Lawyers have warned regional court disapproves of adjournments

This country’s latest appeals court today warned a team of Barbadian lawyers who have appeared before it in a real estate transaction case that it will not tolerate adjournments and late filing of documents as is the case. practice in some jurisdictions.

The warning was issued by Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Judge Jacob Wit in response to a request from Queen’s Counsel Barry Gale who had requested a short adjournment so he could properly prepare for the ‘case.

Gale, who, along with his QC colleagues Alair Shepherd and Leslie Haynes, represents the respondents in the appeal, told the CCJ he has been in isolation at home alone since December 31 and is awaiting the results of the COVID test -19.

He told the judges that he could not properly consult his associates or the lawyers for the other respondents or approach his office or library.

Gale begged the court to grant him an adjournment under the circumstances.

But even though after an interruption in the proceedings, the judges eventually granted him the postponement until March 16, they warned local lawyers and everyone else that the adjournments are condemned by the regional court.

“Since it took us some time to decide this, you will tell you that a decision to adjourn is not easy for this tribunal to take. We are absolutely against all kinds of adjournments. In fact, this is one of the reasons why many court systems simply find themselves in a situation where they can no longer handle the flow of cases. We don’t want to come to that at all, ”Judge Wit said.

“Now that we have all the facts about Mr. Gale’s situation, we sympathize. It is because we are all suffering because of the COVID situation. We have to work from home like most of you from your desks and some of you aren’t as seriously isolated as Mr. Gale. In view of this particular situation, we are prepared to consider adjourning the matter. We will adjourn the matter as a whole. In view of the enormous and appalling delays already registered in this case, it is unfortunately not a matter of such urgency. We therefore propose to hear this case on March 16, ”said the judge.

All parties have agreed on the date.

The CCJ judge told the court that he hoped that by then Gale’s situation had improved so that the hearing could begin.

He also issued another warning to lawyers about the “authorities” filing at the last minute.

“It concerns the fact that the authorities were deposed at a very late stage. It is something that the court condemns and with which it does not agree. Now given that we have a two month adjournment this will give respondents enough time to react if necessary but we condemn the practice and I think we are fine tuning our rules which should be done by April year, ”Judge Wit announced.

He told lead counsel that they now have enough time to prepare and that it is worrying that “authorities” are being deposed at the last minute.

“It is a practice that we condemn and we do not want it to continue. If other jurisdictions don’t have a problem with this, we have a problem with it because the wheels of justice have to turn efficiently, ”Judge Wit admonished.

In the context of the case, it was noted that following the death of Majorie IIma Knox, her son Eugene Estwick was appointed his personal representative for the purposes of these proceedings. While alive, Knox brought an unsuccessful action against the respondents and was ordered to pay costs to the respondents.

Several requests have been filed for the payment of costs. On August 12, 2010, the trial judge ordered the garnishment of the dividends of Majorie Ilma Knox for the fiscal year 2009/2010 in order to pay costs to the respondents.

This decision was appealed and on June 26, 2020, the Barbados Court of Appeal upheld the High Court judge’s decision on garnishment but changed the High Court judge’s decision. Court on interest.

The appellant now claims that the decision of the Court of Appeal was in error and that he made several errors of law and of fact.

Further, the appellant submits that the decision of the Court of Appeal is invalid and void because when the decision was rendered, a member of the Appeal Board, Justice Sandra Mason, had been appointed to the executive in as Governor General of Barbados while another member, Mr. Justice Andrew Burgess had been elevated to the Caribbean Court of Justice.

The applicant argues that the two judges remained in their respective posts on the date of the decision and were therefore unable to sit as judges to deliver the college’s decision on 26 June 2020. ([email protected])

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Elna M. Lemons