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Friday 25 May 2018
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Privy Council to decide in NGC/SIS lawsuit

Five Privy Council judges will hear arguments filed by state-owned National Gas Company (NGC) challenging an Appeal Court decision to strike out its lawsuit against Super Industrial Services (SIS) and another company on the ground that NGC failed to meet strict timelines for civil cases set in the Civil Proceedings Rules.

A hearing date of March 26 is set for the appeal by Lords Mance, Hughes, Hodge, Briggs and Lady Black.

The two companies – SIS and Rain Forest Resorts Ltd (RFRL) – initially instituted proceedings against NGC seeking an order to prevent the dissipation assets in the contract dispute over the controversial Beetham Water Treatment Plant.

NGC had obtained a freezing order up to $180 million against SIS’ assets and an injunction restraining RFRL from dealing with certain assets.

In a majority ruling, two appellate court judges agreed with SIS’ contention that the judge was not actively managing the case when NGC failed to adhere to the rules in its prosecution of its claim against SIS and RFRL.

Justices of Appeal Rajendra Narine and Judith Jones held that crucial timelines stipulated by the rules for civil cases were not adhered to in the prosecution. Both parties were seeking a resolution of the matter when the issue of the lapse of deadlines in accordance with the CPR rules came up.

As a result of their ruling, the NGC’s claim against the two companies was struck out.

Although the freeze order was supposed to cease after the case was struck out, the appellate court agreed to leave it in place until the determination of the case before the Privy Council.

The dispute between the parties started in 2015 after delays in the US$162,055,318.77 project, which was due to be completed on October 21, 2016.

The contract was eventually terminated on November 24, 2016, after SIS reportedly informed NGC it was unable to continue with the work.

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