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Court of Appeal Enforces Compliance with Civil Procedure Rules

In decisive fashion signaling stricter enforcement, the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court stymied attempts by the Attorney General of Anguilla to overturn the decision of the High Court in the matter of La Baia Limited v. The Attorney General of Anguilla.

The decision at first instance argued on behalf of La Baia Limited (La Baia) by the Keithley Lake & Associates’ team of Mr. Kenneth G. Porter and Mr. D. Michael Bourne led by Mr. Saul Froomkin Q.C. was handed down in October 2013. In that judgment the Court held La Baia had established that Executive Council (ExCo) by its decision not to grant it an Alien Landholding Licence (ALHL) was in breach of its legitimate expectation.

The appeal filed by the Attorney General of Anguilla, argued that the Learned Trial Judge in arriving at that decision had misdirected herself and erred in fact and law. Those contentions centered on the effect of the documentary evidence upon which La Baia had relied to establish its legitimate expectation. The team filed an application to strike out said Appeal and successfully argued that the Appellant had failed to comply with the mandatory rules of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Rules 2000 (CPR 2000). Particularly, KLA Counsel argued that the Appellant failed to comply with several rules under Part 62 which among other things stipulate the process and timing for filing of the Record of Appeal and other salient documentation. These rules in essence, required the Appellant to file and serve Skeleton Arguments and the Record of Appeal, respectively, within 42 days of the notification from the Court that the transcript of the proceedings was available. The documents were not filed until after the KLA team had filed their application to strike out the appeal and as such were filed outside of the time prescribed by the CPR 2000.

The Court of Appeal considered the application to strike out the appeal and found that the delay in filing the record of appeal and skeleton arguments, with the same being filed only after the filing of the application to strike out the appeal was inordinate and not in keeping with the overriding objectives to deal with matters justly and expeditiously. The appeal was accordingly struck out for failure to comply with the rules pursuant to Rule 26.3(1)(a) of the CPR 2000.