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Case details

Phyliss Rampersad and another (Appellants) v Deo Ramlal and 3 others (Respondents) (Trinidad and Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2021/0090

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

Case summary


Whether the Court of Appeal was correct to: (i) hold that the Appellants’ substantive appeal was hopeless and therefore not genuine; (ii) hold that the Appellants required leave to appeal in respect of the costs order; (iii) not grant leave to appeal the costs order; (iv) find that there had been an abuse of process; (v) not hold that the judge was wrong in making the costs order she did.


The Appellants were owners of a plot of land on the island of Trinidad. In 2005, they entered into a written agreement to sell part of that land to the First Respondent. The Appellants argued that they were induced to sell the land by the First Respondent’s fraudulent representation that permission to sub–divide the land would be obtained by him from the relevant authority when he had already been told that that permission would be refused, or he would have known it would be.

The Appellants said that, upon learning that planning permission would not be granted, they offered to return the purchase price, but the First Respondent refused. The Appellants denied they had entered into a conveyance to transfer the part of the land to the First Respondent. They also claimed that they had subsequently discovered that the First, Second and Third Respondents had purported to convey the same piece of land to the Fourth Respondent by deed dated 14 October 2009.

In September 2011, the Appellants filed a claim against the Respondents seeking, amongst other things, an injunction restraining the Fourth Respondent from dealing with the land, an order setting aside the deed between the Appellants and Respondents and rescission of the sale agreement, as well as damages and costs. The claim was heard in March and April 2015. In May 2016, the judge dismissed the Appellants’ claim and ordered that the Appellants pay the Respondents’ costs as quantified by the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago. The Appellants appealed the judge’s order.

The Court of Appeal held that the Appellants’ costs appeal was an abuse of process because it had to be brought with a substantive appeal and the Appellants’ substantive appeal was not genuine because it was hopeless. The Court of Appeal declined to rule on the correctness of the judge’s costs order. The Appellants now appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council



Phyliss Rampersad and another


Deo Ramlal and others



Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin, Lord Hamblen, Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows

Hearing start date

10 October 2022

Hearing finish date

10 October 2022