Summary of facts
P applied on 18 September 2020 for leave to allow its witness, Mr Jia Bin (Jia), who was living in Singapore, to testify via VCF at the trial scheduled to commence on 27 October 2020, with five days reserved.
The claims and disputes arose out of a due diligence agreement in relation to the purchase by P from D of a majority shareholding in a listed company (the Due Diligence Agreement). Pursuant to the Due Diligence Agreement, P paid D earnest money in the sum of RMB 20,000,000 (the Earnest Money). P argued that issues which came to light during the due diligence exercise had not been satisfactorily resolved and that the Earnest Money had, as a result, become refundable. D’s defence was that the parties had entered into an oral sale and purchase agreement (the Oral Agreement), and that the Earnest Money had become non-refundable and remained a forfeitable deposit under the Oral Agreement. D further claimed repudiatory breach by P for failing to complete the transaction, thereby forfeiting the Earnest Money.
The main issue to be resolved during the trial was whether the parties had entered into the Oral Agreement. According to D, the Oral Agreement was reached orally during a “personal meeting” in 2015 between Jia and D (the Personal Meeting). P accepted, therefore, that Jia’s evidence would be important in the resolution of the main issue and that his credibility would be hotly disputed.