The Privy Council has upheld a T&T Court of Appeal ruling on costs in a dispute in which the appellants had made allegations of fraud and lost.
A judgement on this was given on Thursday, December 8.
The matter was heard before Lord Kitchen with whom Lord Briggs, Lord Hamblen, Lord Leggatt, and Lord Burrows agreed.
Appellants were Phyllis Rampersad and Bhim Rampersad versus Deo Ramlal, Rosina Ramlal, Lochan Dipsing and Kumar Birbal. The matter arose from an earlier T&T Court of Appeal ruling.
The appellants were represented by Anand Ramlogan SC, Ben Jones [instructed by Ganesh Saroop (Trinidad)]. The respondents were represented by Zelica Haynes-Soo Hon, Kerri-Ann Oliverie [instructed by Al-Rawi, Haynes-Soo Hon & Co (Trinidad)].
The appeal concerned the general rules governing the award of costs after a trial in Trinidad and Tobago.
The appeal arose in the context of a dispute in which allegations "of the most serious kind" were made by the appellants, Phyllis Rampersad and her husband, Bhim Rampersad, against the respondents.
The Privy Council's ruling stated that these allegations, including allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation and forgery, were all rejected by the judge, Dean-Armorer J, after a full trial.
"The judge then made an order that the claim be dismissed and the appellants should pay the respondents their costs of the action, such costs to be assessed by the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago," the Law Lords noted.
The appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal against the judge’s order.
"Ultimately, they did not pursue their appeal against that part of the order which dismissed their claim, but they did pursue their appeal against the judge’s order for costs. The Court of Appeal dismissed that appeal, holding it to be an abuse of process," the ruling said.
Detailing the Privy Council's 55-point ruling, which concluded that the appellants' appeal "must be dismissed", it was stated that their submissions could not be accepted.
The Law Lords ruling also stated: "The appellants had made a decision to abandon their appeal on the merits at the last moment and their application to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against the order for costs had failed. In these circumstances, the order made by the Court of Appeal fell well within the scope of a reasonable exercise of its discretion and there is no basis upon which it would be proper or appropriate for the Board to interfere with it."