BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
COURT OF APPEAL
CIVIL APPEAL – INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL AGAINST JUDGE’S CASE MANAGEMENT DISCRETION – AMENDMENT TO STATEMENT OF CASE AFTER THE FIRST DATE FIXED FOR THE CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE WITHOUT LEAVE OF THE COURT – WHETHER THE LEARNED JUDGE ERRED IN THE EXERCISE OF THE CASE MANAGEMENT DISCRETION IN REFUSING TO STRIKE OUT AN AMENDED DEFENCE AND COUNTERCLAIM – RULES 20.1 AND 20.2 OF THE CIVIL PROCEDURE, 2000
This was an appeal against the decision of the Judge of first instance refusing to strike out an amendment to a defence and counterclaim, which had been made without the requisite permission. The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal dismissed the Appeal and identified several factors to be considered when deciding whether to exercise its discretion to amend a statement of case. These factors included the justice to the parties, the legitimate expectation that the basis of a claim will not be fundamentally changed at the last minute, the adverse effect on other litigants of lost judicial time, the stage reached in the proceedings, whether the other side can be adequately compensated in costs, and whether the amendment will serve any useful purpose. In addition, the Court should continue to be guided by the principle that amendments to a statement of case should be allowed where such amendments are necessary to ensure that the real issues which are in dispute between the parties are determined, provided that such amendments can be made without there being injustice to the other party and that the other party can be compensated in costs.