The Appellate Division Of The High Court Highlights The Importance Of Adducing Source Documents When Giving Expert Evidence ' Aquarius Corporation V Haribo Asia Pacific Pte Ltd [2022] SGHC(A) 39

Published date14 April 2023
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Trials & Appeals & Compensation
Law FirmPD Legal
AuthorGerard Quek and Glenn Chua

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In Aquarius Corporation v Haribo Asia Pacific Pte Ltd [2022] SGHC(A) 39 (the "Judgment"), the Appellate Division of the High Court ("AD") reiterated the importance of adducing source documents which parties' expert witnesses are relying on when giving expert evidence.

In the General Division of the High Court ("GD"), the Honourable Judge found, inter alia, that Aquarius Corporation ("Aquarius") succeeded in its counterclaim against Haribo Asia Pacific Pte Ltd ("HAP") in part. However, the Honourable Judge found that HAP was only liable for lost profits suffered by Aquarius up until 30 April 2017. In this regard, the Judge accepted calculations made by Aquarius' expert witness and awarded Aquarius damages of approximately '1.7 million (being Aquarius' lost profits).

On appeal, the AD set aside the Honourable Judge's award of approximately '1.7 million of damages, and instead awarded nominal damages of S$1,000 to Aquarius. The AD took the view that the Honourable Judge in the GD failed to consider that Aquarius' computations of its alleged lost profits i.e., as computed by Aquarius' expert witness, have not been established by admissible evidence. The AD's decision highlights the importance of adducing admissible source documents which a party's expert wishes to rely on in his/her expert evidence. Failure to do might lead to an adverse finding that a party has not discharged its burden of proving the quantum of damages/losses sought.

BACKGROUND

In the suit, HAP claimed an outstanding sum of '1,526,224.76 (with interest) from Aquarius, being outstanding invoices allegedly left unpaid by Aquarius. Aquarius counterclaimed for the sum of '1.7 million from Aquarius for alleged breaches of the distributorship agreement. In particular, Aquarius claimed, inter alia, that HAP was in breach of the distributorship agreement by failing to deliver seven orders it had placed. As a result, Aquarius claimed that HAP is liable to Aquarius for lost profits.

The GD allowed HAP's claim for the unpaid invoices. The GD also allowed Aquarius' counterclaim in part and awarded Aquarius damages of approximately '1.7 million, being lost profits until 30 April 2017. The GD dismissed Aquarius' claim for lost profits after 30 April 2017. As regards Aquarius' lost profits until 30 April 2017, the GD accepted calculations made by Aquarius' expert witness. This was notwithstanding that HAP had objected to the contents of Aquarius' expert witness report on the basis that "...

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