Having announced three judgments the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has in fact handed down four this morning in cases from Jersey, the Bahamas, Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands.

The case of the most general interest is perhaps the Jersey appeal of Pell Frischmann Engineering v Bow Valley Iran [2009] UKPC 45.  This concerned a failed joint venture for the development of an oilfield.  The appeal was primarily concerned with the quantum of the claim for Wrotham Park damages – said by the Board to be most helpful as a description of damages under Lord Cairns Act (see para 46).  Lord Walker summarises the general principles relating to these damages (para 48).  The Board identified a number of errors of principle in the approach of the Jersey Court of Appeal in relation to the assessment of damages in the sum of £500,000 and substituted its own assessment of US$2,500,000.  The case is also available on Baiili here. 

 The Bahamas case, Higgs v Leshel Maryas Investment [2009] UKPC 47 related to the question as to whether the appellant had obtained good possessory title of 92.33 acres in New Providence Island.  Bahamas real property law remains as it stood in England prior to the 1925 property law reforms. There had been protracted litigation, including a previous appeal to the JCPC in 1974.  The Court of Appeal of the Bahamas had given a ruling in 2007 and had not responded to a direction that it provide written reasons.  The Board agreed, with certain qualifications, that the action should be remitted to the Bahamas Supreme Court.  The case is also available on Bailii here.

The case National Transport v A-G of Jamaica [2009] UKPC 48 concerned awards made by arbitrators against the Government in disputes arising out of two franchise agreements relating to the provision of bus services.  The decision of the Court of Appeal as to the enforceability of the agreements was overturned by the Board and the appeal allowed.  The case is also available on Bailli here.

In the British Virgin Islands case of Texan Management v Pacific Electric Wire & Cable [2009] UKPC 46 the issue concerned certain procedural objections to an application which had been made to stay the action on the ground of “forum non conveniens”.  The Board considered the procedural requirements for disputing the jurisdiction of the Court (CPR Part 11 and the equivalent provision of the Eastern Caribbean Procedure Rules) and allowed the appeal on the procedural point, restoring the stay granted at first instance.   The case is also available on Bailii here.