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Case details

La Brea Environs Protectors (Appellant) v The Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin) and another (Respondents) (Trinidad & Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0092

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary

Issue

(1) Whether the Court of Appeal correctly interpreted the phrases "the same or similar interest" and "a sufficient interest in the proceedings" in rule 21.1(2) of the Civil Procedure Rules;
(2) Whether the Court of Appeal was correct to find that the appellant did not have a cause of action in nuisance and therefore could not represent its members; and
(3) Whether the Court of Appeal should have allowed the members of the appellant to be substituted and/or added as individual claimants as an alternative to allowing the appellant to represent them.

Facts

In December 2013, several oil spills are alleged to have emanated from the pipelines of the first respondent. In January 2014, individual residents of La Brea formed a non-profit organisation called the La Brea Environs Protectors (the "LBEP"), which was incorporated into a non-profit company in May 2014. The registered address of the company is within the area said to be affected by the oil spills. In August 2014, the LBEP issued proceedings against Petrotrin in nuisance and negligence. The second respondent was included as a party due to its alleged failure to ensure that Petrotrin was compliant with its policies, standards and codes. At the time proceedings were issued, the LBEP had 37 members; by the time of the hearing before the Court of Appeal, its membership had increased to 101 individuals.

In May 2018, the LBEP applied for leave to appear as a representative party for its members pursuant to rule 21.2(2)(b) of the Civil Procedure Rules. Madame Justice Quinlan-Williams refused the application and the LBEP appealed.

Parties

Appellant(s)

La Brea Environs Protectors

Respondent(s)

The Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago
Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA)

Appeal

Justices

Lord Reed, Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin, Lord Hamblen, Lord Burrows

Hearing start date

23 February 2022

Hearing finish date

23 February 2022