Law in the News (March 30-April5, 2015)

A weekly digest of legal news under the following headings:-

Decided Cases

Before the Courts

Debated Legislation/Bills

Developments in the profession

Law and Society


Beyond our shores

Decided Cases

jamaica CA buildingInsurance Company’s Need Not Honour Claims Against Clients In Breach Of Policy

The Court of Appeal has ruled that motor vehicle insurance companies are not liable to make payments whenever a vehicle involved in an accident was being operated contrary to the terms of the insurance policy. The judgment can be found here.

Jennifer Edwards Withdraws Lawsuit Against NSWMA, Court Orders Her To Pay

Ousted executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Jennifer Edwards, has withdrawn her court challenge against the board’s decision not to renew her employment contract…. She also indicated that a notice to discontinue the matter has been filed. Meanwhile, the lawyer, representing the NSWMA board, Abe Dabdoub successfully made an application for legal costs.

Summons withdrawn in Riverton suit

Jennings was served with the summons on March 20 to appear in court for failure to comply with the notice. But the summons was withdrawn after attorney Peter Champagnie submitted to the court that there was no basis in law for the charges to be brought against Jennings and that the proper body to be cited is the National Solid Waste Management Authority.

JPS Loses Bid To Recover $4.27b In Salaries

Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has failed in its bid to recover $4.27 billion incurred in salaries for employees as a result of a reclassification exercise….JPS had relied on the Z-factor clause, which is the allowed percentage increase in the price cap index due to events that affect the licencee’s costs but are not as a result of the licencee’s managerial decisions, and are not captured by the other elements of the price cap mechanism. However, the Court of Appeal found that the OUR was correct in determining that JPS’ claim could not be considered under the Z-factor provision because the reclassification/ salary review exercise was effected as a result of managerial decisions.

The Court of Appeal decision can be found here.

judicial committee of the privy councilPrivy Council orders compensation for injured cop

The Privy Council ruled in favour of a former police corporal in Trinidad and Tobago who was left partially paralysed after falling down a flight of stairs. He will receive this compensation after almost a decade long battle with the State. He was refused compensation because his injury was not included in the Protective Services(Compensation) Act and the court held that Parliament erred when it failed to include a provision similar to the one in Workmen’s Compensation Act which takes into account injuries which were not contemplated at the time of the drafting of the legislation.

The judgement can be found here .

American woman loses negligence suit against Negril Hotel

The Court of Appeal of Jamaica ruled that Xtabi Resort Limited in Negril, Westmorland could not be blamed for the drowning death of American tourist Robert Flickenger in 1995. His widow Elita Flickenger had sued the resort and its manager David Preble for damages for negligence but the Supreme Court dismissed her claim.

The judgement can be found here.

Before the courts

Attorney Patrick Bailey charged, granted bail

Prominent attorney Patrick Bailey was offered $1 million bail this afternoon after he was arrested by Fraud Squad detectives. Bailey, the police said, was charged with forgery and conspiracy to defraud. Jamaica OBSERVER ONLINE was unable to find out when he would appear in court. His attorneys have strongly denied the allegations.

tommy-lee-sparta_1Out of court settlement possible in Tommy Lee’s lawsuit

Attorney General Levi Peter Tuesday said it is likely an out of court settlement will be reached regarding the deportation of Jamaican dancehall artiste Tommy Lee Sparta last year. Lee, whose real name is Leroy Russell, and three others — Tiasha Oralie Russell, Junior Fraser and Mario Christopher Wallace — were deported one day after they arrived here to perform at a show in February.


Debated Bills/Legislation

king's houseGG gives assent to ‘Ganja law’

THE governor general has given his assent to the Bill amending the Dangerous Drugs Act, making possession of two or less ounces of ganja a ticketable offence. Despite being assented to the law is not in effect.

A fact sheet on the new law has also been made available.

T&T passes Bill to imprison illegal firearm offenders without bail

There will be no bail for up to 120 days if a person over the age of 18 is caught with an illegal gun or accused of using a gun in the commission of a crime.The Bail (Amendment) Bill 2015 was passed in the Senate yesterday with a majority although three Opposition Senators voted against it.

The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago has called for the law to be repealed but Prime Minister Kamla Persad – Bissessar argued that it was a good piece of legislation as 75% of murders in Trinidad and Tobago were committed with guns. Further, Attorney General Garvin Nicholas said the process would be sped up to prevent the violation of human rights.


Plea Deal Despair – Justice Minister Again Vows Changes As Defence Attorneys Flay Plea-Bargaining Law

Having been introduced in 2006 as key lever in the plan to speed up the snail pace of progress in the justice system, the plea bargain legislation is proving to be more of a hindrance than a help.

NMLS Building

UTech Wants Alternative To Norman Manley Law School

SEVEN YEARS after the establishment of its own Faculty of Law, the University of Technology (UTech) is still crying foul, as its graduates continue to find it increasingly difficult to matriculate to the Norman Manley Law School.

PAJ wants media complaints council

President of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) Dionne Jackson-Miller has reiterated her organisation’s stance in support of a media complaints council. The complaints council would serve as an independent body to ensure redress for members of the society who believe that they have been misrepresented in the media.

Holness to submit Riverton health claims to public defender

THE Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) will be submitting claims from persons affected by smoke from the two-week fire at the Riverton dump in St Andrew to the Office of the Public Defender. Opposition Leader Andrew Holness last week led a tour of communities near to the dump after receiving the air quality reports on toxicity and what the JLP said were requests for medical assistance from persons across the Corporate Area.

environmental rule of law meeting 2015 jamaica

Opening session of Environmental Rule of Law Conference

Meanwhile, on Monday, A United Nations congress on Environmental Rule of Law opened, after a fire at the Riverton city dump
in St. Andrew triggered a national environmental emergency. The congress comes as Jamaica battles one of its most urgent environmental emergencies in years.

Jamaica Councillor accused of nepotism to appear before party integrity commission

The People’s National Party(PNP) says its embattled councillor in the Hanover Parish Council, Shernette Haughton will be summoned before the party’s Integrity Commission as a result of a report from the Officer of the Contractor General which cited instances of nepotism, favouritism and conflicts of interest in the recommendation for the award of government contracts to persons connected Haughton while she was mayor of Lucea.

Her attorney at law Delford Morgan rejected these claims .

High Court judge describes sex abuse as ‘growing epidemic’

In Dominica, High Court Judge Justice Errol Thomas expressed concern over the growing epidemic of sexual abuse which he stated infringed on the basic rights of children.

NEPA Takes action against Wray and Nephew

In Jamaica the National Environment and Planning Agency(NEPA) has served the operators of the Appleton Estate with a warning for the discharge of high strength trade effluent or dunder in the area of North Elim River in St. Elizabeth

Dodds prison facilityBarbados’ juvenile correctional facility to be restructured

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite announced that the Government Industrial Schools otherwise known as Dodds, would have to be overhauled to separate criminal offenders from those who have not committed any crime. This is in keeping with a wider reform of the justice system for minors. He further stated that there were minors currently incarcerated there that should not be there in the first place.

BVI issues updated FATCA guidance notes

The International Tax Authority(ITA) of the Ministry of Finance, government of the British Virgin Islands has published Version 2.0 of the guidance notes on the international tax compliance requirements of the intergovernmental agreements between the British Virgin Islands, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Surinamese police assault Guyana’s Ambassador inside embassy in violation of international law

Surinamese police allegedly assaulted the Guyana Ambassador to that neighbouring country, Keith George while he was blocking the arrest of his chauffeur inside the embassy in clear violation of international law. Guyana’s Foreign Ministry said George insisted that no arrest could take place on the premises because that would be a breach of the Vienna Convention, but the police said the diplomatic mission was on Surinamese territory.


Claiming what is rightfully yours —  the doctrine of proprietary estoppel

THERE are many cases in which the owner of land allows another person to expend money on that land or otherwise act to his detriment under a promise or expectation that he will acquire an interest in the land. Where the owner fails to follow through with his promise, he may be prevented from claiming his legal right to the land based on the doctrine of proprietary estoppel.

Paymaster Vs GKRS: Analysing The Appeal Court’s Bill Payment Ruling

It may yet head to the Privy Council for final resolution. But last week’s ruling by the Court of Appeal in a case involving conglomerate GraceKennedy and Audrey Marks’ bill payment company, Paymaster Limited, has, at least for now, clarified Jamaica’s law on copyright ownership of computer software.

From Constitutional Monarchy to Republic: Barbados and Jamaica

Independent Caribbean countries, as a matter of national dignity and self-respect, must move expeditiously to make their constitutional frameworks that of a Republic, that is one having no links to a monarch.

What precisely are we?

The truth is that owing to a combination of constitutional text, convention and practical reality, we are already a republic, traditionally defined as “a form of government that derives all of its powers directly or indirectly from the general body of citizens, and in which the executive power is lodged in officers chosen by and representing the people and holding office for a limited period or, at most, during good behaviour or at the pleasure of the people, and in which the legislative power may be (and in modern republics is) entrusted to a representative assembly…” – Black’s Law Dictionary

courtsealCCJ in ten years has disposed of a large number of cases

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is celebrating its tenth anniversary, and although only three countries (now four because Dominica joined six weeks ago) a large number of cases were filed and disposed of. The regional court which was inaugurated on April 16, 2005, is doing an excellent job according to a London based barrister, Edward Rooney. The Guyanese-born lawyer who has been following the activities of the regional court and has read all the decisions said that he is very impressed with the judgments/rulings both in its original and appellate jurisdictions.


The Paperless Law Practice – Important Considerations when selecting a document management service

A document management service (DMS) offers local or remote document storage and organization, and their popularity has exploded over the past several years, especially with lawyers looking to go paperless.  Because of this rise in popularity, though, there are a multitude of options to choose from, and for those unversed in the specifics of such services, simply finding a DMS that best fits their needs may seem a daunting task.

Beyond our shores

ehud olmertEx-Israel PM Olmert found guilty in corruption retrial

A Jerusalem court found former Israeli premier Ehud Olmert guilty of corruption Monday in a retrial of allegations he received envelopes of cash from a US businessman, the verdict read. It was the latest legal blow in a humiliating fall from grace for the debonair man who took over as prime minister in 2006 after his mentor and predecessor Ariel Sharon lapsed into a coma from which he never recovered.

US institutions behind horrific human syphilis experiments, allege Guatemalan victims in lawsuit

Over 750 victims have sued the Rockefeller Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Johns Hopkins University, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, alleging that they were the driving force behind human experiments in which vulnerable populations of Guatemalans were deceived and intentionally exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea and other venereal diseases and pathogens, without giving any informed consent.

Amanda Knox will seek compensation for time spent in Italian prison

The Italian Court of Cassation on Friday acquitted Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito in the highly publicised 2007 fatal stabbing of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. Knox spent four years in prison and one of her lawyers announced that she would be seeking compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

EU preparing antitrust charges against Googlegoogle

The European Commission, Europe’s competition regulator is preparing the ground work to file charges against Google in an antitrust investigation which has been ongoing for five years. The investigation has stalled multiple times and caused a political uproar.

Revenge porn’ operator gets 18 years in prison

Kevin Bollaert who operated a ‘revenge porn’ website based in California was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The website allowed people to post explicit images of people and their personal information without permission. Additionally, he operated a second website that solicited payments from persons who wanted to have the images deleted.



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