By way of judgment dated 13 April, 2017, in the matter of Bank Crozier Limited (in liquidation) [through , liquidator] and RBTT Bank Grenada Limited, Madame Justice Gilford ruled that:
- The claim is struck out for failure to comply with the order of the Master.
- In light of the ruling of the court, the court does not see the need to address its mind to the application of the claimant for lifting of the stay.
The effect of this judgment is to strike out the liquidator’s claim leaving only a possibility of an application to the court of appeal.
By way of background, RBTT bank transferred the sum of US$2 million out of the account held by Louison, liquidator for Bank Crozier Limited at its branch in Grand Anse, St George’s, Grenada. At that point the bank’s only defence was that a consent agreement signed between the liquidator and BCIL St Lucia (in Liquidation) in 2005 had provided them the authority to release the money from the liquidator’s account without his signature or knowledge. This defence broke down when it was revealed that there was a stay on the consent agreement clearing the way for the liquidator to lodge a claim before the court.
The claim was brought by Louison, liquidator for Bank Crozier Limited (in liquidation) on the ruling of Madame Justice Price-Findlay, that:
- The liquidator of Bank Crozier Limited (in liquidation), Louison, is hereby authorised to institute a claim in the name of Bank Crozier Limited (in liquidation) against RBTT Bank Grenada Limited of Grand Anse, St George’s, Grenada, for:
Damages and losses, interest and cost and such further and other relief sustained as a result of its release, disbursement, and/or transfer of the sum of US$2 million from its account held therein to BCIL (St Lucia) (in liquidation) in breach of the orders of the court dated 29 November 2005 and 21 December 2005.
The bank’s second line of defence was that the liquidator should lodge US$50,000 as security for costs in the event that the court rules against him. The liquidator lodged the security for costs one minute late. RBTT applied that the claim be stuck off for the failure of the liquidator to comply with the order of the court. The court struck off the claim.
Legal luminaries are shocked by the stance taken by the court. They cite the principle of “de minimus non curat lex.” Under this principle, the court has a duty to examine the breach by a party and to weigh its sanctions against the substrata of the case. This Latin maxim roughly translated means “the law cares not for small things.” Under this legal doctrine by which a court refuses to consider trifling matters.
According to the current legal thinking, in considering striking out a claim the court considers the parties’ pleaded case. No additional evidence is considered by the court. The pleaded facts are presumed to be true. The court would only strike out a claim where the statement of case discloses no reasonable cause of action or in the words of the chief justice “is plainly bad in law”.
In striking out the claim, the judge refused to consider the likelihood of success of the underlying claim. It would appear that the liquidator has grounds for filing an appeal.
The full text of the ruling here https://www.eccourts.org/bank-crozier-limited-v-rbtt-bank-grenada-limited/
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