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Case details

Flora Moses (adminixstratrix pendente lite of the estate of Jude Moses aka Julie Moses, deceased) (Respondent) v Selwyn Moses (Appellant) (Trinidad and Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2021/0043

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

Case summary

Issue

Whether the Court of Appeal was justified in: (i) reversing the decision of the trial judge in the High Court; and having found that the disputed deed was executed, and the land transferred by mistake, (ii) imposing the type and amount of remedy it did.

Facts

This appeal concerns a family dispute about the transfer and ownership of three acres of land at Mausica Road D’adabie, Trinidad (“the land”). The Appellant is the son of the Respondent, Jude Moses (also known as Julie Moses, now deceased) and the brother of Flora Moses, the representative Respondent who represents the Estate of their deceased mother.

The land was originally owned by Milton Moses, the Respondent’s husband, and the Appellant’s father, and formed part of the residue of his estate which was bequeathed solely to his wife on his death in 1982. In October 1984, the Respondent executed the deed, which is the subject of the current dispute, purportedly transferring the land to her son, the Appellant. A year later, in 1985, the Respondent executed a Deed of Assent by which she assented and conveyed the same land to herself.

Around 1999–2000, the Respondent put the land up for sale. The Appellant wanted to buy the land and, upon making inquiries at the Land Registry, discovered for the first time the existence of the disputed deed conveying the land to him. Believing himself the owner of the land, the Appellant purported to sell the land under two deeds of conveyance in 2001. The land was developed, subdivided into lots, and sold to various buyers. In 2009, the Respondent began a claim against the Appellant, arguing that the disputed deed was null and void, and should be set aside on the grounds of mistake or illegality.

After a hearing, the High Court found that the disputed deed was valid, and the Respondent had voluntarily transferred her interest in the land. The Respondent’s claim was therefore denied. The Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the High Court and found that in executing the disputed deed, the Appellant acted under a mistake of fact and had not sought to convey the beneficial interest in the land to the Appellant. The Appellant now appeals to the JCPC.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Selwyn Moses

Respondent(s)

Flora Moses (Adminixstratix Pendent Lite of the Estate of Jude Moses)

Appeal

Justices

Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales, Lady Rose, Lord Lloyd–Jones

Hearing start date

21 July 2022

Hearing finish date

21 July 2022