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Case details

First Caribbean International Bank (Barbados) Ltd and another (Respondents) v Interested Creditors (Appellants) (Saint Lucia)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0075

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (St Lucia)

Case summary

Issue

The court is asked to determine how to rank and distribute the proceeds of sale of Sunset Village’s estate as between the company’s creditors.

Facts

A company, Sunset Village Inc. ("SV"), purchased land at Beausejour on the island of Saint Lucia to develop a residential resort village. Villas were sold off-plan with purchasers making payments in stages. SV secured a mortgage against the property with First Caribbean International Bank (Barbados) Ltd ("FCIB") but became insolvent and construction on the site stopped. FCIB appointed Oliver Jordan as Receiver/Manager of SV. The Interested Creditors were originally purchasers of off-plan villas with claims against SV. They subsequently entered into consent order agreements negotiated with the Receiver/Manager. The Consent Orders were registered as judicial hypothecs against SV’s property.

On FCIB’s petition, Oliver Jordan became the Court appointed Liquidator. When he was appointed, the Liquidator estimated that there were secured and unsecured claims against SV of EC$32,500,000. SV’s assets were sold for EC$6,500,000. The Liquidator applied to the High Court of Saint Lucia for an Order regarding distribution of the proceeds of sale. The High Court ordered that, after expenses were paid, the remaining proceeds of the sale should be distributed pari passu amongst SV’s creditors pursuant to the Insolvency Act and Rules of the United Kingdom.

FCIB appealed to the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Saint Lucia, arguing that the High Court should not have relied on the UK Insolvency Act and Rules and should have considered the registration and ranking of creditors under the Civil Code of Saint Lucia, giving FCIB priority in ranking over all other creditors. FCIB’s appeal was allowed and FCIB was ordered to receive proceeds of the sale in priority to other secured creditors. The Interested Creditors now appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Interested Creditors

Respondent(s)

First Caribbean International Bank (Barbados) Ltd
Sunset Village Inc (In Liquidation)

Appeal

Justices

Lord Briggs, Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows, Lady Rose, Lord Lloyd–Jones

Hearing start date

8 February 2022

Hearing finish date

8 February 2022