Entire Contract

Ming & Co v Leong Ping Ching
[1964] 30 MLJ 312
A contract for the construction of an extension to a maternity
home in Kuala Lumpur at a price of $28,500 was concluded by
an exchange of correspondence. Following disputes about the
time being taken to complete the work, although no completion
date was agreed, the defendant owner alleged that the
contractors had abandoned the contract and that she was
entitled to complete the work. The plaintiff contractors claimed
that they were entitled to a quantum meruit of $11,119 of which
$9,000 had been paid. The defence was that this was an entire
contract and, on the authority of Sumpter v Hedges 1898, Digest
161, the plaintiffs could not sue on a contract which they had
abandoned. Gill J held; ‘The answer to that is that in the first
place the plaintiffs did not abandon the work, and, in the second
place, this was not an entire contract. An entire contract is one in
which the entire completion of the work by the contractor is a
condition precedent to payment. To my mind, a contract in
respect of which progress payments
are made from time to time is not an entire or lump sum
contract’. The quantum meruit of $11,119 was allowed, less the
$9,000 already paid to the contractors.
Case judicially considered:
Sumpter v Hedges 1898, Digest 64.
Payment For Works Done
Damages For Defective Works
& Completing The Contract
Kunchi Raman, K P v Goh Bros. Sdn. Bhd.
[1978] 1 MLJ 89
The plaintiff, K.P. Kunchi Raman, entered into a labour-only contract with the
defendant for the laying of water pipes between Mak Mandin and Prai, and Mak
Mandin and Jalan Raja, Butterworth, including the reinstatement of a cycle
track. The contractor claimed $11,656 as the balance payable to him under the
contract. The defendant counter claimed for the repayment of $55,024 for
unsatisfactory work already completed, and failure to complete all items of
contract work, amounting to failure to complete the contract.
Gunn Chit Tuan J in the High Court held that the contract was an entire
contract, but that the doctrine of substantial performance should be applied’ ....
considering the nature of the defects, the cost of rectifying them and the balance
of the work undone. I was inclined to the view and found that in all the
circumstances of this case the plaintiff had substantially completed the contract.
For that reason I held that the defendant was not entitled to repayment of the
said sum of $55,024 paid to the plaintiff who was entitled to claim for any
balance due to him for work done’. This would have resulted in the plaintiff’s
claim succeeding and the defendant obtaining nothing. However, the defendant
was entitled to damages for the defective work and for completing the contract,
and since this entitlement exceed the plaintiff’s claim, following Hanak v Green
1958, the defendant was entitled to judgement for $6,047.
Cases judicially considered:
Appleby v Myers 1867
Hanak v Green 1958
Hoenig v Isaacs 1952, Digest 123
Sumpter v Hedges 1898, Digest 161
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