Legal updates and commentary
BEST BUDS LIMITED V GARFIELD DENNIS – Jamaican Court of Appeal
The matter of the jurisdiction of Supreme Court judges to make orders for interim payments, which had been ruled on by Justice Sykes in the Supreme Court last year, also came up for hearing by the Court of Appeal in a different case. The Court of Appeal came to the same conclusion, namely, that the current state of the law does not confer such jurisdiction of judges of the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeakl is urging Parliament to remedy what it termed an “obvious gap in the present arrangements as a matter of urgency. “
 JMCA Civ 1
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF JAMAICA
SUPREME COURT CIVIL APPEAL NO 120/2010
BEFORE: THE HON MR JUSTICE MORRISON JA
THE HON MISS JUSTICE PHILLIPS JA
THE HON MR JUSTICE HIBBERT JA (Ag)
BEST BUDS LIMITED V GARFIELD DENNIS
20 January 2012
Issue: jurisdiction of Justices of the Supreme Court to make orders for interim payments
Facts: Simmons J. (Ag.) made an order on 16 September 2010 that the appellant (the defendant in the court below) make an interim payment to the respondent.
The appellant contended that the learned judge did not have jurisdiction to make such an order as the law which conveyed that jurisdiction was an October 28, 1997 amendment to section 441A of the Judicature (Civil Procedure Code) Law and which was repealed by Act No. 4 of 2003 The Judicature (Civil Procedure Code) Law (Repeal) Act 2003.
In a judgment written by Morrison JA, with which the other two Justices of Appeal agreed, he said the appellant’s argument was “completely irresistible.”
He noted the following:
– That the Supreme Court has no inherent jurisdiction to make interim payment orders.
– “ It is a well established principle of the common law that a defendant has a right not to be held liable to pay until his liability has been established by a final judgment .”
– Prior to the existing Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) the operation of civil proceedings in Jamaica was governed by the Judicature (Civil Procedure Code) Law (CPC).
– Before 1997 there was no provision in the CPC that enabled a judge of the Supreme Court to make interim payment orders in pending civil proceedings
– In that year, the CPC was amended to allow for interim payments
– When Parliament enacted the Judicature (Civil Procedure Code) Law (Repeal) Act 2003, section 2 provided that “The Judicature (Civil Procedure Code) Law is hereby repealed”.
Justice Morrison said that:
“ Therewith went, it seems to me to be clear, the statutory jurisdictional basis
of the power of a judge of the Supreme Court to make an interim payment order and it
has not since been replaced by any subsequent statutory provision.”
The judge referred to the 13 December 2011 judgment by Sykes J in Verma Dayes v Ritz Carlton Hotel of Jamaica Ltd (Claim No 2008 HCV 03251), in which he also concluded that a judge of the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction at the present time to make an interim payment order and said that:
“ Given the real need that the power to make an interim payment order was first introduced to meet, I am bound to say that I share Sykes J’s reluctance in having to reach the conclusion that I have reached on this appeal. It is to be hoped that the legislature will address this obvious gap in the present arrangements as a matter of urgency.”