The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has today announced three judgments to be handed down on this week.  These are in the following cases: Pell Frischmann Engineering Limited v Bow Valley Iran Limited  (Jersey) heard 13-14 July 2009; Kenneth McKinney Higgs v Leshel Maryas Investment Company Limited (Bahamas), heard  12-13 May 2009 and Texan Management Limited v Pacific Wire and Cable Company (British Virgin Islands) heard 24-25 June 2009.  The judgment in the second of these cases has been announced twice but, as far as we know, there was only one appeal of that name. The date of handown is not wholly clear – the announcement says 26 November but the home page tells us 27 November.  The JCPC has now confirmed that the judgments will be handed down on 26 November at 9.45am in Court 3.

None of these cases has yet made it onto the JCPC “Current Cases” list (which confusingly has the heading “The Supreme Court – Current Cases” on the JCPC website). It would be helpful if this could be done in advance of judgment being given in order to enable the press and public (not to mention the legal profession) to understand what the forthcoming judgments are about. 

We have been unable to discover any details about the Higgs v Leshel Maryas Investment case from the Bahamas.  We note that the initial application for leave to appeal the Privy Council was not a success, being refused on 26 February 2008 with an order that “the costs will be borne personally by counsel for the Applicant who has indicated that he has nothing to say as to why costs should not be made to be paid personally by him”.  The Court of Appeal of the Bahamas provides no record of the substantive judgment appealed against.

In Pell Frischmann v. Bow Valley Energy the dispute concerned a development contract relating to an oil field off the coast of Iran.  The claimant complained that the defendant had misused its confidential information in obtaining the contract.  The Commissioner and two jurats awarded the claimant damages for misuse of confidential information of £500,000 were awarded and rejected its other claims for damages of US$10 million.   The appeal and cross-appeal were dismissed.   An interesting comment on the first instance decision by the losing party’s lawyers entitled “The Dangers of Overstating your Case” can be found here.

In Texan Management v Pacifiic Wire and Cable on 15 October 2007 the Court of Appeal lifted a stay of British Virgin Islands proceedings claiming the beneficial ownership of certain shares.  The proceedings had been stayed on the ground of forum non conveniens.  Conditional leave to appeal to the Privy Council was granted on 5 October 2008.

Thank you to Mr Benjamin Pell for pointing out the website date confusion.