December 2017

Victory for Conveyancing Practitioners

In Perfect Luck Investments Limited et al v. CTF BM Holding Ltd. et al, the Honourable Justice Ian Winder delivered a landmark decision, in which he declared that Section 5(3) of the Limitation Act is applicable to both actions on a judgment and proceedings for the execution and enforcement of judgments including the enforcement of a charge over real property imposed by Section 63 of the Supreme Court Act.

Winder J., held that it was clear that Parliament’s intention was that Section 5(3) be given a wide interpretation. In granting the declarations sought, the Court casted doubt on Barnett J.’s decision in Bahamas Commonwealth Bank v. Lewis as a subsequent decision of the House of Lords held that the reasoning in W.T. Lamb & Son v. Rider  on which Barnett J had relied was erroneous. The House of Lords refused to change the law in the England due to the reliance of the Law Commissioners on W.T.  Lamb & Son v Rider while drafting the legislation. Winder J in his ruling determined that he was not so bound in concluding the intention of the Bahamian Parliament and he should presume that the Bahamian legislature when passing the Limitations Act intended it to be interpreted in whatever way was correct to interpret such legislation free from the legislative peculiarities of England.

This decision is important to Conveyancing Practitioners in The Bahamas as formerly on the production of a title search which identified judgments against a property, Counsel was bound by the previous decisions of the Court which established that such judgments, which amounted to charges over real property, could be enforced for an unlimited duration with leave of the Court.  The Judge held that based on the correct view of the law the limitation on enforcement of judgments was also six years.

The application was brought by way of a Vendor/Purchaser Summons. Brian Simms QC along with Sophia Rolle-Kapousouzoglou, both Litigation Partners at Lennox Paton, appeared on behalf of the Vendor.