Cheoh Yeoh & Associates
and Another v AEL and Others  SGCA 29
Our 18 clients
were the beneficiaries under a will, which was found to be invalid after the
testator’s death due to the negligence of the defendants. The first defendant
was the firm of solicitors engaged by the testator and the second defendant was
the solicitor having conduct of the matter.
In a 66-page judgment released on 2
July 2014, the Honourable Justice Chan Seng Onn granted our clients’ claims in
full (see AEL and Others v Cheoh Yeoh & Associates and
Another  SGHC 129). The said landmark judgment received
widespread news coverage in Singapore and abroad.
In the defendants’ appeal to the
Singapore Court of Appeal, heavy reliance was placed on the doctrine of
dependent relative revocation or conditional revocation (“the Doctrine”).
The Doctrine stands for the proposition
of law that when a testator destroys his/her last will and testament, on the
condition that another will and testament would be made but no new/fresh will
and testament is in fact made, then the destroyed will and testament can be
revived and admitted to probate.
In a landmark decision which included
the consideration of the origins of the Doctrine, as there had before this case
been no instance of the Doctrine being applied in Singapore, the Court of
Appeal held that the Doctrine does apply in Singapore.
Our counter was that the Doctrine
however could not be invoked in this case as no evidence was adduced to invoke
the Doctrine, and that in any event the presumption (at law) of revocation by
destruction of the last will and testament must be rebutted before the Doctrine
can be considered.
In a 56-page judgment released on 26
May 2015, the Court of Appeal agreed with our position and dismissed the appeal
with costs. For completeness, the appellants’ other grounds of appeal against
the findings of fact and the assessment of the evidence by the Honourable Trial
Judge, were all similarly dismissed.
case was conducted by our Senior Consultant, Mr Andrew Ho who can be reached at
+65 6411 5819 (DID) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.