law memo

Topics: Contract, Tort, Contractual term Pages: 112 (23401 words) Published: March 25, 2014
This judgment is subject to final editorial corrections approved by the court and/or redaction pursuant to the publisher’s duty in compliance with the law, for publication in LawNet and/or the Singapore Law Reports.

BNJ (suing by her lawful father and litigation
representative, B)
v
SMRT Trains Ltd and another
[2013] SGHC 286
High Court — Suit No 432 of 2011
Vinodh Coomaraswamy JC (as he then was)
29–31 October 2012; 1–2, 5–9, 19–20 November 2012; 11 March 2013 Tort — Negligence — Breach of Duty
Tort — Occupier’s Liability — Who is an Occupier
Tort — Negligence — Res Ipsa Loquitur
Tort — Breach of Statutory Duty — Essential Factors
Contract — Contractual Terms — Implied Terms
31 December 2013

Judgment reserved

Vinodh Coomaraswamy J:
1

On 3 April 2011, a train coming into the Ang Mo Kio MRT station

(“AMK Station”) struck the plaintiff, causing her tragic and life-changing injuries. She was then just fourteen years old. In these proceedings, she seeks damages from two defendants for the injuries she suffered on that day. The first defendant is SMRT Trains Ltd (“SMRT”). SMRT is a public transport operator and holds the license to operate the mass rapid transit (“MRT”) system along the North-South line. SMRT operates AMK Station and the train which injured the plaintiff. The second defendant is the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (“the LTA”). The LTA is a statutory board charged

BNJ v SMRT Trains Ltd & anor

[2013] SGHC 286

with regulating, amongst other things, Singapore’s MRT system. The LTA is the owner of AMK Station and regulates SMRT’s operations.
The plaintiff is injured on 3 April 2011
2

The plaintiff arrived in Singapore on 14 March 2011 1 to study English.

Her course was scheduled to end on 8 April 2011. She lived while in Singapore with a host family in Ang Mo Kio. She commuted from Ang Mo Kio to her place of study at Peninsula Plaza each weekday by MRT via the North-South line from AMK Station to City Hall MRT station.

3

3 April 2011 was a Sunday. The plaintiff arranged to meet friends for

lunch at a shopping mall close to City Hall station. She left her host family’s flat at 10:40 am and arrived at AMK Station at about 11:00 am 2. Closedcircuit television (“CCTV”) footage from AMK Station shows her walking on to the platform at 11:04 am 3 and waiting for a train. Just as the train pulls into the station, the plaintiff falls face forward over the edge of the platform on to the tracks. The train driver applies the emergency brake but cannot stop in time. The oncoming train injures the plaintiff’s legs catastrophically. They could not be saved. Both legs had to be amputated below the knee. The pleadings

4

The plaintiff commenced this action on 16 June 2011. As she is a

minor, she sues through her father as her litigation representative. On 31

1

See Plaintiff’s Bundle of Affidavits of Evidence-in-Chief (“PBAEIC”) at p 2, para 4

2

See PBAEIC at p 3, para 5

3

See PBAEIC at p 21

2

BNJ v SMRT Trains Ltd & anor

[2013] SGHC 286

January 2012, the plaintiff added the LTA as a second defendant and filed her third amended Statement of Claim asserting a cause of action against the LTA. 5

The plaintiff pleads that her injuries were caused by the following

breaches of duty by the defendants: 4
(a)

breach of a duty of care in negligence;

(b)

breach of duty as occupiers: the defendants are both occupiers

of AMK Station, and the plaintiff was a lawful visitor to AMK Station, having paid a fee to the defendants’ ticketing agents for the use of AMK Station 5;
(c)

breach of statutory duty: the defendants failed to take adequate

measures to prevent people from falling from a height, in breach of paragraph 27 of the fifth schedule of the Building Control Regulations 2003 (Cap 29, S 666/2003) (“the Regulations”) 6; and
(d)

breach of an implied term of the contract between the plaintiff

and SMRT and/or LTA that AMK...
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