The Supreme Court has issued a new regulation on e-litigation which significantly expands the scope of earlier regulations and envisages the eventual development of a full-blown electronic court system, which would mean that proceedings could be commenced, court fees paid, documents and pleadings submitted, hearings conducted and judgments pronounced electronically.
The Supreme Court recently ended a conflict between the appeal courts and clarified that for any decision rendered exclusively on a jurisdictional issue, the party that wants to appeal such decision must file a motivated statement for appeal and, more importantly, appeal to the first president of the relevant appeal court through a formal request in order to obtain a fixed date on which the case will be heard. Otherwise, the statement of appeal will be declared void.
The High Court recently upheld a tiered dispute resolution clause in accordance with established principles of contractual interpretation. The court ordered a stay of proceedings for mediation and, in support of the mediation, also ordered pleadings to be served in advance to optimise the prospects of a settlement. This decision continues the post-Sureterm union between commercial common sense and the plain and ordinary meaning of words.
An appeal was recently lost after an application for an oral hearing was made just two days late. The High Court's decision is a timely reminder of the strictness of court deadlines and of the importance of being upfront with the court which, on this occasion, was unwilling to forgive ambiguity as to whether the deadline had been met.
A recent Supreme Court of Cassation decision examined whether there were justified objective reasons for an employer to dismiss an employee following his refusal to reduce his hours in the wake of a company reorganisation to reduce labour costs and increase productivity. The court examined previous case law in this regard, reassessed the parameters of justified objective reasons for dismissal and set out the scope of judicial examinations of such a dismissal's legitimacy.
The High Court recently rejected a defendant solicitors' firm's application to strike out a plaintiff's claim on the ground that it was commenced too late. Given the relatively high threshold in Hong Kong for an applicant to succeed with an application to strike out a claim before trial, the court's decision is not surprising. However, the written reasons given in the decision are a useful analysis of the legal principles involved in determining when a cause of action accrues for the tort of negligence.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed that the requirements outlined in Section 292 of the Companies Act 1993 are all that is required in order to void an insolvent transaction. In particular, the court confirmed that there is no additional common law principle stating that the transaction must have diminished the net pool of assets available to creditors. This is a helpful decision which brings certainty to the test for voidable transactions and avoids adding unnecessary complexity into the corporate insolvency regime.
The Supreme Court recently clarified its jurisdictional limits to assist in trust-related arbitrations, ruling that it has no such jurisdiction to allow service outside an action's jurisdiction. Given this ruling, parties to trust arbitration agreements must be cognisant that, notwithstanding whether their trust deeds provide for the seat of any arbitration to be The Bahamas, the court can provide only limited assistance where the arbitration is not held and the parties or assets are not in The Bahamas.
The High Court has once again been asked to review its jurisdiction to grant permission to issue subpoenas directed at witnesses. In this case, the court granted permission to issue two subpoenas directed at two senior doctors, requiring them to give evidence (supported by specified documents) in aid of a registered dentist's court challenge arising out of disciplinary proceedings against him. The decision reiterates the relatively low threshold for the issue of subpoenas, while also illustrating their possible tactical use.
The Court of Appeal recently confirmed that an objective test will be applied when assessing whether a unilateral contractual notice has been validly given. This decision is a helpful reminder that the finer details of contractual notice provisions are not mere technicalities; parties must remain aware of the fact that failure to comply with the mechanics of the notice provisions set out in a contract may have serious consequences.
The Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal against a detention order issued by the Larnaca Permanent Assize Court in a sexual assault case. The appellant claimed that the evidence placed before the first-instance court had speculated on his guilt and the risk of him absconding. However, the Supreme Court found that the accused's detention until trial was at the discretion of the first-instance court and that, based on the circumstances of the case, the court had exercised this power correctly.
There have been a number of recent legislative developments in Austria, including amendments to the Austrian Enforcement Act, which have granted certain parties access to data about pending enforcement proceedings. Further, the Supreme Court has confirmed that the res judicata effect of a foreign judgment applies at all stages of proceedings conducted in Austria.
The Larnaca District Court recently issued a decision on the validity of a sworn affidavit provided by a lawyer on behalf of his clients in the context of an interim application. Drawing on relevant case law, the court found that lawyers who are or will be witnesses in the relevant case or who represent clients in the relevant case cannot provide sworn affidavits as part of the court proceedings. As a result, the court rejected the claimant's objection for being invalid.
The Jersey Court of Appeal recently handed down a long-awaited judgment in the Z Trusts case. The decision considers important questions regarding the equitable rights of former trustees and whether those rights have priority over the rights of other claimants to the assets of a trust (including successor trustees) whose liabilities exceed its assets. As such, trustees must consider the practical implications of this judgment and whether and how they should be mitigated.
The High Court recently adopted an interesting approach to the well-known principles of contractual interpretation in a dispute concerning the financing of a wind farm development. The application of these principles remains tricky, particularly in cases where defined terms provide for flexibility. As a result, while parties should strive for clarity in drafting, they should also give particular consideration to possible options for terminating contracts when they are no longer needed.
The High Court recently considered a prospective witness's application to set aside a subpoena directed at him. The subpoena combined directions to the witness to give evidence at trial on behalf of the plaintiff and to produce the originals of certain transaction documents. The court set aside the part of the subpoena directed at giving evidence but not the part directed at producing documents. The decision provides useful guidance as to the general practice for issuing subpoenas.
The Court of Appeal recently set out the relevant circumstances in which a Quistclose trust can arise in the context of bank transfers. The decision reinforces the understandable reluctance on the part of the courts to erode the basic principle that a banker-customer relationship is no more than a contractual one of debtor and creditor.
The Supreme Court recently overturned the position set out in Joint Action Funding (that lawyer-litigants are not entitled to costs). While the certainty created by the court will be a relief to lawyer-litigants and organisations that are regularly represented in court by employed lawyers alike, the intervening decisions indicate that the days of the status quo may be numbered – in particular, the differential treatment of lawyer-litigants and lay-litigants.
A recent Supreme Court decision examined a first-instance court's interpretation of the Civil Procedure Rules and, in particular, who can be added as a third party to a process pending before the courts. The decision established that the courts should look only at the conditions imposed by the Civil Procedure Rules on a prima facie basis and not the merits of the claim.
The Jersey Royal Court recently ruled on the extent of its powers to restrict a party that withdraws proceedings to start afresh in a judgment that considered, for the first time, the implications of a 2014 English Court of Appeal decision on the public interest in there being finality in litigation. This is an important decision for maintaining the public interest in the finality of litigation and the efficient administration of justice.