Case details

Williams and others (Appellants) v Herbert and another (Respondents) (Antigua and Barbuda)

Case ID: JCPC 2014/0025

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of Antigua and Barbuda

Case summary


Whether, in circumstances where a first-instance judgment has been entered against a party who was not present or represented at the hearing, there has been a miscarriage of justice as the absent party has not had an opportunity to be heard; and whether, in this case, the Court of Appeal failed to follow ‘well established legal principles’ when it concluded that the trial judge had sufficient evidence before him to decide the case, and declined to interfere with his findings of fact.


The First and Second Appellants are husband and wife, and are the owners of a property situated at Darkwood Beach, St Mary’s, Antigua. The Respondents, who are also husband and wife, claim that in or around November 1991 the First and Second Appellants agreed with them that they, the Respondents, would live in the property and act as tenants and managers. The parties fell out in April 1992, and on 21 April the First Appellant allegedly demanded that the Respondents vacate the premises, as their rent was more than one month overdue. According to the Respondents, on the following day the First and Third Appellants (the Third Appellant being a relative of the First Appellant) entered the property, and assaulted both of the Respondents. On the day after that, 23 April, the First Appellant supposedly returned, and was so intimidating in his manner that the Respondents were compelled to flee the premises immediately, leaving behind their personal belongings. These were then supposedly detained by the Appellants. In May 1992, the Respondents filed a claim against the Appellants, alleging breach of contract, trespass to land and goods, and aggravated assault and battery. The Appellants counterclaimed for, inter alia, arrears of rent and an account of monies had and received, but when the matter came before Harris J in October 2007 they did not appear nor were they represented. The Respondents appeared in person and judgment was entered on their behalf. The Appellants then appealed to the Court of Appeal, but their appeal was dismissed.



Carol Pascal Williams and others

  1. Tyrone Herbert
  2. Gertrude Herbert



Lady Hale, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hughes, Lady Black, Lord Briggs

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