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Case details

Nature Resorts Ltd (Appellant/Cross-respondent) v First Citizens Bank Ltd (Respondent/Cross-appellant) (Trinidad & Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2020/0011

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

Case summary

Issue

Whether the Court of Appeal was entitled to find that there was a rebuttable presumption of undue influence on Mr Dankou in relation to the procurement of a mortgage over land owned by the company of which he was the principal shareholder.

Facts

Nature Resorts Limited ("Nature Resorts") had one principal shareholder who was also a director, Mr Dankou. Mr Wheeler, a lawyer, was the other director of Nature Resorts.

Mr Dankou was approached in 2007 in relation to the sale of 75% of the shares he held in Nature Resorts, to which he agreed. He subsequently executed a number of documents at Mr Wheeler’s office in March 2008, including the transfer of his shares to the purchasers and a deed of mortgage by which Nature Resorts conveyed certain lands that it owned to First Citizens Bank Limited ("FCB"). This was to secure a loan granted by FCB to the purchasers in order to finance their purchase of the shares.

The purchasers subsequently defaulted in their repayments to FCB. FCB therefore decided to exercise its power of sale under the mortgage. This negatively affected the value of the shares still owned by Mr Dankou.

Nature Resorts sought a declaration that the deed of mortgage is void and unenforceable. Both the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal have refused to grant this application. Nature Resorts is appealing the issue to the JCPC as a matter of right and the hearing is listed for 30 November 2021.

FCB now seeks permission to cross-appeal on the issue whether the Court of Appeal was entitled to find that there was a rebuttable presumption of undue influence in relation to the deed of mortgage (which was held to be rebutted on the facts in any event).

Parties

Appellant(s)

Nature Resorts Ltd

Respondent(s)

First Citizens Bank Ltd

Appeal

Justices

Lord Briggs, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin, Lord Burrows, Lady Rose

Hearing start date

30 November 2021

Hearing finish date

30 November 2021