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9 RAFFLES PLACE, #32-00 REPUBLIC PLAZA, SINGAPORE 048619, SINGAPORE
Tel:
Work +65 6713 0200
Fax:
Fax +65 6538 1311
Email:
Web:
www.straitslaw.com.sg

M Ramasamy

Tel:
Work 6713 0520
Email:
Straits Law Practice LLC

Work Department

Insurance Litigation

Position

Director

Career

M Rama was the Managing Director of M/s M Rama Law Corporation since its incorporation until the said firm merged with M/s Straits Law Practice as of 1st January 2016. He was admitted as a Barrister-at-Law of Lincoln’s Inn in 1978, and was admitted to the Supreme Court of Singapore as an Advocate and Solicitor in 1979. M Rama has more than 36 years of litigation experience. He has represented institutional, corporate and individual clients in the State Courts, High Court and the Court of Appeal of Singapore. His interest in Insurance litigation stepped up in 1992 when he started acting for various reputable insurance companies. He won some landmark cases which help shape the progress of Insurance Law in Singapore. Apart from representing Insurance companies in Court, he was involved in assisting the General Insurance Association (GIA) to amend the Motor Insurance Policy and the Work injury Compensation Policy necessitated by the new Motor Claims Framework and the amendments to the Work Injury Compensation Act in 2008.

Notable cases

Double Insurance

  1. China Insurance Co (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Liberty Insurance Pte Ltd [2005] 2 SLR 509

The Plaintiff insurers and Defendant insurers had issued separate Workmen’s Compensation policies to a common insured.  The Plaintiffs faced a claim valued at more than $500,000.00 by one of the injured workman of the insured and commenced action against the Defendants to contribute 50% of the claim.

M Rama was appointed by the Defendant insurers.  Extrinsic evidence was adduced to demonstrate that the policy issued by the Defendant Insurers exempted the risk in question.  As such, only the Plaintiff Insurers were liable under the policy.

Justice Andrew Pang ruled in the Defendant’s favour and the action was dismissed with costs.

  1. Lonpac Insurance Bhd v American Home Assurance [2012] 1SLR 781

M Rama acted for the Appellant. This was a case of Double Insurance.

At the Hearing before the Assistant Commissioner, it was ordered that both insurers each contribute 50% towards the compensation sum. One of the insurance companies was dissatisfied with the decision and lodged an Appeal to the High Court. In this case of double insurance, we argued that when interpreting the Insurance Policy the parol evidence rule was only relevant as between the contracting parties, i.e between the insurer (the firm’s client) and their Insured.  The other insurance company, who was a third party, could not rely on the rule to exclude evidence supporting an interpretation as agreed upon by the contracting parties; while the other insurer through their solicitors argued that extrinsic evidence was inadmissible because the terms of the annual policy were complete and unambiguous on their face.

The High Court set aside the Assistant Commissioner’s decision and remitted the matter back to the Assistant Commissioner for re-hearing and consideration of any extrinsic evidence.

Workman’s Compensation Insurance

Liberty Citystate Insurance Pte Ltd v AXA Insurance Singapore Pte Ltd [2001] 2 SLR 

This case centered on the issue of the validity of a “Non-Contribution Clause” and the obligation of an employer to insure and maintain insurance. This was an appeal by the insurers by way of a Judicial Review to the High Court against the ruling of the Assistant Commissioner for Labour. M Rama acted for the insurers.

The Assistant Commissioner for Labour ruled that the non-contribution clause inserted in the Workman’s Compensation policy issued by the insurer was prohibited.  The Learned Assistant Commissioner then followed the earlier decision in the case of Cosmic Insurance Corporation v People’s Insurance Co.

On appeal, the High Court ruled that the non-contribution clause was a valid clause and therefore the liability to pay the compensation fell on the Respondent and not the insurer.

The High Court further ruled that whether the employer takes out and maintains his own policy or procures the main contractor to take out and maintain such a policy for him, the end result would be the same; in that the employer fulfills the purpose or S23(1) of the Workman’s Compensation Act.

Fire Policy

Ng Choon Hoo t/a Overseas Union Radio & Electric Co. v The Nippon Fire & Marine Insurance Co Ltd (1996) 3 SLR 180; Insurance Law

M Rama acted for the Defendant’s insurer and after a 9-day Hearing successfully defended a claim of approximately S$3 million, on grounds, inter alia, that the fire was deliberately set by the insured or someone else on the insured’s instructions (Arson).

Bailee’s Liability

Hakko Products Pte Ltd v Danzas (Singapore) Pte Ltd (1999);

This was a recovery case on behalf of Insurer clients involving S$260,000.00 for damage to sensitive machinery while being transported from Germany.

Road Traffic Accidents 

  1. Yang Xi Na v Lim Hong Chong (Ong Ah Seng, Third Party) [2006] SGHC 96

A motor bus collided into a parked tipper truck which resulted in over 24 passengers sustaining injuries.

One of the injured passengers commenced proceedings in the High Court wherein the Honourable Court bifurcated the hearing.

The proceeding of the claims by other injured passengers were stayed pending the determination in respect of liability of the High Court proceedings.

M Rama acted for the Defendant bus driver in the High Court and joined the driver of the parked tipper truck as third party into the proceedings.

After two (2) days of Hearing before the Honourable Justice Kan Ting Chiu, we successfully secured Judgment against the Third Party for 20% contribution towards damages and costs on an indemnity basis.

Thereafter the Third Party appealed to the Court of Appeal on the High Court’s decision which was dismissed with costs.

  1. Ong Bee Nah v Won Siew Wan (Yong Tian Choy, Third Party) [2005] 2SLR 509

M Rama successfully represented the Third Party in the High Court, wherein Justice Andrew Pang dismissed the Defendant’s action against the Third Party with costs.  Its important observations were that there is no requirement that upon reaching a junction, a driver should per se sound his horn or lower the sped he is traveling.  Neither is it negligence if a driver engages in conversation with his passenger or listens to music.  Each case must be decided on his own facts.

Languages

English, Tamil

Education

He was admitted as a Barrister-at-Law of Lincoln’s Inn in 1978, and was admitted to the Supreme Court of Singapore as an Advocate and Solicitor in 1979.


Singapore: Dispute resolution

Local firms

Within: Local firms

Straits Law Practice LLC’s N Sreenivasan SC succeeded Suresh Nair as practice head, following Nair’s move to Advocatus Law LLP. In other developments, Sivakumar Murugaiyan joined from Premier Law LLC and the insurance litigation capabilities were bolstered following the firm’s recent merger with M Rama Law Corporation; M Ramasamy, NK Rajarh and associate director Ramesh Varathappan moved across. Other strengths of the practice include white-collar criminal defence, construction disputes and medical malpractice work. Chan Lai Foong and Ahmad Nizam Abbas were promoted to director.

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