Star seeks to strike out breach of contract claim by Emperor Group

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 May, 2008, 12:00am

Isabella Leong Lok-sze is seeking to strike out a breach of contract claim lodged by the Emperor Entertainment Group over a 10-year recording and management contract signed for her by her mother when she was 12.

Emperor, in an action launched in the High Court on April 3, is seeking damages from the actor, singer and model, now 19, and a court order forcing her to perform her duties under the agreement.

Leong's barrister, Eva Sit, yesterday appeared before a registrar in the Court of First Instance.

She indicated that documents had been served to strike out the company's action.

Deputy registrar Master Lung Kim-wan directed that the case be adjourned and heard before a judge in the Court of First Instance to determine whether the two claims should be consolidated, or the company's claim dropped.

Leong took out the first contract with Emperor in June 2001 and two other contracts in February 2003. When she turned 18, she endorsed the contracts previously signed by her mother and signed a supplemental agreement in November 2006 to extend them.

Claiming that she would no longer be bound by the contracts, Leong stated in a writ filed on April 27 that the contracts were unenforceable and contained unconscionable conditions.

She claimed she was forced to sign the November agreement to avoid being 'frozen' - industry parlance for when a company refuses to do any work for a contracted artist who has fallen out of favour.

It says her freezing came about after she shot to international attention in the film Isabella.

On the other hand, Emperor, which is also seeking to consolidate the actions, alleges that Leong is in breach of the contracts.

It also seeks an order to restrain her from performing for agents or persons other than Emperor until her contractual obligations with the group expire.