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Case details

Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (Appellant) v Maritime Life (Caribbean) Ltd (Respondent) (Trinidad and Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2021/0077

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

Case summary

Issue

Whether the Central Bank’s decision to approve the sale of certain Traditional Insurance Portfolios was a purely commercial transaction which was not amendable to judicial review.

Whether Maritime’s case disclosed any violation of its constitutional rights under Sections 4(b) and/or (d) of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago.

Facts

In 2009, the Central Bank assumed control of Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Ltd (“CLICO”) and British-American Insurance Company (Trinidad) Ltd (“BAT”). The Central Bank adopted a resolution strategy to ensure the financial stability of CLICO and BAT. As part of that resolution strategy, the Central Bank decided to sell CLICO and BAT’s Traditional Insurance Portfolios (“TIPs”) to an insurance company who would be capable of managing them into the future. The Central Bank decided to sell the TIPs via a competitive bidding process.

Maritime is one of the largest insurance companies in Trinidad and Tobago. It took part in the competitive bidding process of CLICO and BAT’s TIPs organised by the Central Bank. At the end of that process, the Central Bank decided to award the sale of CLICO and BAT’s TIPs to Sagicor Life Inc (“Sagicor”). Maritime has a number of complaints regarding the bidding process, including that the award of the sale to Sagicor was irrational and that the procedure adopted was unfair.

Maritime brought an application for leave to apply for judicial review of the Central Bank’s decision to award the sale of CLICO and BAT’s TIPs to Sagicor. Maritime also sought constitutional redress in respect of alleged violations of its rights under Sections 4(b) and/or (d) of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago. On 6 April 2020, the High Court granted Maritime’s application for leave to apply for judicial review and awarded Maritime an interim injunction to prevent the Central Bank from progressing the sale of the TIPs to Sagicor pending the outcome of Maritime’s judicial review proceedings. The Central Bank appealed. On 17 February 2021, by a majority, the Court of Appeal dismissed the Central Bank’s appeal. The Court of Appeal granted final leave to the Central Bank to appeal to the Judicial Committee on 4 June 2021.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago

Respondent(s)

Maritime Life (Caribbean) Ltd

Appeal

Justices

Lord Reed, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lord Leggatt, Lord Lloyd–Jones

Hearing start date

20 July 2022

Hearing finish date

20 July 2022