Property – Whether Management Corporation has the locus standi to institute an action in defamation under the Stata Titles Act 1985.
Amber Court Management Corp & 5 Ors v Hong Gan Gui & Anor (and another appeal)  1 AMR 635
- The appellants comprised of Amber Court Condominium’s management corporation (“the MC”) and 5 of its council members.
- The MC had commenced proceedings against the respondents, Hong and Huan, for defamatory statements allegedly made by Hong in their Facebook posting.
- The MC’s claim was struck out by the High Court whilst the council members’ application to bring the claim under their personal capacity and as council members of the MC, was dismissed.
- Hence the instant appeal by the appellants.
- The appellants submitted that the Strata Titles Act 1985 (“the Act”) had given the MC the locus to sue and be sued on all matters, including defamation.
- The appellants further contended that the council members, being representatives of the MC, have the locus to institute the instant action against the respondents.
Decision: Dismissing the apeals with costs and affirming the decisions of the High Court.
- Under the Act, there is a legal distinction between:
- the MC which is comprised of all parcel proprietors; and
- the council members who are parcel proprietors elected to perform the duties and conduct the business of the MC.
- The powers and competence of the MC should not be extended indeterminately to include the power to bring an action in defamation.
- The MC has no locus to sue the respondents for defamation as the Act does not provide for any express or implied provisions to authorize such actions being taken by an entity like the MC.
- Similarly, the council members of the MC are not empowered under the Act to institute action in their own individual names or as council members of the MC.
- In common law, a trading and non-trading corporation can sue for defamation on proof that its business, revenue or income or goodwill had been affected by the defamatory statement.
- On the facts, the MC is not an entity empowered to transact business or to acquire and deal with property to acquire revenue or income.
- The MC’s powers are primarily for the maintenance and enjoyment of common property by parcel proprietors.
- Therefore, the appellants have not met the criteria to enable them to maintain an action in defamation.