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Case details

Water and Sewerage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (Appellant) v Darwin Azad Sahadath and another (Respondents) (Trinidad and Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0123

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

Case summary

Issue

(i) Whether the trial judge had sufficient evidence to conclude that the Appellant’s pipeline was the cause of the damage to the Respondents’ home.
(ii) Whether the Appellant was negligent.
(iii) Whether the Appellant’s leaking line was the sole cause of the damage to the Respondent’s property.

Facts

The Respondents own a house located on a downwards slope in Iere Village in Trinidad. The house is located on clay soil known to be prone to movement and slippage generally and when exposed to water.

The Respondents’ house was significantly damaged between 2012 and 2015 as a result of it sliding down the slope. The house became unfit for occupancy in April 2015.

The Appellant is responsible for the development and control of water supply and sewerage facilities in Trinidad and Tobago. Prior to February 2014 a pipeline operated by the Appellant was located underground in proximity to the front of the Defendants’ property. The Respondents brought a claim alleging that the pipeline had been leaking since 2012 leading the soil in the vicinity of their house to become saturated, which in turn caused the house to slide downslope.

The High Court found for the Respondents and awarded them $2,218,960.20 in damages. The Appellant appealed, challenging the trial judge’s finding of fact that the cause of the landslide and therefore damage to the Respondent’s house was their leaking pipeline. They also appealed against the amount of damages awarded. The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision.

The Court of Appeal granted the Appellant leave to appeal to the Privy Council in July 2019.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Water and Sewerage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

Respondent(s)

Darwin Azad Sahadath and another

Appeal

Justices

Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Kitchin, Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows, Lady Rose

Hearing start date

25 October 2022

Hearing finish date

25 October 2022