recently successfully acted for Huttons, one of Singapore's largest real estate agencies, in a landmark litigation case. 

The Withers team, led by Singapore-based dispute resolution partner Sharon Lin with support from associate Johnson Lim, successfully defended Huttons and its property agent. 

The plaintiff, the purchaser of a luxury condo around Singapore's upscale shopping district, Orchard Road, did not exercise the option to purchase (the "OTP") the property within the stipulated two-year deadline. As a result, the developer forfeited the plaintiff's payment of 30% of the purchase price. The plaintiff claimed for the forfeited sum from Huttons and its agent by alleging that Huttons' property agent did not explain the forfeiture clause in the OTP, made various misrepresentations about the property, and agreed to secure a buyer for a sub-sale of the property before the expiration of the two-year period to exercise the OTP. Furthermore, the plaintiff accused Huttons of being vicariously liable for the property agent's alleged misrepresentations and breaches.

On 17 April 2024, the Singapore High Court, presided over by the Honourable Justice S Mohan, dismissed all claims against Huttons and its agent. (Read the full High Court Judgment here, as reported on The Business Times and Singapore Law Watch)

Through meticulous scrutiny of contemporaneous evidence and compelling legal advocacy, Sharon and Johnson successfully persuaded the Court that Huttons' agent did not make the alleged misrepresentations and that there was no agreement for Huttons or its agent to secure a buyer for the sub-sale of the property before the OTP had expired.

Furthermore, the High Court made a landmark decision that breaches of the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care, under the Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010, do not give rise to a private law cause of action for damages. Finally, as the plaintiff had failed to prove any of his claims against Huttons' agent, there was no basis upon which Huttons could be held vicariously liable.

Sharon comments: "We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Huttons for entrusting us with their defence. This milestone victory underscores our commitment to serving our clients with the highest standards of excellence and professionalism in all their legal endeavours." 

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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