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GUYANESE ARCHITECTURE FIRM ALLOWED TO RECOVER GY$15M

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(Port of Spain, Trinidad)  New Building Society Ltd was ordered by the Caribbean Court of
Justice (CCJ) to pay Rodrigues Architects Ltd for services provided in relation to the
construction of New Building Society Ltd’s head office. The CCJ discharged a stay of execution
that had been granted in a lower court, enabling the company to recover the balance of
monies due.
In 2015, Mr Justice Persaud ordered the building society to pay Rodrigues Architects Ltd the
sum of GY$15,897,625, plus 6% interest per annum from 27th November 2008 to 29th
September 2015 and thereafter at the rate of 4% per annum until fully paid, and GY$100,000
for costs. He further ordered that there be a stay of execution for a period of six months from
the date of the order. No judgment, however, has yet been delivered to provide reasons for
the order.
New Building Society Ltd applied for a stay of execution of the judgment pending the appeal.
Justice of Appeal Roy granted the stay until the determination of the appeal but ordered that
the judgment sum due to Rodrigues Architects Ltd be deposited with the Registrar to be put
in an interest-bearing account to await the outcome of the appeal. Rodrigues Architects Ltd
failed to get Guyana’s Court of Appeal to overturn Mr Justice Roy’s decision. The company
then applied to the CCJ to discharge the stay of execution and obtain the deposited sum.
The Court, after reviewing the affidavit evidence, found that Mr Justice Roy had erred in
making his orders, and the Court of Appeal had erred in reviewing those orders and letting
them stand. No stay should have been granted because it had not been shown that there was
a good prospect of the appeal succeeding nor that there was no reasonable probability that
the company would be able to repay the money received from the building society if the
latter’s appeal succeeded. Further to that, Mr Rodrigues, a director of the company who has
been in business for over 35 years, had been prepared to guarantee that he would personally
repay the judgment sum paid to Rodrigues Architects Ltd if the society’s appeal succeeded.

As security, he agreed that would not encumber or dispose of a particular property of his
worth over GY$50 million.
In explaining the principles to be considered when a stay of execution of a judgment involving
money is sought, the Court emphasised that a stay of execution is the exception rather than
the rule and that the onus is on the applicant to make out a case for a stay which required
the court to answer the “essential question whether, in all the circumstances, there was a
risk of injustice to one party or the other of the parties if it grants or refuses a stay”.
In answering this question, the Court required four issues to be considered. First, whether
the defendant applying for a stay can satisfy the court that the appeal has a good prospect of
success. Second, whether the defendant could establish that he would be ruined or his appeal
stifled if forced to pay out the judgment sum immediately, instead of after an unsuccessful
appeal. Third, whether there was no reasonable probability, if an appeal was successful, that
the claimant would be in a position to repay the monies paid by the defendant to satisfy the
judgment. Fourth, as a last resort, whether there is a risk that the claimant will be unable to
enforce the judgment if a stay is granted and the defendant’s appeal fails, when a payment
of all or part of the judgment sum into court may be appropriate. For ease of reference, a
checklist was added to the judgment which explained how the question about stay of
execution should be dealt with where there is a money judgment
The Court, with the consent of both parties at the end of the hearing, made various orders
discharging the stay of execution, enabling the sum deposited with the court in Guyana to be
released to Rodrigues Architects Ltd and enabling it to execute the judgment against New
Building Society Ltd for the balance of monies remaining due under the judgment.
-end-

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